No “Cheap Grace” Promoted Here


 “Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline…Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

We live in a day and age not unlike the day and age when Pastor Bonhoeffer penned these words. It is a day and age where “cheap grace” is promoted profaning Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. Cheap forgiveness. Cheap grace. With no demands made on the sinner. And nowhere is this more prevalent than in discussions surrounding adultery.

I do not encourage offering cheap grace. Bonhoeffer is correct in stating this as a problem in discipleship. Adultery reveals character flaws in the cheater. By offering cheap grace–grace without repentance and discipleship–we never address the underlying problems  in the cheater that led to this wicked fruit, adultery. This is not godly nor is it honoring to Christ’s Cross.

The writer of Hebrews states it this way:

For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? – Hebrews 10:26-29, ESV

Any approach to adultery that does not address it as solely the fruit of an adulterous heart is ultimately going to fail. Any approach that does not view ongoing adultery in a professing Christian as profaning “the blood of the covenant” is not taking the sin as seriously as God takes it. Adultery is no minor problem.

Yes, grace is available to all.

However, we are all called to repentance as well.

Let’s not promote cheap grace.

And let’s not be party to profaning Christ’s blood.

2 thoughts on “No “Cheap Grace” Promoted Here”

  1. Dear DM – I thank you sincerely for your thoughtful posts on the subject of cheating & forgiveness. It’s refreshing to see this perspective and to be validated.
    I’ve never felt the need to forgive a cheater who not only didn’t repent, but who continued to lie and deny. I grow weary of reading messages & articles stating that forgiveness is necessary for me. It isn’t. I’m fine.
    All the best to you – moda

    1. moda,

      I do encourage forgiveness here but NOT what some promote as “forgiveness.” It sounds like those pushing “forgiveness” do not really understand what they are pushing. Forgiveness does not say what happened is “ok” or that it did not happen. It does not excuse the wrong or forget it. It says that I won’t let this past wrong against me continue to control me with hurtful anger or spite in my heart. I hand it over to God. What happens to the one who wronged me is in His Just and Good Hands. I am moving on…

      What I write in this post about “cheap grace” is pushing back at a distorted teaching about false forgiveness that minimizes the sin and thereby undermines the true Gospel. Let me explain it another way: We are all offered the gift of forgiveness in Christ. However, that gift doesn’t make a whit of a difference to anyone unless we accept it out of our need. I see this as the same issue here. A cheater needs to see the need for forgiveness in what he/she did–i.e. repent–for forgiveness to be of any good to them or for it to be true forgiveness.

      I hope all of us who have experienced being cheated upon can get to a place of forgiveness where that past wrong no longer has any negative power over our present or future. Forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves as I have heard it said. Reconciliation always takes two and must be earned by the wrongdoer.


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