Expositor: Josef Urban / Text: John 1:12-13 / Series: The Gospel of John / Type: Sermon
The term “cheap grace” was coined by the German Neo-orthodox theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in his 1937 book, The Cost of Discipleship. Bonhoeffer's theology was really quite heterodox, but his insight into the problem of an alleged "grace" that is flippantly received was insightful. He defined "cheap grace" as “the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline. Communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ.” In other words, it’s the view that heaven can be won by a superficial profession of faith that does not entail any serious commitment to the teachings of Christ or significant lifestyle change.
It’s true that John 1:12 does not mention cross-bearing, enduring affliction, or forsaking all to follow Christ. It just speaks of believing. And thank God for that because we are saved through faith alone. But we need to understand this text in light of the whole Bible (beware of the isolationistic cherry-picking of proof-texts!). And the whole Bible teaches that saving faith must be a living faith by which the whole man apprehends a living and whole Christ. Many want a convenient Christ who is a priest to expiate their guilt but not a prophet to command them or a king to reign over them. Christ cannot be torn asunder and received in pieces. To receive the true Christ is to receive the whole Christ as He is disclosed in the whole Bible. It is to receive Him as not only Savior but also as Lord. And it is to receive Him by a faith that, according to John 1:13, is wrought in us by a sovereign work of monergistic regeneration, which means it is all of grace alone.
We are a Reformed Baptist (1689) church plant in Georgetown Township, Michigan (Jenison-Grandville area, SW of Grand Rapids).