We raised our hands and voices again this morning in worship, singing of  grace being an ocean…and if it is, we’re all sinking.

Then Heaven met earth like a sloppy, wet kiss.  And well, after that line in the song, it took me awhile to get my spirit and soul focused on Jesus again.

I always think about a cocker spaniel puppy when we sing that verse.  I mean really, ‘a sloppy wet kiss?’  I know Jesus loves us, God loves us, immeasurably and tenaciously so. 
But frankly, I think we are getting a little too casual with this word we toss around in Christian circles–the word is ‘grace.’

To paraphrase Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God’s grace is free, but it isn’t cheap.

There’s a difference, of course, between cheap and free. Free is a gift given by the Giver, purchased with a price. Cheap is, well, worthless.

I am becoming weary of hearing the phrase, “thank God for His grace, it covers all my __________”  being used like a ‘Get out of Jail Free’ card.

The Greek word for grace is ‘charis’–gift.  We get the words ‘charisma’ and ‘charismatic’ from this.  People with ‘charisma’ are gifted. People who are ‘charismatic’ have gifts of many kinds, and often they have the gift of the Holy Spirit.

But the gift of God’s grace? It isn’t cheap and it isn’t free.
 It cost Jesus his life.

A passage I’ve been meditating on in Ephesians Chapter 1 really spoke to me about this; verses 5-8 in particular make it clear we cannot separate the gift of grace from the Giver:

 “he  predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, 
in accordance with his pleasure and will— 
(God decided ahead of time that we would be His children 
because it makes Him happy)
to the praise of his glorious grace, 
(Why? so people will praise Him for His amazing grace)
which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
(Yes, it’s a free gift)
In him we have redemption through his blood, 
(purchased back from the Enemy of our souls)
the forgiveness of sins, 
(every one of them, every time, when we repent)
in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 
that he lavished on us.” 
The grace was lavished on us AFTER the redemption through Jesus’ blood,
AFTER the forgiveness of sins.
The impossible work of that scandalous exchange–his life for mine,
his gifts of grace for my sin–are something I never want to take for granted.
His grace isn’t cheap, but it’s free.
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