The Cost of Grace

         So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. [Philippians 2:12-13]

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         Grace is free. Salvation will cost you everything.

         There remains much confusion among Christians about what exactly happened when the Lord Jesus went to the cross.

         Most Christians have never gone to the cross, would never go to the cross, do not see the need for going to the cross, and sadly, will never relate to the experience.

         There is this ill-begotten attitude that the Lord did it all to the point that they must do nothing. There is this completely false idea that a Christian can simply skate through life absolutely, completely, wholeheartedly, and fully assured that he is saved regardless of anything he may do or not do, as if salvation is simply a matter of a one-time mental assent or clueless “Yeah, put me down for that,” while they go about their already unrepentant lives thoroughly grounded in this world.

         Some denominations and Christian faux gospels are worse offenders than others. Some denominations do not even pretend to follow the Lord’s teachings on the matter but make salvation contingent upon belonging to the proper club—their club—and strictly adhering to their own church teachings which clash with the Lord’s, and compete with the Lord’s, and end up sending people to hell for believing what is false and doing things that have zero spiritual value.

         One would think, that among all Christian things they may want to get right, it would be salvation.

         But the majority of “Christians” insist on dissing the Lord, refuse to follow His example and teachings, and would never crucify their own flesh and/or leave their fake groups and denounce their false gospels even if their eternal salvation depended on it.

         And it does.

         The Lord thought this entire attitude was beyond curious. One would one rather save face than get saved? Why do so many Christians desire remaining cold, unenlightened, and uncrucified rather than obey the Lord’s commands?

         How can the resultant suffering and rejection real Christians face in this world compare to losing one’s soul for all eternity?

         Makes no sense.

         But then again, it does, if one has accepted a false prophet or a false teaching, and such things abound.

         There are obviously many more false gospels today than there were in the early days of that first Christian community, though false gospels began from the beginning.

         Paul did not pull any punches regarding these evil teachings and made his thoughts quite clear:

         I wish that you would bear with me in a little foolishness; but indeed you are bearing with me. For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.

         But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.

         For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully. [2Corinthians 11:1-4]

         Could it be that bearing a false gospel or a false prophet or the false beliefs of a false denomination is easier than bearing one’s cross? And could it be that it always boils down to this same issue—the offense of the cross?

         In Galatians 5:11 Paul refers to this “offence of the cross” (KJV), though it is translated differently in different versions. The following are a few examples:

1) Shame of the cross (Bible is Basic English)

2) Scandal of the cross (Darby Bible)

3) Stumbling block of the cross (New American Standard Bible)

4) Obstacle of the cross (New Jerusalem Bible)

         It is obvious that there is something revolting about the cross, especially when an individual Christian must apply it to himself. It follows that Christians will do anything and everything to avoid the cross, which makes them easy fodder for false gospels.

         Why do we think it was okay for the Lord to get crucified but not at all okay for us to do likewise?

         Why do we think our own personal crucifixion is somehow not necessary though the Lord’s was?

         Why do we think we can simply reject all those things the Lord taught about crucifying our flesh, and taking up our cross, and denying ourselves for His sake and the gospel?

         Is it not the height of selfishness and pride that the majority of “Christians” applaud the Lord’s trip to Calvary but would never go there themselves?

         And then believe they don’t need to?

         Why can’t such unreal Christians see that such teaching arose from the devil himself?

         Yes, of course, grace is free. It cost the Lord Jesus everything, but for us it’s all free. We can do nothing to add to it by anything we could ever do.

         What a crock.

         Have any of the proponents of this stuff ever heard of the concept of application? How about being yoked together with the Lord? How about the disciples not being above their Master, and partaking of the same offense, shame, scandal, stumbling block, and obstacle the Lord did on our behalf? Should not all real Christians do the same on His behalf?

         And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

         And He was stating the matter plainly. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him.

         But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”

         And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

         “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” [Mark 8:31-38] [1]

         The fact of the matter is that the real disciples of that time suffered the same things the Lord suffered. They were in fact called to share in His sufferings. They were called to stand up for and preach the ONE AND ONLY REAL GOSPEL. They knew it would cost them but did it anyway. Rather than shun it like so many Christians choose to do, they embraced the cross.

         And though grace is certainly free, it cost them everything.

         © 2014 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Posted on September 10, 2014, in Real Christianity and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. It is true that the flesh dies hard. Flesh will do most anything to have its way, be made comfortable, but in the end it will self-destruct if allowed to dominate. That’s a given.

    It appears to me, that if people really cared about themselves, and overcoming every bondage and obstacle to their freedom and truth, they would see this, and they need not allow the fleshly self life to prevail over them. One could look at it as almost a reverse sort of selfishness. As the Lord Jesus said so aptly, if you seek to save your life, you will lose it, but if you lose your life for His sake, you will gain it. Sounds crazy to the world, the unenlightened, or uncrucified mind, but that’s the way it works. It seems the worldly man, or woman, even in the churches, will accept anything BUT the Cross, and Jesus Christ. However, to try and circumvent the Cross, will ultimately be to lose everything.

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    • Thank you, Scarlett. I greatly appreciate your confirming comment. You have stated very well exactly what the Lord stated, that our unregenerate flesh or human nature is an enemy of the spiritual disciple of the Lord, and in my opinion, the greatest enemy. Be blessed.

      (For some reason, WordPress put your reblog notice in the spam folder and I noticed it just as it disappeared! Please forgive me.)

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  2. Stern approach to reality blessed friend. The synthetic gospel we allow to plague the western church will be a bitter pill to swallow when we awaken to find ourselves or our children or our grandchildren once again enduring the same trials those first believers faced. We can act like it is not so, but forces are rising with intent to make it criminal to follow the authentic Jesus. This will be a day of testing, one that will disband makeshift Christianity. I agree with your assessment, a great revival is coming, for our God will not tolerate being forgotten nor His truth and His gospel made light of, but it looks as if that revival will form in the hearts of those willing to forsake everything, even unto whatever persecution may come. God strengthen us to stand while there is still a glimmer of hope in this once great land.

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    • Awesome comment, Mike. Thank you.

      I am reminded of how the entire Roman Empire came to be so infused with the Light of the Lord’s one and only real gospel, and His powerful presence within so many. Though Rome tried repeatedly to obliterate the Lord Jesus and His people, it became dependent upon Him and them. To destroy real Christianity, then, meant to destroy Rome. Since he could not defeat them, the devil’s only choice was to join them.

      It is no different now. The strength of America has always been its great population of Christians. But to destroy Christians and Christianity in America is to destroy America. This is obviously happening, but the coming Great Awakening will be the one and only thing to help America.

      My feeling is that much of the tree has been hacked on and branches burned, but the great powerful root remains. Still, though certain forces work very well with the devil to fight the Lord and His people here, the greatest threat is not the usual rounded up suspects, but the same sinister and dastardly enemy as before—UNREAL CHRISTIANITY.

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  3. One of my most frequently-used counseling themes is Galatians 2:20, being crucified with Christ, in combination with Galatians 5:16-end of chapter. If we walk in the spirit, we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. It’s such a powerful passage, and we are without excuse if we really believe that walking in the Spirit will be a walk in the park.

    PS: I’m thinking of doing Galatians next, after I finish Matthew, but I’m almost afraid to dig into it. I KNOW I’ll be convicted and humbled!

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