One commentator whom I trust even called it 'demerited favor!' That might be more accurate.
Some of our Bible translations underscore the fact that grace is free in their rendering of Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus" (ESV, emphasis added).
But does the fact that grace is given freely also make it "cheap"? To that, we must answer decisively "No!"
The grace that we receive by faith alone--apart from works--cost our Lord Jesus His life; His willing, volitional, sacrificial, perfect life as atonement for our sins.
Let me offer this excellent reminder, from the pen of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, of the distinction between cheap grace, and biblical grace:
"Cheap grace is preaching forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate....Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will gladly go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods....Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ" (The Cost of Discipleship, p. 44-45. Emphasis in original).How sweet He is, our treasure, our grace, our Christ. May you rejoice in this extravagantly costly, free gift today.
Matthew Everhard is the Senior Pastor of Faith Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Brooksville, Florida.