When is Grace just Grace? by Dr. Scott Hadden

Through the years I’ve noticed various grace teachings with accompanying terms: cheap grace, greasy grace, hyper-grace, future grace, dys-grace. Each term adding to the confusion regarding God’s Grace. Confusion? Yes, confusion. For example; let’s substitute the term “Law”: cheap law, greasy law, hyper-law, future law, dys-law? We don’t hear these law terms very often. Why are these words used in defining of the Grace of God? What we have here is an oxymoron.


Oxymoron: a figure of speech in which incongruous or seemingly contradictory terms appear side by side. Such are the often quoted grace terms. They are oxymorons. Let’s examine the word “cheap”: low in cost, not expensive, of little value or poor quality; virtually worthless (Webster’s). Is there such a thing as cheap grace? Do these words go together? Why would a believer put them together? Just a few Scriptures reveal that “cheap grace” is truly an oxymoron. Ephesians 1:7, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.” Titus 2:11, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,” John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” What we see is that the Grace of God is of high cost (the life of His Son), very expensive and precious (the blood of Christ), of great value, of superior quality, and embodied in the very life of Christ.


While some use the term “cheap grace” to describe a condition where believers do not value grace, the oxymoron tends to confuse and not clarify His grace. This usage is generally from the perspective of legalism. The legalist sees grace as anti-law or anti-performance and tends to forget the new heart and new Spirit God gives at salvation (Ezekiel 36:26-27). A new creation (II Corinthians 5:17) will live from His life and His truth.


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