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Cheap grace is associated with what is commonly called “easy believism,” the teaching that Jesus Christ can be received as Savior simultaneously with a conscious or unconscious, latent, decision not to recognize Him as Lord and Master of one's life. This kind of “grace” is a cheap counterfeit; actually it is the antithesis of the saving grace spoken of in Titus 2:11-14: “The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

Genuine grace that brings salvation simultaneously produces faith and repentance in a new believer along with a conscious or an unconscious, latent desire and ability within him to recognize Jesus Christ as Lord and Master of his life. The heart cry of “What must I do to be saved” (Acts 16:30) is always accompanied by the heart cry of “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do” (Acts 9:6) whenever any one has a genuine experience of salvation by grace.

A newborn believer may not be able to explain the new nature they receive at salvation (2 Pet. 1:4), but they know something has taken place and is going on within them. They may not have received or processed enough biblical knowledge to understand, or explain exactly what they have experienced, but they have, by God’s grace, exercised repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21), and with this experience become capable of exercising ongoing faith in God and an ongoing repentance as they live out their lives as Christians (See Rom. 1:17 and 1 John 1:8-10). The truth of Philippians 2:13 becomes an instant reality and instantly operative in them: “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

We who denounce cheap grace and easy believism aren’t advocating a “hard believism,” or promoting legalism in any way. We know that grace is the unmerited favor of God, that we are not saved by works in any shape, form or fashion and that the simplest, most childlike contrition for sin coupled with the most childlike trust in Christ is altogether sufficient to save anyone of any age (Eph. 2:8-10; Matt. 18:3). But we know also, that Christ cannot be received as Savior in a disjointed, truncated way, as Savior only, but not as Lord and Master. He is “a Prince and a Saviour,” He is “our Lord and Saviour,” and “we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 5:31; 1 Pet. 1:11; Phil. 3:20).

Cheap grace teaching and the easy believism mentality and practice that goes with it leads to a perverted and dangerous understanding of grace; an antinomian, easy going approach to sin that the apostle Paul denounced: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Rom. 6:1, 2). Those who teach it either are themselves, or have come under the influence of, those whom Jude describes as, “ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 6).

We are saved and kept solely by God’s grace and God’s grace alone, so it is spiritually vital that grace be preached and understood correctly. It costs too much to believe in cheap grace.

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