God’s Judgment and Glory

Open Your Bible

2 Thessalonians 1:1-12, Isaiah 66:1-4, Isaiah 66:12-16, Romans 8:30

I tend to focus more on grace when it comes to understanding the gospel. It’s easier for me to focus on how all my sins, infractions, and struggles are covered by the spread of the gospel’s cloak, rather than examining my continued need for grace. Because of Jesus, all my sins have been forgiven, but it seems I’m still looking for loopholes when it comes to actually living as a Christ-follower. 

By nature, I’m a bit lazy and despise boundaries and constraints, unless they’re of my own making. So, I look for ways around, under, and over the call to Christian living, but rarely through because through is hard—and, well, I don’t like hard. This is why I like to focus on a grace mentality: I can fail hard, all my life, kicking against the pleasant boundaries God has set for me, because I’m still in, still covered by grace.

But this emphasis on forgiveness without much understanding or conviction of my continued need for Jesus, is what Dietrich Bonhoeffer called “cheap grace.” This is, as Bonhoeffer put it, “forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline. Communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ.”

In other words, when I make the gospel solely about the grace offered to us and not about the ongoing work of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I cheapen the work that has been accomplished on my behalf. I blur over my need to be discipled by Jesus, to learn from and follow His ways. I venture into another form of godlessness where it’s all about me, my performance rather than holiness.

In his second letter to the Thessalonians, Paul tells them, “We always pray for you that our God will make you worthy of his calling, and by his power fulfill your every desire to do good and your work produced by faith” (2Thessalonians 1:11). Paul is encouraging the Thessalonians in their call of discipleship under Jesus Christ. It is God who compels and pursues us, guards and guides us, protects and provides for us. He completes the work of salvation by the power of the Spirit, through the work of the Son, and under the care of the Father. This work is by and for and with and about Him—not us. Even my wriggling out of the careful and pleasant boundaries He has laid for me point to His calling and His power (Psalm 16:5–6). We cannot make ourselves fit or worthy of this calling. Only God can do this. 

Where are you omitting God from the gospel today? How are you making it simply about grace and your own work? Where are you forgetting the wonderful truth that you are both set free by the gospel and made for holy living? His calling, His work, and by His power. The gospel of grace was very good news for the Thessalonian church, as it is for us. This grace is not cheap. You and I were bought with a price (1Corinthians 6:19–20). But this grace is also entirely free by the work and hand of God—for you and for me.

(42) Comments

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42 thoughts on "God’s Judgment and Glory"

  1. Dina Carbajal says:

    I can’t live a day without His grace and mercy.

  2. Brandy Deruso says:

    Lord i thank you.

  3. Laurie Crary says:

    Amen Bridget.

  4. Shaena Elizabeth says:

    Ouch I am very guilty of “cheap Grace” great wake up call to accept God’s Grace but also accept the call to discipleship.

  5. Melissa Mcronney says:


  6. Shiloh Bibby says:

    The notes in my study Bible it says: one of the greatest things we can do is serve. Why? Because God’s power flows through his love! As faith reaches upward, love reaches outward.

  7. Paula Strong says:

    @Susie two of my adult kids have also rejected the church. It breaks my heart.

  8. Paula Strong says:

    Ouch! I fall into this trap so often! I’m such a rule follower and I’m afraid I am the same way with my Christian walk and d we hat a turn off that is! I can follow all the rules and it does not change anything.

  9. Stacy Smith says:

    Well that was convicting!

  10. Denise Harlow says:

    Me too! ❤️

  11. Jen Brewer says:

    Thank you all for sharing your thoughts and hearts and ‘very selves’ as Paul said in 1 Thessalonians. Thank you Jesus for your Word and that you are faithful. Encouraged in a season of pain and misunderstanding and conflict that persists in my family.

  12. Traci Gendron says:

    This was such a good devotional. I never thought about cheap grace, which I sometimes abuse. I’m learning. I’m so thankful for the comments today. They offer so much insight. I’m thankful for SRT for giving me a discipline to get into God’s word everyday. I’m praying I will see what I need to give up for the gospel.

  13. Anne Stock says:

    This was a beautiful devotional. I particularly appreciated the explanation about cheap grace. I pray that we would all challenge ourselves not to settle for cheap grace but to strive to follow Jesus in all our ways.

  14. Natasha R says:

    (Continued) God’s grace came at a price -Jesus’s suffering, death and resurrection. I cannot take this grave for granted. I pray that God gives me the wisdom and strength to carry out what this grace has called me to do.

  15. Natasha R says:

    By grace, I am made for holy living. I was called to do good, and by His power and my faith, I will do good. And it is all to glorify Him! God’s grace is a gift, and also a responsibility.

  16. Jennifer Anapol says:

    I pray that I would be made worthy of the life God has called me to.

  17. Mercy says:

    I agree with Deb Ireland, “pursuing cheap grace is dangerous and same goes for pursuing life of works”. Amen Deb. Legalism and cheap grace are not the gospel but they mimics the gospel. I find these very dangerous. Anything apart from Christ will render the journey fruitless and time wasting. I was once taught under heavy legalism when new in faith, and it left a scar. It led me to complete exhaustion, unworthiness, and enormous shame. Always work work work to earn grace, and rules rules rules to achieve holiness. Praise the Lord that He took me out and showed me He was not what they wrongfully presented Him to me. In the Lord there is freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17), but legalism choked me. In the Lord there are also disciplines, which cheap grace ignores.

    Godly Grace is free for us- the recipients, but it costs Jesus – the giver- something. And He calls us to pay it forward, “Freely you have received, so freely give” (Matthew 10:8). Freely we have His grace, and freely we shall give grace onto others (at a cost onto us). And God has a special way to outgive us for anything we give up for the sake of the gospel (Matthew 19:29). What a gracious, generous (beyond measure) God we serve.

  18. Toni Futch says:

    So many beautiful statements said in these replies….What an encouragement is our Word Of God!!! How I love His word, and oh how I need it daily. My heart has been distracted by some heavy disappointments lately from fellow family who are Christians. I so need His word of encouragement every day, and am completely blessed to follow along with you ladies and read what He is saying to you also. Blessings dear girls!!!!

  19. Angie says:

    How do we pray for people we hold dearly in our hearts but we are not near?
    How do we pray for them when we know they are in difficult situations or under persecution? I find myself often without the right words. But here, we have an example.
    (2 Thes. 1:3-12)Thank God for the good. Give Him the glory and honor for evidence of His work in them and in their lives. Respect that what they are going through is difficult, and remind them that God has them, yesterday, today, and in their tomorrows. Pray that they will never lose site that it is God who calls and empowers. May His will be transparent in our their heart’s desire for good and work produced in faith. (Isaiah 66:1-4) May humility, a contrite spirit, and respect be the foundation for God’s peace and comfort in their lives (Isaiah 66:12-16). For those He predestined-He called. Those called-He justified. And those justified will be glorified (Romans 8:30). May they live to bring glory to God. And may we live in that Truth as well, all the days He gives us. It starts with God. It is presently about God. It will always be, about God.

  20. Bridget Vaschak says:

    The gift of redemption and eternal life is free, but truly following Jesus will always cost us something.

  21. Amy Zumdahl says:

    This is a good word for today. Something to dig into and meditate on. Thanks!

  22. Mari V says:

    @Kristina Mari I had a similar conversation with my teenage daughter a few days ago. She too was fearful. But God…I remind her that we are saved by grace. She does not need to be perfect. she is a lovely girl as I’m sure that you are as well Kristina.

  23. Mari V says:

    Nope Grace was not cheap! We were all bought with the ultimate price through the blood of Jesus Christ. I do nothing on my own. I depend solely on my Jesus to do life.

  24. Linda Gilbow says:

    We are kindred spirits, the way you described ducking the work, etc. That verse leaped out at me, too. I thought, “DO I desire to do good works produced by faith?” OUCH!! Oh Lord, show me what it truly means to walk in grace!!

  25. Churchmouse says:

    The Thessalonians were undergoing severe persecution. You would think Paul would cut them a break about living holy under those conditions. Yet it is precisely in the trials and tribulations of this life when we need to lean harder into faith and proclaim His sovereignty all the more. Our witness in times of difficulty often speaks the loudest and is more readily heard by others. Let us live holy lives whether the sun is shining or darkness is drawing near. The Holy Spirit will empower us. We are not alone.

  26. Tiffany C says:

    I confess I haven’t been steadfast in persevering and abiding with God. I have been relying on distractions for self-care, leading into laziness, rather than going to God for His rest and providence.

    “In view of this, [let us] always pray for [us] that our God will make [us] worthy of his calling, and by his power fulfill [our] every desire to do good and [our] work produced by faith, 12 so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified by [us], and [us] by him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thess 1:11-12)

  27. Deb Ireland says:

    I agree that just pursuing cheap grace is dangerous. The same as pursuing a life of works. An authentic relationship with Christ, abiding in Him, is the path to growth and sanctification.

  28. Jamie Guzman says:

    Such a blessing and great word. I really needed this reminder today.

  29. Jane K says:

    Isaiah 6:2 “I will look favorably on this kind of person: one who is humble, submissive in spirit, and trembles at my word.” Our Lord and Savior looks with favor on us when we are humble and submissive in spirit. I wonder if I asked my family if they thought I was humble, what their response would be. I am a work in progress. Holy Spirit continue to work in me and change me to be more like Christ.

  30. Sarah says:

    Wow! Pretty sure this was written directly for me! :)

  31. Elizabeth Prine says:

    I really relate to today’s devotional and it’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. Many times God’s limitless grace is what initially calls sinners to repentance: being free of shame and guilt and forgiven by our creator is the most freeing thing a person can experience. But we can’t stay there! We must mature in our faith and work towards holiness. Works won’t get you into heaven but the Bible often speaks of judgement based on what we do. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” 2 Corinthians 5:10. I don’t want to be content to stay in that initial stage of cheap grace but to become more like Christ everyday through sanctification.

  32. Taylor says:

    I am definitely in need of grace every single day! There is definitely that tension of wanting to use grace as an excuse to keep living in worldly ways, but the process of sanctification is growing me daily more like Jesus – not by my own doing – but by HIS work. There is also that tension of allowing God to change you from the inside out, but also working out your faith and living a life that honors God. I still haven’t grasped this concept completely that it’s not about my own striving, but God living in and THROUGH me that makes me righteous.

  33. Debbie Gjerde says:

    They will suffer the punishment…
    Who do I know that could be headed for destruction? Be SALT, be LIGHT, be LOVE, be REAL.

  34. Erica Askren says:


  35. Rachiel says:

    @SUSIE HUBACHER I’ll be praying for your daughter. When I was in my early twenties, I lost a relationship, because he didn’t want to be with someone with my faith. It lead to a crisis in belief. I may not have always lived for God, but He was always watching over me and guiding me even when I didn’t realize it. I guess what I’m trying to say is God is still in your daughter’s life even if she doesn’t realize it. She needs to realize that her faith is her own and not what the church always expects you to be. Our relationship is with God. I hope this makes sense.

  36. Deanna says:

    Convicted – in the best way – by this reading today.

  37. Susie Hubacher says:

    In my experience, the church has emphasized holy living so much that my young adult daughter has totally rejected the church and God. I am on my knees every day just hoping she would live in that “cheap grace”.

  38. Melissa says:

    So convicting. This study has been my favorite of the year so far. I long to live a life of “holy living” and not just cling to grace as an excuse to keep living like everyone else. The call to be a Christian is tough and I still have along way to go, but I know God can get me to a better place than I am in now. Amen!

  39. Suzan Ledford says:


  40. Mea.Fraga.Leah.Siara R.a.A.r.naneirekroughenne.pine says:

    My relatives is good but sometimes bad, and that’s heavy to me to my Job, I wonder if there has misreading, going to be nothing to bad and makes Really God of Our LORD is.

  41. Kelly says:

    Thank You that You are longsuffering, Lord! Thank You for Your unfailing lovingkindness!

  42. Dana says:

    Make me worthy Lord