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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Jennifer Anapol says:

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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!!!!