Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ukraine Ponderings on "Cheap Grace"



Sasha and Natasha Savich

I asked my good friend and fellow pastor, Sasha Savich, what is one major difference between USAmerican evangelical Christians and Ukrainian evangelical Christians.

He thought for quite a time. Then, he said, "Cheap grace. You American Christians have cheap grace. You think that once you're saved, you're always saved no matter how you live. There is no seriousness about how you live your lives before God. In Ukraine, we think our daily life shows whether or not we are truly saved. We have to persevere in obedient living in order to have confidence that we belong to God. It's not that we believe we lose our salvation, but that, in obediently following Jesus, we show that we have true salvation. There is no 'cheap grace'."

Somehow Sasha's comments have an apostolic ring to them. We in the USA present a "bar code"gospel (according to Dallas Willard), believing we'll be scanned into heaven when we die--no questions asked. The idea of seriously persevering in the faith (as a good tree bears good fruit) is optional for us because we have a glib "eternity security" rider on our salvation insurance.

Plus, Sasha went on to say, we in America have so many places to go to church. If a church is not to our liking or confronts us because of our sin, we just go down the street to a church that fits our tastes. We can live any way we want. In Ukraine at present, to be called to a holy life is a serious matter because biblically faithful, believing communities are hard to find. Sadly, with the McDonaldization of the church in Ukraine, this will fade. Sasha laments this inevitability.

Perhaps we leaders and congregations in the USAmerican church need to take the warnings, the very real warnings, of the Book of Hebrews to heart.

It's worth pondering.

Labels:

4 Comments:

At 2/22/2007 12:23 PM, Blogger Terry Rayburn said...

Hi John,

"We have to persevere in obedient living in order to have confidence that we belong to God."

Sasha sounds like a wonderful brother, but I have really mixed feelings about his comments because of the following:

1) "Cheap Grace" has become an un-useful term, because it is so abused by Legalists. Biblically speaking, "grace" is not only *cheap* for the believer, it is *free*, or it's not grace at all. Paul made it clear to the Galatians that to mix grace with performance was to "fall from grace". I.e., to get off of the ground of grace onto the ground of performance.

Yet "grace" is, of course, not *cheap* for Jesus, since it cost Him dearly on our behalf.

2) To put "obedience" as the ground of our confidence is to cry out for the question, "How much obedience? 10% of the time? 90% of the time?" As the old song goes, "Runnin' runnin' runnin', trying to make 100. 99 and a half just won't do."

Obedience is certainly a natural result of the New Creation, and God is indeed at work in us believers both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

Yet when obedience is the ground of our confidence, it will either cause us to doubt our relationship to the Lord (when we're not performing too well), or cause us to feel self-righteous (when we think we're performing pretty well).

Surely you've seen both of these states many times, John, as a Pastor. Both are unbiblical, because the foundation is unbiblical (performance-based confidence).

3) What looks like "cheap grace" (in America or wherever) is not grace at all. It's a subtle form of Legalism called "go forward and your in", or "get baptized and you're in", or "say this prayer and you're in". That's not Grace, cheap or otherwise, it's simply a "stamp-your-ticket, good-for-the-whole-trip" Law.

Those who are really "in" are those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. The accompanying New Birth, causing a New Creation, miraculously results in a Saint who loves Jesus and hates sin, in their very spirit.

4) In that sense, Sasha has a good point, because there are obviously many in America and elsewhere, who call Jesus Lord, but simply are not "those who love Him and are the called according to His purpose".

But to be looking for one's confidence in one's level of obedience, is to keep one's eyes off of Jesus, and onto self --- a dry, if not miserable, way for a New Creation to live.

5) Finally, Paul does admonish us to "examine" ourselves to see if we are "in the faith". I've always recommended a careful reading of 1 John for that purpose, since it contains insights into the "heart" of a believer/unbeliever, without undue emphasis on measuring specific performance.

Blessings,
Terry

 
At 2/24/2007 10:30 PM, Blogger John Frye said...

Terry,
I appreciate your observations. I read them to Sasha and he thinks you are making helpful comments. By obedient living as evidence of salvation Sasha simply means "by their fruit you shall know them." It is not enough to just say "I am saved. I received Jesus." Like James says, "Faith without works is dead." Blessings to you and your family.

 
At 11/26/2010 1:21 AM, Blogger 贝贝 said...

The Tax Return Crack-Up<3>
Granted, there are usuallyMicrosoft Office 2010write-ups when presidential contenders make their tax returns available, but the coverage falls far short of the Office 2010
full court press (pardon the pun) that the Clintons have received. What's Microsoft Office 2007different now?Office 2007One possibility is that most upper middle class Democrats, and therefore most Microsoft OfficeOffice 2007 keyeditors and reporters of our nation's big papers as well as Office 2007 downloadtelevision producers, are Obama supporters who think that Hillary should hurry up Office 2007 Professionaland drop out of the race already.Microsoft outlook
Microsoft outlook 2010Whom elite liberals are pulling for really does shape political coverage in ways

 
At 1/09/2012 1:50 AM, Anonymous ambersbridal said...

Thank you for giving me such a good chance, let me be able to read this essay so good of a son, thank you very much.Who wrote the sonnet of seaside romance? Guess Shakespeare would feel wordless at the sight of marine motif wedding dresses 2012. Amber’s beach cheap wedding dresses plus size unfold pictures of sea-inspired details like pearl beading, shelly appliqué and metallic embroidery. A profusion of drapes, bubbles, pleating and ruffling echoes to the very physique of the beach and the sea.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home