Forgiveness and cheap grace

‘Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance,’ said German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906–1945).

The idea that we ought to forgive others unconditionally and automatically does not take into account God’s forgiveness of our sin. He only forgives those who repent; God does not forgive automatically. Forgiveness comes at a cost.

To suppose God forgives all people automatically undermines the gospel of Jesus, and is what Bonhoeffer called ‘cheap grace.’

One of the problems ‘cheap grace’ leads to is is not discerning right from wrong. Bonhoeffer believed ‘cheap grace’ is why Christians in Germany did not stand up to Nazism. Repentance and confession of sin had been lost in the church; evil was not named.

As we study the Bible on forgiveness, let’s pray for one another to know Jesus better and the forgiveness he offers and calls us to follow in. I suspect we won’t agree on all matters of forgiveness and reconciliation over the coming week – that’s ok! – but let’s have good discussions with our Bible’s open.

In Christ, Tory Cayzer.


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