April 30

 

1 Peter 1:17-23

 

Folk wisdom of our day tells us that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Yet we live in the hope that it might not be true. Get-rich-quick schemes continue to trap gullible people. Look how popular scratchies and Lotto tickets are! But the truth is that everything has a cost. Someone has to pay. It’s built into the very fabric of the universe it seems. Our recent concentration on the crucifixion of Jesus (Good Friday) should have alerted us to the fact that salvation does not come without cost. “You know that you were not ransomed with perishable things like silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ like that of a lamb without defect or blemish.”  This is the only way God’s saving grace comes to us. And this was no late change of plans; this sacrifice was destined from the beginning of time. It is the only way God’s rule can be established on earth. We’d like to have it otherwise, especially when we are involved in the work of the kingdom. A powerful God who flies high above the conflict on the ground will not do. God gets involved and that means paying the price. A crucified Messiah! Not at all what people were expecting; not at all what people were wanting!  But without crucifixion there can be no resurrection. We’d love to have victory without pain, lives of happiness uninterrupted by sadness, success without effort, resurrection without the Cross, but that is not the way things work. That’s not the way love works. Love pays the price. Love makes the sacrifice. Love gives. It’s great to know that God loves us, but it’s a costly love. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote eighty years ago in The Cost of Discipleship, “Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our Church. We are fighting today for costly grace.” Things haven’t changed.

 

  • Give examples of get-rich-quick schemes of which it can be said that if it’s too good to be true it almost certainly is.
  • Do you agree that everything has its cost?
  • Is there a love that is not costly?
  • What do you think is meant by costly grace?