Oh, You Already Paid For It?

Several weekends ago, I went bowling for one of my friend’s birthday. My friend told me to go to the front desk and get my shoes. I went to the front desk, paid $4 for some bowling shoes, and walked back to the lanes. My friend and I started talking and, thoughtlessly, I mentioned that I had paid for the shoes. He quickly said, “Dude! I already paid for everything!”

Cheap Grace

I am writing this to encourage Christians who have unconfessed sin weighing down their consciences. Often, what keeps us from repenting is resisting the fact that forgiveness is freely offered to us through faith in Jesus. We say, “I feel like I haven’t done enough to deserve forgiveness for my sins.” Or we say, “It feels so weird that all I have to do is confess and God will restore fellowship with me.”

I believe what many of us are saying, deep down, is that grace shouldn’t be cheap. And that is right. Sin is serious and extremely costly, for both God and us.

Jesus Gave It All

Grace isn’t cheap. It’s expensive; it cost God his Son’s life.  It is a very serious thing to sin against God; it deserves death. That is why Jesus Christ spilled his blood 2,000 years ago outside of Jerusalem. It is incredibly difficult to deal with the problem of sin. That is why the glorious Son of God took on flesh to do it for us. The payment for sin demands a heavy price, but Jesus did not ransom us from the misery of our sin with silver or gold. He paid our ransom with his own blood that he willingly spilled for those who believe in his name.

Every time we go to the front desk of God’s throne room to try and buy the “bowling shoes” of God’s forgiveness with the currency of our own good works, I can almost hear Jesus saying, “Dude! I already paid for your forgiveness!” You’re not forgiven because of your own good works and sacrifice; you’re forgiven because of Jesus’ good works and sacrifice.

You Must Give It All

Now this statement will seem like I am contradicting myself, but here it is: Grace isn’t cheap. It’s expensive; it will cost you your life. Now, the grace of God is given to you freely; there’s no way to earn it. But living out this grace will be costly. We should discard the idea that we receive forgiveness just so we can sin it up. Jesus commands total surrender.

The Loving King

We are to respect and obey God as judge and ruler. A part of being forgiven means you realize you have offended a God who deserves unconditional obedience.

But that same ruler’s love meets us, even though we deserve punishment. That’s grace. Everything our loving King has laid down to save us makes us want to lay down our lives at his feet, dedicating ourselves to joyfully serve and love him. The amazing grace of the gospel causes us to hate sin and submit to God’s rule in our lives. The Holy Spirit tells us through Paul:

“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” (Titus 2:11-14, NIV)

Someone who truly understands God’s grace will grow in godliness, a godliness that leads to a transformed lifestyle. One who understands they are forgiven is one whose actions, step by step, say, “I belong to Jesus!”

Remember the Gospel

So every time you sin and you feel like you haven’t done enough to deserve forgiveness, remember the gospel! Ask the Spirit to strengthen your faith in Jesus! Stop feeling guilty when you aren’t. Walk confidently in God’s love—you are forgiven. Jesus has already gone to the front desk and paid your bill! Take your shoes, tie them tightly, and be determined to bowl a strike everyday for God’s kingdom.