“Cheap grace is the deadly
enemy of our Church.  We are
fighting today for costly grace.”

With this
sentence DB sets up the comparison he will explore in the rest of this chapter and book.  So what does he mean when he uses the
terms cheap – and costly grace?

Cheap grace is the grace we
bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of 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, living and incarnate.

above paragraph is but one of DB’s descriptions of cheap grace but one gets the
idea.  It is easy to have a
definition of grace that has everything to do with God’s forgiveness and
nothing with striving to become like him or follow him.  The phrase that strikes me in this
passage is that it is a grace we “bestow on ourselves”.  It is possible to work with a concept
of grace that actually leads people away from God instead of towards God.  This was what Paul challenged in Romans

one of his fuller passages on “costly grace” DB writes that,

grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will
gladly go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to
buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ,
for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble, it is
the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him.
Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be
asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it
calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ.
It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives
a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace
because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God
the life of his Son: “ye were bought at a price,” and what has cost God much
cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his
Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly
grace is the Incarnation of God.
Costly grace is the sanctuary of God; it has to
be protected from the world, and not thrown to the dogs. It is therefore the
living word, the Word of God, which he speaks as it pleases him. Costly grace
confronts us as a gracious call to follow Jesus. It comes as a word of
forgiveness to the broken spirit and the contrite heart. Grace is costly
because it compels a man to submit to the yoke of Christ and follow him; it is
grace because Jesus says: “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

This whole chapter flows
with the contrast between cheap and costly grace. When I read this I’m acutely
aware of the traces of cheap grace in my system and I am drawn towards Jesus
who invites me to give it all.