2 Corinthians 5:14-15 says For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.  The grace of God is an incredible thing. We sing songs about it, read books about, preachers preach about it, yet do we truly understand it?  Mercy is NOT getting what we deserve.  Grace IS getting what we do not deserve.

Ephesians 2:5 …even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).  We did NOT get what we deserved: beating, death, and hell.  We GOT what we did not deserve: forgiveness, salvation, deliverance, and heaven.  That is Grace!

Not only do we receive these amazing gifts from God through Christ but we also get even more, much more.  God has given us His Spirit, made us sons and daughters, and co-heirs with Christ and we did nothing to deserve it.  Romans 6:23 tells us For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Grace is a gift, but there is a cost, a wage, and mercy says that we did not have to pay for it but Jesus did.  Grace says not only did we not have to pay, but we reaped the benefits.

God’s abundant grace is free to us, but many times we take it for granted.  He paid for our sins, gave us new life, filled us with His Spirit and promised us eternal life, but we often take the attitude that, “I’ll do what I want to do, because it is my life.”  1 Corinthians 6:19 says Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 

Have you ever done something special for someone, something that took lots of effort, and probably cost you a lot and that person really shows their appreciation and gratefulness?  How does that make you feel?  When people show gratitude for all you have done and invested, it strengthens your relationship and draws you closer together.

Have you ever done something special for someone, something that took lots of effort, and probably cost you a lot and that person does not show any appreciation and they barely recognized what you did at all?  How does that make you feel?  That type of response normally pushes us further away from that person.  Sadly that is how many treat the grace of God.  When we take God’s grace for granted we cheapen it.

God’s grace is not cheap!  The opposite of cheap grace is costly grace.  Costly grace is the acknowledgment that what Jesus did at Calvary was for us.  The whip that beat Him was not one of convenience but one of pain for Him and healing for us.  The crown that was placed on His head was not for looks but for the curse of the Garden to be broken in our life.  The nails that held Him to the cross were not symbolic, but made of iron to complete His death and give us life.  We cannot have the benefits of what Jesus did without understanding the investment we also must have. 

David Nasser, writes in A Call to Die, “This means grace is not the real thing unless it makes a real difference in our lives.”  God will save us just as we are but discipleship requires change.  Yet in today’s society the attitude is, “me first, me last, me all the time”, and grace is free so I don’t have to change.  A full commitment to Christ is both a decision and a process and it is called discipleship.  Each moment of each day we are asked to live completely for Him and not for ourselves.

Teen Challenge is a Christian discipleship program, and we are serious about teaching those that come here to follow Jesus.  We teach them that if they will follow Jesus, God will take them deeper and further into the depths of His heart. When we draw closer to Him, what the world has to offer does not look as appealing as it once did.  His grace is costly, but His benefits far surpass anything this world has to offer.