1 Samuel 19:1-10 (Part 2) – Jonathan’s Choice, Toys R Us Christians and Cheap Grace

Posted: March 4, 2018 in 99-Uncategorized

 

1 Samuel 19:1-10 (Part 2 of 6)

 

Saul Tries to Kill David

 

 

 

In this series of blogs, we are looking at the choices we make about what we believe as Christ followers and how we can be led astray by false teaching. Yesterday, we talked about the phenomenon known as the “prosperity gospel”. Today we will talk about “cheap grace”.

 

 

 

What is cheap grace? Cheap grace is when we preach about a God who is all love and who never condemns, a God who doesn’t judge us by our conduct. Like the false teachers Jude confronted, they “turn the grace of our God into lewdness” (Jude 4). The New International Version describes such lewdness as “a license for immorality.” But not every cheap grace preacher is looking for a way to justify sin. Some truly love Jesus but are simply preaching truth mixed with error. They’ve taken an undeniable, glorious truth about God and presented it in such an exaggerated form and simply ignore all God’s divine warnings and Jesus’ words about perverse generations.

 

 

 

Cheap grace is called cheap grace because it devalues what Jesus did on the cross for us and devalues and even nullifies the existence and work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. They ignore mountains of other scriptural truths and draw wrong theological conclusions. For example, they rightly teach that Jesus died for all our sins—past, present and future—but wrongly conclude that as believers we no longer have to deal with sin (meaning we never have to confess sin or repent of sin, and the Holy Spirit no longer convicts us of sin).

 

 

 

If we believe that sin is no longer part of our lives, Jesus is our Savior but He is not our Lord. We remain spiritual infants for the rest of our lives. We are not to seek to be more like Jesus every day. We are simply left at the cross and not required to grow beyond it. We are not to be convicted by the Holy Spirit of the behaviors in our lives at the time of our salvation that are not pleasing to God. When we accept Christ as our Savior, yes, we are covered by grace and we cannot lose our salvation and we are firmly in the clutches of Jesus’ hand when we have a bona fide salvation experience. However, none of us immediately lose the desires of our flesh at the time of our salvation. We submit ourselves at that time to the process of sanctification in which the Holy Spirit convicts us and changes us from the inside out to be more and more like Jesus Christ each and every day going forward.

 

 

 

Cheap grace says that we don’t have to grow up. Cheap grace says that you can continue living as you lived before the day of your salvation. No growth is required or even expected. Cheap grace says there is no need for sanctification. There is no need for the Holy Spirit. What we enjoy doing as sins before salvation are now made OK through salvation. If you think sex outside the marriage covenant is OK before salvation, it is still OK now because you are covered by grace. That’s just an example of the many ways that cheap grace enables us to continue enjoying our favorite sins that we enjoyed prior to salvation. No discipleship is necessary in cheap grace. We are OK to be spiritual babies the remainder of our lives.

 

 

 

Cheap grace seeks to hide the cost of discipleship from people. Salvation by grace alone through faith alone is so much more than simply mouthing the words “Jesus is Lord.” We are not saved by a profession of faith. We are not saved by praying the Sinner’s Prayer. We are not saved by signing a card or walking an aisle. We are saved by a living and active faith (James 2:14-26), a faith that manifests itself in repentance, obedience and love of God and our neighbor. Salvation is not a transaction; it’s a transformation. Paul says it best when he says we are “new creations” in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). There is nothing “cheap” about grace!

 

 

 

That idea of the false doctrine of cheap grace that came to mind this morning when I read this passage about the choice that Jonathan had to make – to be obedient to his father or to honor his friendship with David, to follow his father’s command which was not biblical or to follow that which was right and true according to God. With that idea in mind let us read about the choice that Jonathan had to make:

 

 

 

Chapter 19

 

1 Saul now urged his servants and his son Jonathan to assassinate David. But Jonathan, because of his strong affection for David, 2 told him what his father was planning. “Tomorrow morning,” he warned him, “you must find a hiding place out in the fields. 3 I’ll ask my father to go out there with me, and I’ll talk to him about you. Then I’ll tell you everything I can find out.”

 

 

 

4 The next morning Jonathan spoke with his father about David, saying many good things about him. “The king must not sin against his servant David,” Jonathan said. “He’s never done anything to harm you. He has always helped you in any way he could. 5 Have you forgotten about the time he risked his life to kill the Philistine giant and how the Lord brought a great victory to all Israel as a result? You were certainly happy about it then. Why should you murder an innocent man like David? There is no reason for it at all!”

 

 

 

6 So Saul listened to Jonathan and vowed, “As surely as the Lord lives, David will not be killed.”

 

 

 

7 Afterward Jonathan called David and told him what had happened. Then he brought David to Saul, and David served in the court as before.

 

 

 

8 War broke out again after that, and David led his troops against the Philistines. He attacked them with such fury that they all ran away.

 

 

 

9 But one day when Saul was sitting at home, with spear in hand, the tormenting spirit[a] from the Lord suddenly came upon him again. As David played his harp, 10 Saul hurled his spear at David. But David dodged out of the way, and leaving the spear stuck in the wall, he fled and escaped into the night.

 

 

 

In this passage, we are challenged by the fact that Saul commands his son, Jonathan, to commit an act that is clearly unbiblical and is clearly against the nature of God. Jonathan had a choice to make. He had to decide whether what his father commanded him to do was consistent with Scripture and with the nature of God. Jonathan was wise enough to understand the difference between obeying a parent’s command and violating God’s law. Our parents should be teaching us and commanding us to do only that which is consistent with Scripture. We must be discerning about what we hear from others as biblical truth compared to the actual Word of God. If something seems like it doesn’t smell right in view of Scripture, that is the Holy Spirit convicting us that what we are hearing as gospel truth is in actuality in error. Listen to the Holy Spirit.

 

 

 

The phenomenon of cheap grace is prevalent today. As well meaning pastors and parishioners try to align the Christian faith with the desires of the culture just to fit in and be seen as “relevant”, we cheapen grace. We eliminate discipleship. We eliminate the need to change from the inside out. We make Jesus our friend who sacrificed his life for us but we do not make Him Lord of our lives. We make Jesus tolerant of anything that we do because we are covered in His love and grace. Cheap grace says Jesus just wants us to be happy. Cheap grace makes us Lord so that we can decide what sins we want to let go of and what sins we want to keep. Cheap grace makes us Lord and not Jesus.

 

 

 

Cheap grace is one of the great fallacies of the Christian faith that is prevalent in today’s world of churches trying to grow quickly or churches that are clawing and scratching to remain the churches they once were back in the day. Cheap grace makes sins according to Scripture no longer sins just so we seek to be in with the culture and not be bashed as being out of step with the culture and the times. Cheap grace is Jesus as my buddy and not as my Lord. Cheap grace leaves us at the cross but does not teach us how to grow beyond it. Cheap grace does not teach us that biblical truths are universal and timeless. Cheap grace teaches us that there is no cost to being a Christ follower. Cheap grace does not teach us that we must make choices between the culture and Jesus. Cheap grace makes Jesus cool with everything. Cheap grace does not include their being a cost to following the commands of Jesus.

 

 

 

We as Christ followers must discern when what we hear is not consistent with Scripture. If it takes more time to defend why a sin is no longer a sin than it is to simply obey the commands of God in His Word, then, it’s probably cheap grace in action. Cheap grace stretches and strains God’s Word into lengthy arguments that require a law degree. When we participate in cheap grace, we are becoming like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day who in order to not violate the commands of the Old Testament would develop these lengthy legal arguments that would determine what was and was not a sin. We do the same thing in cheap grace. Only this time it is not to avoid violating God’s law, it is rather now to eliminate God’s law by developing legal-like arguments for why a sin that was once commonly accepted as a sin is no longer a sin. We decide. We cheapen the grace of Jesus Christ when we make ourselves Lord and not Him.

 

 

 

Are you going to listen to God’s Word and simply obey or are you going to listen to the those who are twisting God’s Word into saying whatever is pleasing to their continuance in not repenting of sins that are indeed sins no matter how they dress them up. Are you going to grow in Christ and allow the Holy Spirit to show you the truth of His Word in comparison to your sin-filled nature or are you going to believe the false gospel of cheap grace that says whatever you do is OK by Jesus, that you do not have to grow up, that you can by a Toys-R-Us Christian – one who doesn’t want to grow up because playing with all my favorite toys.

 

Amen and Amen.

 

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