Cheap Salvation and Casual Christianity

You know what I like about the Jehovah’s Witnesses? Their unity, they’re centralized. If the universal church (all believers) were that unified, we could do an even mightier work. Why don’t we?

A couple of reasons come to mind, we take it for granted, and we think of our churches as Burger King, where we can have it our way.

What do you mean ‘take it for granted?’

Our salvation and God’s grace and favor in offering it to us. We can’t earn it, it’s a free gift that came at the cost of Christ’s life. Say a prayer, and then keep on doing what you do, without even trying to make a Kingdom impact.

Statistics show that people attend church 3 out of every 8 Sundays. Try that with work. Reasons are given, too busy and don’t have time. That’s a pretty good indicator where God is on a person’s priority list.

In the parable of the Sower (Mark 4:1-20) Jesus says “Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.” Is that you?

How can I prevent that?

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?

Hebrews 10:19-29

There’s a lot of deep theology in there. It’s challenging. I spent weeks on grace and salvation after a challenging sermon. Is the reason you’re not in church because it doesn’t feel good? You feel convicted?

If you never walk out of church feeling convicted, I warn you, your heart is hardening. Jesus cares for and lifts us, but also disciplines when we are wrong.

What can I do?

Endure, cling to Christ and don’t let go. Be tender-hearted and mature enough that when the Bible or Holy Spirit says to do this or don’t do that, you listen and obey. That’s being trained by, and walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5:13-26).

God’s grace, His undeserved favor, isn’t to be wasted, cast aside, and we can’t negotiate the terms of it. It’s the most important thing ever. To do otherwise cheapens it.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer had a lot to say about cheap grace in The Cost of Discipleship…

Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our church. We are fighting today for costly grace…Grace without price; grace without cost! The essence of grace, we suppose, is that the account has been paid in advance; and because it has been paid, everything can be had for nothing…In such a church the world finds a cheap covering for its sins; no contrition is required, still less any real desire to be delivered from sin…

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…Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and 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 calls for a life of ongoing repentance.

Ongoing repentance?

Yes, an awareness of the cost of your salvation, and the joy that the deliverance from hell into eternal life is yours. “Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. (Philippians 2:12-13)”

Working it out, not working for, means growing in God’s grace by trusting Him more because faith is the only way to be saved. Because you trusted God to save you, it’s easy to follow and listen to Him. Because you love Him for what He did for you, you seek to please Him and avoid anything that doesn’t.

When you sin, and you will (I did right before I typed this), ask for forgiveness with a repentant heart, not one wanting a rubber stamp.

What’s this have to do with going to church?

The universal church–actual followers of Christ–is called the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27). Christ is the head of the church (his body), and as such, that means we have to sacrifice our preferences so long as it doesn’t go against the essential doctrines.

Why is this important?

Paul says it best in 1 Corinthians 12:12-26.

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

You have a purpose, and you cannot do it very well lone-wolfing it (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12). You need encouragement, relationship, and people who love you enough to confront you when you’re wrong. Find a Bible-believing healthy church that’s like a family and go get involved. Do more than listening to a preacher for an hour and singing some songs. Serve, make friends, make a difference for the kingdom.

That spiritual drought will end with a torrent of living water.

What Is God Like?

God is described in many ways, with many attributes and actions. Our finite minds try to grasp the infinite by straining language to the breaking point trying to paint word pictures of God. We’ll touch on that today in this post from the Doctrine of God series.

How is God different from us?

He has two sets of attributes, incommunicable and communicable. His communicable attributes are the ones He shares with us. His incommunicable attributes He shares less of or not at all.

What is so important about God’s names?

In the Bible, it’s a description of His character, like a lot of Bible names. For example, when we pray “hallowed” be your name as part of the Lord’s prayer, we’re praying that people will speak and act in a way that is honoring and reflects His character.

It also shows the reason in not taking God’s name in vain. It’s a command that we don’t dishonor God’s reputation with foolish or misleading words or actions that don’t reflect His true character.

Why does God have so many names in the Bible?

Many of the names come from human experiences, emotions, or from natural creation in order to describe God’s character. It’s like using an analogy.

How is God described from natural creation?

God is compared to…

  • a lion (Isaiah 31:4) This is what the Lord says to me: “As a lion growls, a great lion over its prey—and though a whole band of shepherds is called together against it, it is not frightened by their shouts or disturbed by their clamor—so the Lord Almighty will come down to do battle on Mount Zion and on its heights.
  • an eagle (Deuteronomy 32:11) like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them aloft.
  • a lamb (Isaiah 53:7) He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
  • a hen (Matthew 23:37) “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.
  • the sun and a shield (Psalm 84:11) For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.
  • the morning star (Revelation 22:16) “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”
  • a light (Psalm 27:1) The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?
  • a torch (Revelations 21:23) The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.
  • a fire (Hebrews 12:29) for our “God is a consuming fire.”
  • a fountain (Psalm 36:9) For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.
  • a rock (Deuteronomy 32:4) He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.
  • a hiding place (Psalm 119:114) You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.
  • a tower (Proverbs 18:10) The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.
  • a moth (Psalm 39:11) When you rebuke and discipline anyone for their sin, you consume their wealth like a moth—surely everyone is but a breath.
  • a shadow (Psalm 91:1) Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
  • a temple (Revelation 21:22) I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.

There are more but for the sake of space, we’ll move on.

How is God described from human experience?

God is described as…

  • a bridegroom (Isaiah 61:10) I delight greatly in the Lordmy soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
  • a husband (Isaiah 54:5) For your Maker is your husband—the Lord Almighty is his name—
    the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.
  • a father (Deuteronomy 32:6) Is this the way you repay the Lordyou foolish and unwise people?
    Is he not your Father, your Creator, who made you and formed you?
  • a judge and king (Isaiah 33:22) For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver,
    the Lord is our king; it is he who will save us.
  • a man of war (Exodus 15:3) The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name.
  • a builder and maker (Hebrews 11:10) For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
  • a shepherd (Psalm 23:1) The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
  • a physician (Exodus 15:26) He said, “If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.”

That’s just for starters.

How is God described from human emotion?

Human emotions are attributed to Him like…

  • joy (Isaiah 62:5) As a young man marries a young woman, so will your Builder marry you;
    as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.
  • grief (Psalm 78:40; Isaiah 63:10) How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved him in the wasteland!”
    “Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned and became their enemy
    and he himself fought against them.”
  • anger (Jeremiah 7:18-19) The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough and make cakes to offer to the Queen of Heaven. They pour out drink offerings to other gods to arouse my anger. But am I the one they are provoking? declares the Lord. Are they not rather harming themselves, to their own shame?
  • love (John 3:16) For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
  • hatred (Deuteronomy 16:22) and do not erect a sacred stone, for these the Lord your God hates.
  • wrath (Psalm 2:5) He rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,…

To name a few.

How are God’s actions described?

He is described as doing things as we would, such as…

  • knowing (Genesis 18:21) that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”
  • remembering (Genesis 8:1) “But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.”
  • seeing (Genesis 1:10) God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.
  • hearing (Exodus 2:24) God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob.
  • smelling (Genesis 8:21) The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.
  • sitting (Psalm 9:7) The Lord reigns forever; he has established his throne for judgment.
  • rising (Psalm 68:1) May God arise, may his enemies be scattered; may his foes flee before him.
  • walking (Leviticus 26:12) I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people.
  • wiping away tears (Isaiah 25:8) The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces;
    he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The Lord has spoken.

Why does God seem so mixed up?

The passages show that all of the creation reveals something about God to us. Being made in the image of God reveals a bit more, and Jesus as the revelation of God to man is the final revelation bringing it all in perspective. This shows that all we understand is through our limited understanding in our experience with God.

That’s why anthropomorphic language is used that speaks of God in human terms. Don’t take a description by itself out of context, but understand it in light of the rest of Scripture. Remember, the Bible’s description of God isn’t exhaustive, but when you consider what we have…whoa…

Doctrine of the Bible Posts
How Did We Get The Bible?
Is The Bible The Word of God and Does It Matter?
Is The Bible Inerrant?
Is The Bible Necessary?
Is The Bible Sufficient?

Doctrine of God Posts

Is There A God? 
How Can We Know God?

Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine by Wayne Grudem
Chapter 11: Incommunicable Attributes of God

The Vision and Mission of Ronin’s Journey

What’s the point of this blog? Why bother? It’s because I see a need, a world that’s harassed and helpless. I want you to not only to apply what you learn here, I want you to know why. In a nutshell, I want to develop thoughtful purposeful Christians.


By cultivating a life of the mind that’s connected to the heart, to create depth, a thoughtful Christianity. Then working outward in an application with a purpose. That’s the point of the two series, Simplified Systematic Theology and Learning Under Jesus.

There is a surface belief in the world, but it’s shallow. There’s little to no application. Why? Because it’s not real to people, they haven’t thought it through. The ones that have, live it or reject it.

Some History

That’s how this blog has been trending since 2014. Before that, it was politics and social commentary five

In the early days


days a week. Then a traumatic accident took my godson. Ronin’s Journey became a soul-searching grief journey in mid-2013. Little over a year later, I met Jesus in a way that was deeper than my cultural Christianity.

I began writing what it was like to actually follow him. Matthew 6:33 was the tagline and is still my life verse; “Seek first His kingdom and righteousness, all these things will be added to you.” Then I began refining the blog, and still am to this day. First by moving to private hosting this time last year. It’s not cheap, but I have more control, and no one can take it from me.

Why Bother?

At this point, we are surrounded by cultural Christians in an environment that is increasingly hostile to our worldview. They grew up in church, but never totally committed to Christ.

Does your foundation have the depth to withstand and answer the world’s questions? If not, prepare yourself; if so, prepare others. Take what you know and share it, live it as a testimony. It’s getting dark but that’s when the light shines the brightest.

Your Mission, If You Choose To Accept It…

Here are my goals for me, and for you if you so choose:

  • Grow in knowledge and service to Christ. How? By following him and thinking through the ramifications, deeply. Ask questions like, “What if I don’t do ____?” “Why should I do _____?” “What’s this mean?” “What if I do             ?”
    I’m confident that time and time again, it’s the best choice. Not always easy, but the best.

Here’s my challenge for you.

Every place that you are at, Jesus is there in you, Christian. Do what he would, in your place, at work, home, public, private, etc. Not sure how?

When I first took the plunge, Pastor Jaime told me to start by reading two things, the book of Romans in the Bible and Immediate Obedience: The Adventure of Tuning Into God. I started another blog, inactive but still there, to chronicle it. First Samuel 12:24. Click the title and it will take you to the first post ever, where I began a 90-Day challenge.

I can’t do this alone. I’ve gotten this far with a lot of grace, curiosity, and self-study, yet I’m reaching almost a thousand people online. You can do it too, you can do better, live a life that’s a worthy testimony and reach who you can your way.