Cheap grace?

I don’t understand the concept of cheap grace.

As near as I can tell it is invalidity of grace shown to someone who doesn’t respond “appropriately”. Or something like that.

But by definition, grace is unearned and undeserved. How can it be cheap?

Cheap grace seems often an excuse for unforgiveness or judgement or an expression of incredulity about Christianity. It is there in our struggle with truly believing ourselves forgiven. In that case the problem is not cheap grace, rather, the problem is grace grace and how maddeningly unfair God’s grace is.

Perhaps a better formulation is cheapened grace. Our response to grace given doesn’t determine its value in abstract, instead it reveals how much worth we see in it. And our attempts to earn God’s grace by our limited good behaviour cheapens it just as much as squandering it.

Grace is always an unaffordable, undeserved gift.


Finally, lest you think I’m saying something I’m not:

“Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means!” Romans 6:15 (NIV)