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Cheap Grace – A Poem


Enthroned upon fear with a sneer for the mob,
this Lord gives a job to a girl,
his lips curl,
as he lobs her the list.
Dismissed with a wave,
she flees to behave as a slave
and return to be scored:
to earn her reward.

And so, one year later,
before this dictator,
the beggar proceeds to establish her deeds.
The Lord must concede,
that all he had billed, 
to the letter's fulfilled.
So the purse of a king he flings
to this servant, observant of duties.
She pouches the booty,
and springs from the court,
to romp and cavort,
her life, uncontrolled, now financed in gold,
By royal appointment: the wastrel bank-rolled.

The king's chief adviser then frowns to despise her:
"My lord you're too lavish, the girl is a savage.
In future such treasure we'll measure much wiser.
Instead of cheap grace, each case we'll discern -
have them earn their commission,
maintain their submission.
With deals comprehensive we'll make grace expensive."
And the Lord well approved of this prudent petition.

Meanwhile far away, where a new king held sway,
A young felon in court
came to grovel, contort all her frame,
and declaim all her hitherto deviance,
to pledge fresh allegiance, nay royal obedience.
Yet all there suspected her airs were affected,
This bowing appeared just a game.

"My lord, do not crumble," the courtiers grumble,
"This dame in distress, may impress with finesse
but do not acquiesce to her schemes.
This wench is not all that she seems."

Ignoring their counsel, the King then dismounts from his place, face to face
with the girl to embrace,
and as gasps echo round, he then falls to the ground on one knee
and with right royal plea he asks, "Will you have me,
my throne and my kingdom, my future, my life?"
Receiving his hand she consents as his wife.

The palace erupts with indignant outcries:
"She cannot be trusted, her act's a disguise!"
The king sighs:
"I see what you see and much else besides!
It's not for her looks or the oaths that she swore.
It's not for her sorrow or pledge to do more.
I haven't been duped or swept off my feet.
I am not sweet.
I'm a King stooping strong, looking long past the present,
with love luminescent,
transfiguring gloom into dawn.
Do not warn me that scorn lies ahead, I know whom I've wed
and I'll see it through night-time to morn.

"There are kings" he continued "who give only things
to their subjects and then let them go.
But, no.
I refuse to be used as a means to an end
So I give them myself instead.
See my wife is possessing all possible blessing,
but I am the treasure, not she.
For free all things handed with no fee demanded,
but nothing is had without me.
Some fear such free grace and replace it with earning,
with works and their proper reward.
But consider my wife:
now, all through
 her life,
she belongs, heart and soul, to her Lord."

11 thoughts on “Cheap Grace – A Poem

  1. Glen

    Both kings are Christ but the first is, obviously, a false Christ understood according to a false kingdom.

    In this false kingdom (which many mistake for true Christianity) the courtiers debate how cheap or expensive "grace" should be. Trouble is, grace is conceived of as a thing (a pouch of money) and then the rest of the debate is about how free the grace stuff should be.

    Some of the grace/sanctification debates sound like they happen in the first kingdom - the grace guys say "Yay, free grace" then the sanctification guys say "Boo, you're bankrolling sin - we need to raise the price."

    All the while the second kingdom shows the true nature of grace. Grace *is* the gift of Christ. Christ is free *and* Christ is Lord and when we understand union with Christ, we realise those two things are not at all opposed.

  2. Dave k

    Union with christ is often put forward as the solution to the sanctification debates. I like how you constantly remind us that that is not just a concept but a relationship with jesus as a person; and a relationship he initiates! Thanks for preaching christ! "Give me christ, or else I die".

  3. Si

    "The Lord must concede," <- sounds like, on top of the first Lord being swayed by his advisers, he is ruled by the girl. He is not truly Lord.

  4. Glen

    Exactly. Her (tick box) good works are the centre not only for her but for the king too. Sanctification (or lack of it) is Lord

  5. the Old Adam

    He (Christ) starts it…He keeps it going…and then He brings it to completion.

    And so many of us just hate that. We want our dog to get into a little of that fight!

  6. Brian Midmore

    Like the disciples we need to leave everything to follow Jesus because he is the one who has the words of eternal life. The gospel is free but it costs everything we have. It is in dying that we are born to eternal life. The leaving and the dying and the living are all by his grace. Can we say exactly what this leaving and dying entail? No. Those who are led by the spirit are the sons of God.

  7. Pingback: We Do NOT Balance Licence and Legalism | Christ the Truth

  8. Micah Joel Deegan

    I regularly fine back to this poem and was reminded of it as I read Isaiah 62 this morning. The LORD's people are glorious boost He Himself is glorious and comes to be with them in marriage.

    Thanks for this!

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