Conquering the Cheap Grace Rabbit Hole
“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.“Romans 6:1-4 ESV
Imagine you’re teaching a Mormon about the free gift of grace, and how it saves us apart from works. The person you’re talking to rolls their eyes and says, “Oh, so you Evangelicals can sin all you want!” Thus now describing cheap grace.
But you get flustered. And at this point the Mormon has steered the conversation off the road and into a ditch. Consequently you make a 180 and start talking about sanctification because you don’t want it to seem like Christians don’t care about obedience.
The Mormon leans back with a smug grin and declares victory. In their eyes, our obedience makes us worthy, and you have unwittingly supported their position.
You dig yourself in deeper, explaining that various prosperity gospel preachers are actually wolves in sheep’s clothing. The Mormon nods knowingly. This is music to their ears. They believe a great apostasy left Christianity fractured and weak. You’ve just supported this erroneous theory as well.
If you’ve ever witnessed to a Latter-day Saint, you may have encountered the above scenario I just described.
What you should do instead
The danger begins when we let Mormons define Christianity in the first place. They think we view grace as a license to sin, which is of course, cheap grace.
This isn’t a valid argument. Rather, it’s a reflection of the sinful heart from whence it came. When someone says, “You can sin all you want,” what they’re really saying is they’re unregenerately wicked.
In other words, they sin constantly. They don’t even desire purity, because they love sin more than God.
This is your opportunity to hit back. I recommend the following response:
“A true Christian would never suggest that.”
It’s a potent answer because it derails their logic instantly. It also happens to be true.
Ask the Mormon the following question. “If you had a parent or a spouse that loved you unconditionally, would your goal be to betray them as much as you could?”
The Latter-day Saint will concede the point, putting you back to square one. However, your position now is better than if you’d never been dragged into the ditch.
When they concede, tell them you agree. It makes logical sense to earn approval, but since when does love conform to logic? It doesn’t make sense that Jesus died for mankind, but He did.
Take this opportunity to speak to your LDS friend in their own language. They value experience above all else, so give them your testimony. Tell them why you don’t deserve the grace you’ve been given and then explain how it’s changed you for the better.
I don’t recommend going into too much detail if you’re doing this publicly online. One on one, this is a great opportunity to speak from the heart.
A Mormon won’t be able to refute this. On one hand, you responded respectfully, which means they can’t call your conduct into question. On the other, they long for this unconditional love.
The god of Mormonism does not love his children unconditionally. You can fall out of favor with him through sin. Latter-day Saints often claim their god is more loving because they hold a near universalist position.
However, their god is not so loving that he can accept a sinner into his kingdom. This puts you in position to extol the amazing grace of Jesus. So when a Latter-day Saint accuses you of trusting cheap grace, think of it as a gift from heaven.