Lukewarm is what you get when you mix hot with cold. It is mixing: the new covenant of grace with the old covenant of works; the new law written on our hearts with the old law written on stone; the rest of the new with the ceaseless demands of the old; the unbreakable promises of God with the brittle promises of man; the liberty of Zion with the bondage of Sinai; and the ministry of no condemnation with the ministry that condemns.

The Laodiceans were famously lukewarm, but anyone can be lukewarm (Rev. 3:16). All you need is a little law. In the Bible we find a great law that no one can keep. It’s a monumental law to crush egos and silence boasting mouths. But the self-righteous take that great law and cut it down to manageable size. They belittle and cheapen God’s law, making themselves lukewarm in the process.

An oft-heard cry is that the modern church is being undone by cheap grace. The remedy is to preach costly grace, meaning grace with conditions. In other words, the cure for apathy is to mix law with grace. This is toxic teaching. There is no such thing as cheap grace. The real damage is done by preaching cheap law.

Cheap law may be packaged as the pursuit of holiness or the spiritual disciplines. It could be an emphasis on the sacrifices you bring or the promises you make. Cheap law may take many forms, but it invariably bears the nauseating stench of self-righteousness.

Further reading: “Are you lukewarm? Take the test

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