What’s So Scandalous About Grace?
Quite disturbing, isn’t it? “Is grace scandalous? I don’t understand”, you might have thought. What makes such a good thing like grace scandalous?
Well, I write this entry because of the song Scandal of Grace by Hillsong United newly released in the album ZION last February 2013. Here’s the youtube clip of this song:
One friend of mine asked why it’s titled Scandal of Grace. In an age where the word SCANDAL catches anybody’s ‘curious’ attention, many of us would think the song title sounds too negative and too offensive for a christian song especially that it talks about one of the most commonly used (and perhaps, the most abused as well) words in Christendom – GRACE.
So, What’s Really Scandalous About Grace?
Allow me to get help from award-winning author Max Lucado in explaining this. In his book In the Grip of Grace, he tells the story of grace for notorious perverted serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Doesn’t that raise an eyebrow? “Grace for a serial killer?” Naturally, we would say “No Way!”.
Here’s how Max Lucado said it:
If we take a look at Jeffrey Dahmer and ask ourselves what disturbs us most about him? The list would go on about his seventeen murders. Eleven corpses were found in his apartment. He cut off arms and ate body parts. He redefined the boundary for brutality. No sign of remorse. No hint of regret. For some the most disturbing fact would be his conversion. Months before an inmate murdered him, (we have been told) that Jeffrey Dahmer became a Christian. Said he repented. Was sorry for what he did. Profoundly sorry. Said he put his faith in Christ Was baptized. Started his life over. Began reading Christian books and attending chapel. Sins washed. Soul cleansed. Past forgiven.
Maybe you have the same reservations. If not about Jeffrey Dahmer perhaps about someone else. Ever wrestled with the deathbed conversion of a rapist or the eleventh hour conversion of a child molester? We’ve sentenced them, maybe not in a court, but in our hearts. They are forever imprisoned by our disgust. And then, the impossible happened, they repent. Our response? We cross our arms and furrow our brows and say, “God won’t let you off that easy”. Not after what you did. God is kind but he is no wimp. Grace is for average sinners like me, not deviants like you.”
If you look closer to what grace really is, it’s really disturbingly scandalous at its core. How can a righteous God easily forgive somebody who murders people and eats their flesh? It’s unthinkable. It’s really crazy. If this had happened in a trial court, we would have walked out of the proceedings and demanded the resignation of the judge. It’s the worst kind of injustice.
Grace is Freely Given but It’s Costly
But, that’s what grace is. It is freely given. Grace is God letting His only begotten Son take our place of punishment of sin so that we can walk away free and unscathed. Grace is the picture a sinless Man hanging on a tree dying for a sinful and cynical world. Yes, all of us can be recipients of God’s scandalous grace. We don’t deserve it but still He offers grace to us a gift and only in believing will we be able to receive that precious gift.
I take a look at myself. I’ve messed up so many times in life. I am a sinner, a great sinner to be exact. My trespasses would have been enough to convict me in a heavenly court and to condemn me into eternal damnation. But He offers remission of sins through the atoning sacrifice of God’s only Son in Calvary. Pardon for the convict? Such move would raise eyebrows and incite protests from people. But still, God the righteous Judge did it.
So, why should I be critical of somebody who have wronged me? Well, it’s just natural. But when I look through the lens of grace, I see them as people who also are in need of forgiveness. We all need forgiveness even those who have committed the most horrible crimes. No person is not eligible to receive God’s grace. The godless, the man with the coldest heart can avail of it. They can. We can.
God’s grace is scandalous to those who do not know God but it’s amazing to those who have experienced it.