God has already saved us and called us to this holy calling—not because of any good works we may have done, but because of His own intention and because eons and eons ago (before time itself existed), He gave us this grace in Jesus the Anointed, the Liberating King. (2 Timothy 1:9, VOICE)
I have a confession to make. I am involved in a scandal. A scandal of grand proportions. A scandal that has life altering consequences. What is this scandal I am referring to? Is it adultery? Is it pornography addiction? Is it a tax evasion scheme? It is none of these things. The scandal I am involved in is the scandal of Grace.
The scandal of Grace? Yes, this over the top, Radical Grace of God is scandalous. For it takes wicked sinful hearts, who deserve an eternity separated from a holy and perfect God, and justifies them. This Grace of God takes the most undeserving of us and declares us not guilty. I was once lost, following my own plans, pursuing sinful passions, disregarding God's way of doing things. This wonderful Grace of God found me and redeemed me and cleansed me and made me new and placed me in right standing with God forever.
Why is this Grace scandalous? In the mind of the enemy, the accuser, he knows how unjust and guilty we all are in and of ourselves apart from Christ. It is scandalous to the religious tradition-minded because they feel we must work for and earn our forgiveness and right standing with God. How then could the undeserving, the lowest of the low, be exalted to a place where their sins and wrong doings will never be accounted to them again? It is because of the Radical Grace of Almighty God expressed in the Finished Work.
Many religious leaders talk about the Cross. They even minister the need for the Cross. Some are known for saying we need more teaching on the Cross. They may even see many flood the altars in response to the initial preaching of the Cross. This is good, but what about when the new converts return to church?
When these same converts return to the church where they discovered new life and mercy through the preaching of the Cross and begin the journey of the Christian life, the same preachers give the impression that the Cross was only effective to forgive their past sins. These ministers make it seem like the Cross wasn't enough to forgive them of all their sins, past, present and future. That the Cross was insufficient to secure their eternal salvation, once for all time.
Once religious minded ministers make new converts they trade the preaching of the Cross for something else that they see more effective in developing growth in Christ. They trade the Cross for the works and performance path. To them, the Cross is sufficient to bring about the new birth but isn't as effective as personal performance and their step programs in making one righteous and acceptable to God. The Cross seems like enough to get you born again but insufficient in making you holy once for all time.
This is why this scandalous Grace is so freeing and refreshing to the hearer. It removes the burdens to perform and the achievement syndrome trying to earn God's love and acceptance. This Grace gives hope to the hopeless and destitute. This Grace whispers to the addict and the one still caught in the mire of their sin that God still loves them and has so much better for them. This scandalous Grace restores, renews, and breaths new life into what appears dead to others.
Thank the Lord for His amazing, over the top Grace! I honestly can say I hope you join me in this scandal I am involved in. This scandalous Grace, that changes hearts and gives the undeserving mercy and new life and wholeness. This Grace has new life and destiny for you.