The Scandal of Grace

“Grace, what have You done?
Murdered for [him] on that cross
Accused in absence of wrong
[His] sin washed away in Your blood

Too much to make sense of it all
I know that Your love breaks [his] fall
The scandal of grace, You died in [his] place
So [his] soul will live”

scan·dal
/ˈskandl/ noun
an action or event regarded as morally or legally wrong and causing general public outrage.

When something is scandalous, it becomes the elephant in the room. People tend to want to stay away from it…..to have nothing to do with it. It frequently gets covered up by lies and attempts to hide the truth.

Praying for Jahar and death row inmates to come to faith in Christ has earned me my fair share of scoffing – even from some who claim to be Christian. As we sang “Scandal of Grace” by Hillsong United in church one morning, the reason hit me. The grace of Jesus Christ – the gospel – the very foundation of the Christian faith – is completely and utterly scandalous, and because of that, people avoid it…..they alter the truth in their minds.

All Christians understand the basic tenet that Jesus died for our sins. However, over time, many people have come to understand that as, “Jesus died for “small” sins….the ones that aren’t so bad.” People are comfortable with the fact that Jesus died so that they can be forgiven for the lie they told their mother……for cheating on a test…..for the lustful thoughts they have. It’s much more scandalous to think that God would come to earth in human form and take on the wrath that we all truly deserve……so that even murderers, rapists, and terrorists can have access to eternal life. How can I be in Heaven next to someone who raped or murdered a child? How is that fair? How are they deserving of Heaven and being in God’s presence? That doesn’t make sense. But people forget that grace isn’t fair…….grace doesn’t make sense. Grace is an incredible, mind-blowing gift. People forget that “None is righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10)….that without Jesus, we would all be condemned to hell…..whether we stole a candy bar from the gas station or blew up a building and killed hundreds of people. 1 John 2:2 says “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” There is no sin big enough or bad enough that the blood of Jesus can’t cover it.

So is it scandalous for me to pray for Jahar and for inmates on death row who have raped and murdered to become my brothers and sisters in Christ and to worship God alongside me in Heaven one day in His amazing presence? Yes. But the love of Jesus is pretty scandalous – and all I want is to become more and more like Him every day.

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5 Responses to The Scandal of Grace

  1. Bri says:

    I know you mentioned how even some proclaiming Christians don’t understand the extent of God’s grace, but I was reminded of 1 Corinthians 1:18:

    “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

    I have something to say to the person who would say “How can I be in Heaven next to someone who raped or murdered a child? How is that fair? How are they deserving of Heaven and being in God’s presence? That doesn’t make sense.” My response: “How could you be in heaven after how many times you broke God’s commandments and refused to give Him the worship He deserves? How is that fair? How are you deserving of heaven and being in God’s presence? That doesn’t make sense.” We’ve got to stop seeing murderers, rapists, terrorists, etc. as a special breed of sinners that are somehow more unworthy of heaven as we are. Last I looked, we’re ALL completely unworthy.

    If we want to sing about amazing grace, it’s time we learn what grace really means. It’s UNMERITED favor. So it’s absurd to ask how someone like Jahar could ever deserve heaven. He flat out doesn’t. But neither do you. Neither do I.

    Praise God for His scandalous grace.

    • brokenheart4whatbreakshis says:

      I love your response “How could you be in heaven after how many times you broke God’s commandments and refused to give Him the worship He deserves? How is that fair? How are you deserving of heaven and being in God’s presence? That doesn’t make sense.” I don’t know why I didn’t think of including that in my entry in the first place! Such a perfect response and so true.

      I am so thankful for how much God is teaching me about His amazing grace and mercy through all of this. The more I learn and experience, the more blown away I am. What an incredible God we have!

  2. Bri says:

    When I read those excerpts from Jeff’s book, I was wowed. If anyone who survived should feel hatred and unforgiveness, it’s him pretty much.

    I also just this past week saw this video from another victim who doesn’t hate him and feels empathy for him:

    I don’t think either of them are born-again Christians (since they don’t mention their faith, and you think a discussion about forgiving and not hating them would include at least a brief mention), but imagine the powerful impact a victim who’s a Christian and forgives him could have. I’m far more intrigued about the possibility of a victim reaching out to him and basically demonstrating Christ to him through their love and forgiveness than I am about a victim possibly helping to spare his life (though that would be nice too).

  3. brokenheart4whatbreakshis says:

    “I am sure many Christians were praying for the murderous Paul before his dramatic conversion and that many others were mocking their decision to pray and believe God for a redemptive miracle . So here we are again. From the way I see it, God has made us aware that He has chosen for His own someone of terrible reputation who seems to many to be the epitome of evil and worthlessness.” YES. Literally as we speak – Bri is in the midst of getting hate for believing this – but we can’t let that break our spirit or stop our prayers.

    For months now, Bri and I have been praying that the victims would not have to walk around with anger and hatred and a need for vengeance in their hearts – because that is such a heavy burden for anyone to have to carry around. We’ve been praying for them to have peace and love and forgiveness in their hearts. Yet again – another prayer we are seeing answered – which just gives me even more hope that God is working on answering the huge prayer that we are trusting in Him to answer.

    • Bri says:

      If we aren’t receiving hate for following in Jesus’ footsteps, we’re doing it wrong. So we should actually in an odd way embrace the hate. I refuse to stop doing what I’m doing, even when people send me things that border on actual threats. God has called me to this mission, and I won’t bow down for anyone.

      Speaking of the victims, on Tuesday I’m planning on focusing the blog and Twitter particularly on them without even probably mentioning Jahar (unless logistically it’s impossible to not make a passing reference to him in doing that).

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