“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”
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.