Scandal Of Grace

In Christendom we sing many songs about the incredible gifts we have from God. We sing about His love, His mercy, His grace. In fact, we just celebrated Easter, singing songs that included these themes. Then sometimes, there is a song that comes along that shines a different light on the salvation message, bringing to life again the message many of us have heard for a long time.

The song “Scandal of Grace” does just this. The songwriter puts two words together that seem to contradict each other, grace and murder.
“Grace, what have you done? Murdered for me on that cross. Accused in absence of wrong. My sin washed away in Your blood.”

Murder is always about taking; Grace is always about giving; You offer a sacrifice; You take in murder. Should these two words, these two ideas go together? Yet, this is exactly the plan God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit created to obtain our salvation. “People of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus the Nazarene by doing powerful miracles, wonders, and signs through him, as you well know. But God knew what would happen, and his prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to a cross and killed him (Acts 2:22-23, NLT).

The gospel message really doesn’t make sense. In 1 Corinthians 1:23, Paul writes, “but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness” (NASB). The Greek word translated stumbling block is the root word for scandalous – “skandolon”.

It’s no surprise, knowing the nature of God, that often the most amazing gift that He gives us is also the hardest for people to get their head around. Our sinful nature causes us to try and do everything in our strength, convinced that we don’t need anything to do with our Creator. Even as Christ-followers, there’s this daily battle where we try to take control back from God and do everything in our strength, wondering why we keep falling flat on our face. This song reminds us that it’s all because of Jesus. It’s all because of His grace that we can do anything. It’s all because of His grace that we have any right to stand in His presence whatsoever. The whole message of Jesus is scandalous even to the point where He ended up on the cross for us. Today, we can stand here, not because of the good things we have done but because we accept the good thing that the Triune God does for us. This is the power behind what we believe! “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18, NIV).

Today, we celebrate communion. We do this in remembrance of Jesus. As we hold and partake in the communion elements (and every time in the future), let’s never forget or gloss over the severity of what Jesus experienced on the Friday we call “Good Friday.” Our salvation was obtained at a great price (Isaiah 53).

Pastor Tom

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