Grace scandal

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grace scandal

Grace scandal – Embrace it!

Christians have never understood the grace scandal. It just seems too incredible to them.  The world knows so little of the principle of the grace scandal and the gifts of God.  We humans instinctively learn to “wheel and deal” and bargain.  All day long our minds are occupied with how much work we do and how much we receive for our work.  We believe that we have to somehow deserve what we get.  Even a lazy freeloader thinks he deserves something just because he is a “have not”.  We have witnessed the emergence and growth of the “give me” generation of Americans that somehow think that their parents or the Government, or the credit institutions have the obligation to take care of their every need.  Their “work” is being needy, and suffering deprivation of their heart’s desires.  Either way, whether rugged individualists like we used to be or, social victims as many have become, we all have a notion of what is due us.  For years and years we have invested our lives, time and energy and we are looking for a return on our investment.

We see our lives are a series of deals.  Since we have learned to live this way, we also think that God’s grace and eternal life are obtained by the same principles.  When we hear, understand and receive the Gospel, we come to see the light and in that moment we perceive the grace scandal, that grace is free and not a question of bargaining.  When this happens there are no thoughts of celebrating grace by continuing in sin since every true believer has received the Spirit of God and God’s spirit within us hates all sin.  It is possible, and demonstratively happens quite frequently, that the believer loses his sensitivity and allows sin to remain in his life and goes through the experience that the apostle Paul described in Romans chapter 7.  That is why the Spirit of God inspired him to continue with what was written in Chapter 8 of Romans.  Many people still haven’t been freed from the grace scandal, the erroneous concept that the grace of God is a loan to us.  They think that if they don’t behave in just the right way, that God will ask for His gift of grace back.

Some people have concerns about preaching the grace scandal, and without a doubt there has been a lot of misunderstanding about the place of grace in our Christian walk.  Some argue that if a person believes that salvation is wholly by grace completely apart from works claiming that if one is “once saved, always saved”, he will certainly sin more freely. This can be considered the most common and strongest argument against the teaching of salvation exclusively by grace or what is often called “eternal security”.  If a person knows that he is eternally saved won’t he easily become lazy and start to commit all types of sin? Isn’t such a teaching quite dangerous to one’s holiness?

The answer is “no” if we are talking about a born again believer, a true son of God. God disciplines and punishes every son He receives.  Hebrews 12:5-7  states:

And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.”  If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?

Eternal security doesn’t mean that God doesn’t discipline His disobedient children.  Remember the parable of the prodigal son?  He told his father “I am outta here”  Except this father, was way, way more generous than I ever was.  He gave his kid his inheritance; the ungrateful brat didn’t even have the decency to wait for his father to die.  That would be like my son telling me that he didn’t like the way I ran things at the house and suggested that I rent him a penthouse, buy some “hot” wheels for him to drive around with and give him a nice big savings account to pay for his new lifestyle.  Fat chance!  But, you see, that is grace. You may even feel it is unwise and imprudent, but that is the main message of the parable.

We can insist on our own way with God and even take that which He has blessed us with for the purpose of doing His will and use it for our own purposes.  If that happens He may say that we were once alive and now we are dead (eating pig food) but we would still be His sons.  In the parable the prodigal returned planning to serve his father as a slave rather than as a son.  But the father treated the undeserving son with nothing but the grace scandal.  Yes my friend, in the eyes of the older brother, and quite possibly in your eyes, this father was rewarding the rebelliousness and ungratefulness of his son. He threw a party and declared that “this my son was dead, and now he is alive!” Do you think for a minute that the next day the son was back to his old tricks because he discovered that his father was a sucker for forgetting the past and not only forgiving him but piling on His richest blessings to such an undeserving ingrate of a son?

And even if the son didn’t repent, and the next day he demanded another fortune from his father just as before what might his father’s reaction be?  Just imagine the ensuing scene: “Listen old man, that was a nice party and all, but I just can’t take it anymore, I need my freedom, I want to go back to my old friends.  I’m outta here again.  How much you got left to give me?” Would his father throw his check book on the ground and rant, “that is it!”? “I have had it.  Get out of here! You go to hell you ungrateful bastard!  After all I have done for you, you repay my love with this?” That might be my reaction or your reaction, and perhaps it wouldn’t even be a wrong or improper reaction, but it wouldn’t be grace because grace works independently of reciprocity.

Oh this grace scandal is so beyond our understanding! I can’t reject the teaching of eternal security just because I am not so inclined to show the same degree of grace that God does. Any person that could rejoice in the grace scandal by sinning just because he knows that he can get away with it only shows that he was never a son of God in the first place. We as the sons of God, do sin! We do fail! If we deny our sin, God calls us liars. While sin in our born again life will adversely affect our fellowship with the Father, because of His graciousness, it never affects our status as His begotten sons.

I now have absolutely no fear of losing my salvation; formerly however that was definitely an issue for me.  At the same time, I can honestly say that in spite of ridding myself of the fear of losing my salvation I have more desire than ever before to be holy and free of all forms of sin. The grace in the life of a child of God isn’t experienced as a function of downplaying or excusing sin but as a function of enhancing the experience of our holiness and the power of God for fruitful ministry. Paul stated that the grace of God worked through him more that all the others. He certainly wasn’t saying that he got away with more sin that the rest of the apostles.  Those who think differently just “don’t get it”. It isn’t easy to “get” or understand the grace scandal, it’s divine for God’s sake!

4 Responses to “Grace scandal”

  1. Susan Moore says:

    Awesome pic!

  2. ToddR says:

    People say pray the sinners prayer and you will be saved. Wouldn’t praying the sinners prayer be salvation by works? Or praying any prayer. In the old testament they had city’s of refuge people ran to if they killed someone by accident. If they made it to the city of refuge they were safe. I think of salvation as running to God. But wouldn’t running to God be a salvation by works? It’s confusing to me. I guess a person is saved by doing nothing. Can’t accept it or pray for it.

  3. Liak says:

    SEE Hebrews :10:26, through and to verse 31, note Satan himself believes and is He Saved ?, No he is not is he!!!! and he is an angel, a fallen one, and if he can fall from grace so can man! believing is Not enough we must obey the Commands of the most high. 1st Peter : 1:14 it say as obedient children that grace is to be imparted to us as we obey!!! what is that we have to obey IRS tax codes ,,,, No the Word of the Most High the Commandments the Torah. t

    • vinebrancher says:

      Hebrews 10:26 “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.” If you are interpreting this verse without considering it’s context do you mean to imply that if a Christian sins willfully that he will go to hell?

      Hebrews 10:31 “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” This verse is preceded by the words: “The Lord will judge His people”. While it is a serious thing for a Christian to live in disobedience and allow sin in his life it is not a question of whether our eternal salvation hangs by a thin thread of the instability of our sinless perfection.

      As far as Satan believing in God, yes he believes and even trembles (something Christians should do also) But salvation is not offered to Satan or to his demons. If besides believing they did good works are you saying that they could also be saved?

      If salvation is dependent on believing and obeying God’s commands then it can’t be by grace and depends on human performance. If that is what you believe I can respect that but then you must admit that salvation is performance based and not by grace.

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