Grace can almost be considered scandalous. In fact, Hillsong United has a new song out with the same title as this devotional. The Random House Dictionary defines scandal as â€œa disgraceful or discreditable action, circumstance, etc.; an offense caused by a fault or misdeed; damage to reputation; public disgrace; defamatory talk; malicious gossip; a person whose conduct brings disgrace or offense.â€
I want to concentrate on that last definition: â€œa person whose conduct brings disgrace or offense.â€ It is said that our Lord Jesus Christ offended many a religious person in His time. He brought disgrace upon them for their burdensome system of works of righteousness when all the while it was grace that would save them. Even in the Old Testament system of sacrifices, one would have to put his or her faith in the grace and mercy of God.
Grace is unmerited favor that is available to the sinner for salvation and the redeemed for victorious living. That is scandalous to the unbelieving because in this life you canâ€™t get nothing for free (I know thatâ€™s a double negative). The Pharisees not only lived by the Law of Moses, but they also added over 500 new laws that went far beyond the point of the ridiculous. Remember this about Jesus Christ:
â€œFor the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.â€ (John 1:17)
There was a time when scandals were whispered about, but today they are celebrated in society. Today too many Christians whisper about the grace of Jesus Christ as though it were a true scandal, one that we cannot defend. We have allowed the polytheism of the world to affect the preaching of the Word. This should not be so!
We can defeat the scandal of a works salvation through Godâ€™s Word and manâ€™s reasoning. Clearly the Apostle Paul teaches:
â€œFor by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.â€ (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Think logically of what Paul has said here. If salvation by works is the way to heaven, then Christians and â€œgoodâ€ nonbelievers are in because Christians do good works because we are saved (see Eph. 2:10). But if salvation by grace is the way to heaven, then nonbelievers will not go to heaven and Christians will. So who is gambling with their eternity?
The Apostle Paul also wrote this indisputable truth to the Roman church:
â€œAnd if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.â€ (Romans 11:6)
In other words, you cannot have it both ways. Salvation by works and salvation by grace are two opposite belief systems. Two opposites can both be wrong, or one can be right and the other wrong. However, two opposites cannot be true.
I wrote earlier that grace for the redeemed is available to us who are born again for victorious living. It is the rock upon which I do and will have to stand in the coming storms that life is going to bring. Paul taught the young pastor Titus this very truth:
â€œFor the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.â€ (Titus 2:11-15)
Beloved, we need not be ashamed of the scandal of grace for it is only in the eyes of the beholder that the offense is found. It is the offended one who desperately needs to hear of the greatness of Godâ€™s grace and the miracle of His mercy through Christ Jesus. It is all in which we place our hope for eternity:
â€œBut when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.â€ (Titus 3:4-7)
I will not be ashamed of my Savior. I will not whisper about the grace of my great God. I will not succumb to the pressures of this world nor will I embrace the stinking thinking that has corrupted far too many who call themselves Christians. I am a man of God, blood-bought, rescued by mercyâ€™s net, and drenched in the outpouring of His abounding grace.
No sir, I will not be silent. I shall shout for joy that we can know the Way, the Truth, and the Life which is found in Christ Jesus.
Are you ready to shout it out with me?
Do you even have anything to shout about?
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Copyright Â© 2013 David Jeffers