The Great Scandal of Grace

Through various forms the topic of grace has been pressed upon me a lot lately. From these pressings I am coming to the understanding that grace (more specifically the grace of God) is flat out scandalous. We live in a world where you earn what you get, you are rewarded when you are good, you’re punished when you’re bad. God isn’t from here though, He doesn’t play by our rules. I can find a lot of people who will give out second chances, but God is giving out COUNTLESS second chances.

There have been people my whole life communicating directly or indirectly to me that I have to do better, to be a better Christian, and that voice very often has been mine. God has news for me though, I will never succeed at trying to be better. Why? Because I am a “wretched black hearted sinner” (Joby Martin). I will never perfectly meet the requirements of the law that is presented to us in the Bible. The problem is that the law still has to be satisfied, Jesus didn’t come to say “Hey, I’m here now, I’ll die for you, forget about the law”  No no no, He says

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” -Matthew 5:17

Jesus came to fulfill (such a strangely spelled word) the law FOR US, BECAUSE WE CAN’T DO IT. He did this so we can be free. He came to say “HEY, LOOK AT THE LAW, YOU CAN’T ACHIEVE THAT, I’LL DO IT FOR YOU”

“Grace is by it’s nature radical. Totally counter intuitive, turns everything upside-down and inside-out, everything. Makes no sense. It defies logic. Messes up your hair. Scary.”  -Tullian Tchividjian

A song I’ve been listening to a lot lately is Train Station by The Gray Havens, I can’t think of a better way to explain it than just showing you the lyrics.

There’s a train station inside of this train,

Where the people go to try and escape,

And with anxious eyes, we stand in line,
Til’ the cold ground shakes,

To tell us it’s time for the trains,
Yes it’s time for the trains to stop,

Some were steel and some were gold,
And each conductor raved,
They shouted buy your tickets,
Save your souls,
But one conductor sang,

He shouted You, come follow me,
I’ll buy your tickets and I’ll pay your fees,
Cuz I know what you cost,
Believe me without this train you will be lost,

So the rich men laughed and they walked away,
But the poor ones felt that they should stay,
So they told all of their friends,
They told even strangers, til there ten thousands,
Of people said come let us see,
This scandalous train that claims to be free,
Just let him speak,

So he drew a picture on the ground,
The stone moved just like sand,
He said throw your tickets on the floor,
I’ll give you mine instead,

And he shouted You, come follow me,
I’ll buy your tickets and I’ll pay your fees,
Cuz I know what you cost,
Believe me without this train you will be lost, 

The soldiers rushed in like a flood,
Wild eyed looking for blood,
They said show us the one who lies, deceives,
And claims his trains of grace are free,

Cuz we’ll take his body to the tracks,
And nail him there so he never comes back,
Yeah, we’ll take his body to the tracks,
And nail him there so he never comes back,

And then the ground began to shake,
We felt the stone beneath us break,
And he came back, he came back anyway,

And there was love, And there was love

And he shouted You, come follow me,

I’ll buy your tickets and I’ll pay your fees,
Cuz I know what you cost,
Believe me without this train you will be lost

And so grace is scandalous, because it involves a Savior whispering to a world bound in sin and self-righteousness that their best efforts aren’t worth anything. Tullian Tchividjian says that we have ZERO pure motives, because our sin runs so DEEP. Everything we need is found in Jesus. Everything! Value, security, purpose, hope, love, salvation. They are yours because of what Jesus has done for you. NOT what you have done for yourself. The scandal is that grace completely flips everything upside down, the beauty is that while I am going to fail (because oh I will fail) I am free. We will all fail, it comes natural, but it’s not about us. God just wants us to get on the train. Our whole life, our whole self.

-Mark

Download The Gray Havens album for free on their website here

Watch Tullian’s sermon which inspired much of this post here

Thanks to my mom and my sister Laura for talking to me about grace a lot.

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3 Comments

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  1. This post is downright scandalous! (and awesome) 😀

  2. Reblogged this on O2B heavenly-minded and commented:
    Just scandalous!

  3. Wow. Amen. Thank you for sharing! I particularly like the lyrics…what a strong image of grace. And thank you for checking out my blog!

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