Friday, March 18, 2011

The Grace Scandal: Who is Really Guilty?

What would you say if you were following a trial of a well-known repeat felon who pleaded "Guilty" to several crimes and the prosecution had a mountain of evidence to prove his guilt; then the judge hands down his verdict of "Not Guilty?"

What would you say?
"That is unjust!"
"The judge must have been paid off!"
"This is outrageous!"

After all the shock is over with and the judge gets the attention of the whispering onlookers in the courtroom he looks at the victim and says, "Guilty."

What would you say?
"Are you kidding me?"
"That is wrong! How can you punish the victim?"
"This is scandalous!"

This of course wouldn't fly in our judicial system but in God's judicial system it happens every time a person accepts God's grace. The criminal goes free because of God's love for them and because of Jesus' willingness to take on the criminal's punishment.


You may ask, "Can God really forgive..."

The father that lets his drug dealer friend rape his teenage daughter for another fix?

What about the mother who was too tired to fight anymore with her two toddlers so she drowned them?

What about the guy who was molested as a child who now stalks and then molests other children?

What about the terrorist who strapped a bomb to himself and walked into a school and fulfilled his deadly mission by taking the lives of all the innocent children?

What about the abortion doctor?

The homosexual?


What about me? Is the question we ask. Can God forgive me? What about the sin I battle with every day? Did I mess up too much? Did I out sin the love of God?

Before I can understand grace's greatness I need to understand whom I've offended and the cost of the grace He's giving.

We understand sin in the context of a human problem; the "right and wrong" and the "good and bad" defines those things. Because we discriminate and segregate sin into compartments like "the little white lie" or "it's not hurting anyone."

Psalm 51:4
Against You, You only, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You are proved right when You speak and justified when You judge.

Sin is a human problem in the sense that we humans are born sinful. But the Person that is offended each and every time we sin we don't consider. Some sin has earthly ramifications. All sin has heavenly consequences.

When we sin regularly we tell God that we enjoy earthly pleasures more than Your eternal presence. Yet each time we sin God offers us grace.

God's reply is, "I don't like what you are doing, in fact I hate it, because you put yourself above Me. I love you even though you do this and I want to make it right."

God wants to make it right? But He's the one who has been offended and He's also the one who loves you beyond your sin, beyond the darkness of your past, beyond the sinfulness of your present and beyond the struggles of the future.

Romans 5:8
But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

The cost was the life of Jesus.

While you and I were functioning in our dysfunction and could care less about the love of God; He loved us regardless. That word "still" gets me. It means that I couldn't get any farther away from God than that. In fact I enjoyed what I was doing; yet He loved me and yet Jesus died in my place.

This amazing love that Jesus has for us is so tremendous. What person could have loved you so much that they decided to take on and endure the full wrath of God so you wouldn't have to? What person went through such tumultuous torture so that one day He could wipe all your tears away?

We have all offended God. Jesus took all of our punishment. All I have to do to receive this grace is admit that I have sinned.

That amazing grace is scandalous!

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