Saturday, December 1, 2012

Outrageous Grace

As a Christian who has grown up in the church I have often sung about God's "Amazing Grace" through the words of the well known hymn written by former slave trader John Newton, and more recently through Chris Tomlin's revised version of this classic song.  Alongside the truth that God's grace is indeed amazing, is the less poetic and palatable truth that God's grace is also outrageous.  This idea was, in fact, also captured in a lesser known song written by Godfrey Birtill, titled "Outrageous Grace."

I was recently reminded just how outrageous God's grace is while reading Andy Stanley's book 'The Grace of God' when he suggested that "grace is inviting to the unrighteous and threatening to the self-righteous."  The self-righteous tend to approach grace as a right because of their own righteousness, usually expressed through faithful religious observance.  The unrighteous, however, don't expect grace as they feel unworthy due to their own sinfulness.  What makes grace so outrageous is that the exact opposite is true!  No amount of religious correctness can earn God's grace and no amount of human brokenness can escape God's grace.  Grace is counter-cultural to the values of this world - secular and religious - because it cannot be earned, nor is it deserved; it is not exclusive, but inclusive; it's not about fairness, but all about forgiveness; it has nothing to do with being good, but everything to do with the goodness of God.

It is because God's grace is so outrageous that we can sing about it being so amazing! 

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