Outrageous, Shocking, Scandalous Grace … the only kind there is

Grace is the key to everything.

And I am not referring to the week-kneed, limp, powerless, feeble grace that you find in most Christian theology today, but the shocking, outrageous, scandalous, indiscriminate, senseless, irrational, unfair, irreligious, ridiculous, absurd, offensive, infinite grace which Jesus exhibited during His life.

The only people who really object to this kind of grace are the religious people who think that their behavior merits them some sort of special privilege or position with God and are offended that the so-called “sinners” are put on equal footing with them before God.

But that is exactly what God’s grace does.

By grace, God loves all, forgives all, and accepts all, with no conditions, no strings attached, no fine print, no qualifications, no limits, and no ongoing requirements.

The grace of God is so outlandish and foreign to every human way of thinking and living, I believe that it is absolutely impossible for any human being to place too much emphasis on grace.

But what is grace?

Grace is often defined as God’s unmerited favor, or, in everyday terminology, God giving us something good that we do not deserve.

Grace is different from mercy, which could be defined as God not giving us something bad that we do deserve.

I do not think that there is too much disagreement in many Christian circles on the definition of grace, and so I do not want to spend too much time trying to defend a specific definition of grace.

What we do see, however, is that certain groups try to limit, restrict, or modify grace so that it is not as shocking or scandalous as it first appears. They often do this by adding works on the back end of grace, so that if you don’t have the works, then this proves that you lost the grace or never had grace in the first place.

But anything or anyone that limits grace by making humans have to earn it, keep it, or prove that they have it through a life of ongoing good works, or anything that makes God have to purchase grace for us is putting a restriction on grace, which makes it no grace at all.

Grace, by definition, is unmerited.

There is nothing that can be done (or not done) to earn or merit or deserve grace. Humans cannot earn or buy grace, and neither can God.

Grace is not transactional, either by humans or by God. It is always freely given and freely extended with no purchase price required.

It is this fundamental flaw in modern theology’s understanding of grace that has caused so much trouble in many other areas of theology as well.

But once we see that God gives grace for no other reason than because God is gracious, it is only then that we begin to understand the true nature of grace.

So don’t limit God’s grace in any way, shape, or form. Begin with radical, shocking, scandalous, outrageous grace, and let the rest of your theology flow from there.

[Note: A different version of this post originally appeared here: Outrageous Scandalous Grace … The only Kind There is]

Jeremy Myers is a popular author, podcaster, and Bible teacher. He also runs an online discipleship group where you can discover more about God's love and grace. Contact Jeremy and join his discipleship group by visiting RedeemingGod.com. Jeremy lives in Oregon with his wife and three daughters.

One Comment

  • Bob Kenagy

    If God could take a man like Abraham, change his name and call him a friend; and if Jesus could say of abiding disciples that they are His friends IF they do what He commands them, then are rewards really of grace the way you define it? Or could grace be differently defined in some contexts like when Mary, or Noah for that matter, found favor from the Lord?

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