There is a song on the radio called Scandal of Grace by Hillsong United that we have been singing in church lately. The chorus goes like this:
Before I say anything, let’s look up the definition of scandal. And I am going to use a real dictionary instead of the one on my laptop. I know, I am so old fashioned.
Scandal: noun 1. Any revealed wrongdoing that causes widespread indignation and disgust. 2. A disgraceful or discreditable action.
Wait a minute. Didn’t that definition just say that scandal means something disgraceful? How can we say that grace is scandalous when the word scandal means the opposite of grace?
Let’s look up the word grace.
Grace: noun 1. Elegance or beauty of form, manner or motion. 2. A pleasing or attractive quality. 6. The freely given, unmerited favor and love of God.
Now I want you to notice that grace is a noun. A noun is a person, place, thing, or an idea. We know that grace is not a person. A person can be named Grace, but it doesn’t mean that they are grace. Grace is obviously not a place. Grace can be a physical thing, such as a graceful ballet dancer, but that does not really apply in this circumstance. Therefore it must be an idea. A pleasing or attractive quality. In this definition grace is a quality or an attribute. We know that grace is an attribute of God. It is by the grace of God that we are saved. Now grace in essence is the name of an idea, and can only be the definition that is given to it. Grace cannot be scandalous because by definition we know it is not possible. And grace cannot choose to be scandalous because it itself is only an idea. Now if grace is an attribute of God, and we call that grace scandalous, who are we actually blaming the scandal on?
But I haven’t finished my point yet. I am not trying to say that Hillsong United is a horrible band because they sang that song, and I am not trying to say that you are a horrible person if you like that song. I just think that we need to be careful how we worship God and represent our faith. Sometimes the new phrase is catchy and puts something in a new point of view, like the oxymoron Scandal of Grace. Think of it like ice in a soda. When you add ice, the drink cools off and tastes better. But what happens when the ice melts in the drink? Do we want to water down the truth like that?
The truth is that there was a scandal. But it was not grace that was responsible for that scandal. The song says: Grace, what have you done? But the Bible says: Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” (Genesis 3:13)
We are responsible for the scandal, and it was because we were scandalous that God gave his grace to us. Yes, it was certainly unfair that Jesus died, but it was the Father’s will that it should be done.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” ~ Romans 5:8
So what do you say? Scandalous Grace, or Amazing Grace?
Please let me know what you think. I would be happy to read your thoughts and opinions on this subject. 😉