The Scandalous Gospel of the Grace of God is the first work by Robert Andrews that I have read. I must admit that I was somewhat challenged and was tempted from time to time to put it aside. What was so challenging, you might ask? It was not the language. The words and terminology used by Andrews are everyday language that you and I would use in conversation. The challenge came in the ideas and thoughts that were introduced.
As the title of this book states, it focuses on what could be considered to be scandalous. Would most of us consider the grace of God to truly be scandalous? No, we would not. However, Andrews challenges us to think outside the box of standard church thinking and truly examine the nature of the grace offered by God to sinful man.
Scripture states that we are saved by faith and not by works. We are quick to show those that we are witnessing to that we cannot work our way to heaven. No matter how good or accomplished we are, there is just no way of being good enough to enter the presence of the Lord in heaven based on our good works alone. There is no ladder to climb to get to heaven. Andrews challenges us to hold onto that "no ladder is great enough" mentality.
We must be saved by grace through faith. However, after being saved by grace, many Christians believe that they must work diligently to become more like Christ in order to stay in good standing with him. Isn't it true that if we are really saved we will work to be more like Him? Greater and greater fruits of the spirit must be seen. Andrews states in his book that we have just now moved the ladder to the other side of our salvation experience.
The non-Christian will attempt to use the ladder in a prideful way to show how good he is and to attempt to justify his acceptance by God. According to Andrews, many modern-day Christians will state that no ladder can get you to heaven, but they are all too ready to use that same ladder to pridefully show what good Christians they are--in the eyes of men as well as in the eyes of God--after they are saved.
The true message of The Scandalous Gospel of the Grace of
God is that God sees you as completely righteous at the time of your salvation--as righteous as Jesus Christ Himself. There is nothing that we can do as mortal individuals to make ourselves more righteous. Just how scandalous would it be for us to think that we could improve upon our righteousness by doing any of the deeds that were never good enough to save us in the first place?
I must admit that it felt scandalous to me to even begin to let myself believe that I should see myself as being as righteous as Jesus Christ. I was appalled and put down this book, not sure that I could continue reading something that seemed like blasphemy. How could I be as fully righteous as Christ? Then it hit me. I was repulsed because God, in His goodness, has allowed me, because I possess His righteousness, to be repulsed by the presence of sin in my own life. This repulsion is an accurate response to my mortal choices and selfishness. Praise God that the Scandalous Gospel of the Grace of God clothes me in His righteousness so that God the Father sees only Jesus' righteousness when He looks down on me. As Paul questioned, do I then have permission to go on sinning? Absolutely not. Not because I have greater righteousness to achieve. Rather, out of worship and love, I yearn to be like Him that the Father sees in me.