Watering the Tulips
August 13, 2014
“…to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved” – Ephesians 1:6
The phrases “accept Christ” and “accept God” have almost become trademark phrases of modern Christianity. Though, in light of the verse before us, one must question whether those phrases are actually proper. Is it we who accept God through Christ? Or, is it God Who accepts us on the basis of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross? These are opposite perspectives and honestly need to be considered in light of the common usage of these terms and our text verse.
First of all, we must understand that God is in charge. He is the Sovereign Ruler of His creation. He is the Judge. Man is accountable to Him – not vice versa (Romans 3:19-20). Mankind is fallen. We, as a whole, are a race of rebels. The whole Adamic race is naturally at enmity with God (Romans 8:7). We are, by nature, at odds with the Judge of this world. We are the ones in danger of eternal condemnation. Those simple, foundational truths should be enough to show that we need God to accept us…or else! A human “accepting God through Christ” or not will have no affect on God’s eternal abode. He is not in need. However, if God rejects us, we will be eternally condemned! Again, we need God to accept us!!
From Cain’s discussion with God (Genesis 4:7) throughout both Testaments (1 Peter 2:5), there is a common thought. Continually, man’s need of being accepted by God through a substitutionary sacrifice is the theme of the Bible. Over and over again we see the truth that man is in need of God to accept him. Over and over again we see that the alternative results in eternal punishment. Not even once do we see any idea that God needs man to accept Him. Man is told to repent and believe the Gospel (Acts 19:4). But never once is it suggested that man should “accept Christ” or “accept God”. In reality, it’s the opposite of what is needed. We, as filthy sinners, are in need of the Holy and Righteous God accepting us!
So then, how are we accepted by God? I mean, He has given us a Law that every one of us has broken without exception. We’re guilty. It matters not the depth of sin any of us are in. If you have broken one point in the Law, you are guilty of breaking the whole Law (James 2:10). Simply, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). If God is a Holy and Righteous Judge (and He is), we are all then condemned. This is not debatable really. A righteous Judge must condemn the guilty. If He doesn’t, He ceases to be righteous! How then are we accepted? Simple – Jesus willingly paid for our sins and took the death we deserved. He paid the penalty. Consequently, we are now accepted by God.
Perhaps this all seems like semantics to some…and maybe it is. But we never need to confuse the idea that we are accepted by God through the meritorious work of Jesus on the cross. Any confusion of what happened at Calvary is a bad thing.
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