Tuesday, November 15, 2016

"God's Acceptance"

"God's Acceptance"

    God's acceptance of His trusting children in Christ involves two aspects of truth.

    "He hath made us accepted in the Beloved" (Ephesians 1:6).
    "We labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of Him.  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad" (II Corinthians 5:9-10).

    God freely accepts the person of all who trust in the Lord Jesus because our salvation spiritually unites us with the Lord Jesus.  Nothing changes or can change this grace-given favor and relationship with God through Christ.  Conversely, our Heavenly Father may or may not accept our doings as believers, based upon whether they are the fruit of the Holy Spirit's working in our hearts.  Thus, we can rest in His love regarding who we are as sons and daughters in Christ.  Regarding our works, however, we realize that God in His holiness can only accept the doings that accord with His character, nature, and way.  We are "justified… by Him" regarding our person and saving relationship with our Lord.  Conversely, our works are acceptable only if they flow from the spiritual and moral fount of the Holy Spirit's working in our hearts (Acts 13:39).

    The truth we consider provides one of the most foundational elements of New Testament teaching.  The Apostle Paul clearly taught both aspects of this doctrine of God's acceptance in Christ.  Born again believers can be certain of our Christ-secured acceptance with God.  We should be supremely confident of such grace if we have believed.  Our Father would have us rest in the joyous peace of our inviolable bond with Him.  However, regarding "the things done in our body", we recognize that presently and at the Judgment Seat to come, God puts our works to the test.  This creates in us the proper determination to join Paul in his commitment - "I also labor, striving according to His working, which worketh in me mightily" (Colossians 1:29). 

   A final thought: this consideration always reminds me of something my mother said to me.  "Glen, I always love you.  But I don't always like you!" By this, she actually meant that nothing could ever change the fact that I was her beloved son.  However, my doings, including attitudes as well as actions, did not always please her.  She loved me, but didn't always like how I acted.  I think this illustrates how our Heavenly Father views us.  United to His Son, He loves us boundlessly, endlessly, and with unfettered acceptance.  How we think, speak, act, and relate, however, may or may not meet the test of His favor.  We wouldn't want it any other way.  Our Father is faithful to His own nature, character, and way by accepting us "in the Beloved", and also by putting our works to the test of whether they proceed from the Spirit or the flesh.  In her own way, my mother taught me this.  Even more, the Word of God plainly reveals both aspects of God's acceptance, as administered through our Savior and the Holy Spirit.

"Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light.  For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth, proving what is acceptable unto the Lord."
(Ephesians 5:8-10)

Weekly Memory Verse
   Little children, keep yourselves from idols.  Amen.
(I John 5:21)

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