The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"Accepted Or Alienated"
Part 2 - Acceptance and Rejection
As referenced in yesterday's message, born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are "accepted in the Beloved" (Ephesians 1:6). God imputes the righteousness of Christ to us as a free gift when we believe. "Of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us… righteousness" (I Corinthians 1:30).
Interestingly, however, the Apostle Paul writes of the believer's acceptance quite differently in another passage.
"Wherefore we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of Him" (II Corinthians 5:9).
On the surface, this would appear to contradict the affirmation of God's acceptance as a freely given gift of grace. If we "labor to be accepted of Him," how does this not add conditions to our relationship with God, and reception by Him? The answer lies in the subject and context of Paul's reference to labor and acceptance:
"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 5:10).
Herein, Paul speaks to the matter of the believer's works rather than his person and relationship with God. The latter begins and forever continues as the freest gift ever given, purchased by the highest cost ever remitted. The former concerns the life we live subsequent to salvation - "the things done in his body." God cannot and does not accept contrary works of the believer that contradict His truth and righteousness (Hebrews 12:28). He does not give participation trophies, as it were, for our merely showing up. Thoughts, attitudes, words, and actions that originate in our flesh must be summarily rejected by our loving Heavenly Father. This does not affect our acceptance with Him regarding who we are to Him in Christ. Nothing can change that because nothing can change the perfect and complete work of salvation accomplished for us through our Savior's Person and work - "after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise" (Ephesians 1:13). However, neither can anything change our Father's standard of righteousness whereby He must reject that in us which does not accord with the character and nature of Christ.
My mother always comes to mind when considering this subject. "Glen," she said to me. I always love you. But I do not always like you!" I knew exactly what she meant. I was her beloved son, which nothing could change. However, she could not and did not accept attitudes, words, and deeds she saw in me that conflicted with the standards she set. God bless her for it! This reflects the truth we consider. Our Heavenly Father's love and acceptance of our person cannot and will not change, as based on His faithful nature and His Son's redeeming work on our behalf. However, that same nature and work means He will not and cannot accept anything that contradicts His inviolable purpose of conforming us to the spiritual and moral image of the Lord Jesus (Romans 8:28-29).
We would not want it any other way. How we need the assurance of God's acceptance and favor of our person. How we also need His acceptance and rejection of our doings. We can rest our hearts safely in both aspects of His loving devotion to us, being confident that both flow from the same heart and administration of our Lord's loving favor, presence, and working in our lives.
"Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire."
(I Corinthians 3:12-15)
Weekly Memory Verse
Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort, who comforteth us in all our tribulation.
(II Corinthians 1:3-4).