July 24, 2012 - Accepted in Christ
By Ron Johnson
Rejection is painful, and we all long for acceptance. Due to our human frailties, we fail to measure up to the expectations placed upon us. This leaves us plagued with feelings of doubt and insecurity.
We long for the security of unconditional love and acceptance. We want to be appreciated for who we are without having to constantly prove our worth.
This is also true in the religious realm. Many people are oppressed under the weight of religious bondage as they try to measure up to some standard of perfection placed upon them. Consequently, many people live in a state of hopelessness, doubting they will ever be good enough to achieve salvation. Of course, the truth is, no one is ever good enough; no one can earn salvation.
Listen and hear the good news of Jesus Christ!
The apostle Paul wrote, “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:6, KJV).
This verse of Scripture assures us that all who have been saved by God’s grace are “accepted” by God. However, this is not a marginal, just-getting-by acceptability. The Greek word translated “accepted” occurs only one other time in the New Testament, and there it appears in the words of the angel Gabriel to Mary. “Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women” (Luke 1:28). As a Christian I’m not merely accepted; I am highly favored by God!
I did not receive this favor because of my own personal merit. Rather, it’s because of God’s grace and my acceptance of Jesus Christ as my Savior. It’s my position in Christ that brings God’s high favor and acceptance.
It is this position in Christ that is the foundation of the Christian experience. The moment we receive Christ as Savior we immediately become a child of God, a joint heir with Christ. At the initial moment of salvation we are granted the title deed to an incorruptible, undefiled and unfading inheritance in heaven. In the instant that we accept Jesus as Savior, we are justified from sin, given peace with God, a standing in His grace, and a sure hope of the heavenly glory to come. Upon accepting Jesus, we receive the gift of eternal life and are accepted in Christ.
Each one of these amazing things is true of every Christian. Not one item in this glorious inventory is gained by diligence in Christian discipline and service. They are gifts we receive, not rewards we earn. We receive these gifts of God upon our acceptance of Christ, and they belong equally to all believers.
Of course, due to our human condition, we must confess we have not “already attained, either were already perfect” (Philippians 3:12). The fact is the Christian grows in grace but not into it. The believer’s acceptance and highly favored position in Christ isn’t something we earn; it is a gift from God. We do not work for God in order to be saved. Rather, it is because of our salvation in Christ that we work.
Remember Gabriel’s message to the Virgin Mary: “Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee.” Mary was accepted, or highly favored, because the Lord was with her. We too are highly favored or accepted because the Lord is with us.
Through our acceptance of Christ, we are accepted by God.
— Ron Johnson is a freelance writer. He is retired from the Assemblies of God National Offices and Resource Center.