Does God accept us as we are?

 

Religious clichés are common. 

  • “God helps those who help themselves.”
  • “Cleanliness is next to godliness.”
  • “Money is the root of all evil.”

Many people assume these are sayings from the Bible, but they’re not. Other religious clichés are used to excuse bad behavior. “Christians aren’t perfect just forgiven” we’re reminded. “We’re all sinners” offers more relief from a guilty conscience.

The use religious clichés is not new. Scripture records and corrects a number of them. For example, the Corinthians justified sexual immorality with the phrase, “food is for the stomach, and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them.” They argued that the body was not of eternal and spiritual significance, therefore, immorality was acceptable. This misguided rationalization (based on Greek mythology) occasioned a corrective response from the Apostle Paul (cf. I Corin. 6:12-20).

A more contemporary cliché that could be misleading is the statement: “God accepts us as we are.” Is this true? According to Jesus, it depends on what you think you are. 

Jesus told a parable about certain people who “trusted in themselves that they were righteous and viewed others with contempt” (Luke 18). Jesus referred to two men going up to the temple to pray — the one a Pharisee, the other a tax-gatherer (a despised person in first century Judaism). The Pharisee began by thanking God that he was not like the sinners of society and then went on to recite his own notable virtues. The tax-gatherer stood at a distance with downcast eyes, pleading for God’s mercy and identifying himself as a sinner. The conclusion? The admitted sinner was accepted before God and the self-righteous Pharisee found no approval with God.

This parable reminds us that only those who see themselves as sinners in need of God’s mercy will be accepted by God. The best of human achievements cannot grant us favor with God. Only those who humbly acknowledge their unworthiness are granted acceptance with God. Put another way, “what we are” is the problem. All people have fallen short of God’s glory and are in need of His merciful salvation.

The Bible says; “God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble” (I Peter 5:5-6). The proud person rejects God’s authority over his life and defiantly declares his independence of the Creator. This person could be self-sufficiently religious (as the Pharisee) or totally irreligious. The issue is far deeper then external activities.

The broken and contrite heart God will not despise (Ps. 51:17). Through the prophet Isaiah, God said: “To this person will I look (with favor,) to him who is humble and contrite of spirit and who trembles at my word” (Isa. 66:2). Does God accept us as we are? It depends on what you think you are?

Steve Cornell

3 comments on “Does God accept us as we are?

  1. […] Does God accept us as we are? Does God accept us as we are? […]

  2. ALAN says:

    I’m going to attempt to answer this question using the Bible. If what I say is a twist of what the Bible is really saying, or anything like that, do not listen to me. But the Bible is the only reliable information to get understanding from about God, if you are referring to the God of Christianity.

    With the question, “Does God accept us as we are?” we must also ask ourselves, “Why did Jesus resurrect?” He died on the cross to bring us to heaven, yet he comes back and shows us that he is the Messiah through his resurrection. But I believe there is more to this resurrection than we think.

    Romans 6: 1 – 4 says it all. It says we can no longer live the way of the world lives, we must try with all we have to live like Jesus did. This is because our sins died with Christ, yes, but through his resurrection we must live in righteousness (right standing) with God. In a sense, we have to resurrect with Jesus, as our sins have died with Jesus. If we were only dead, we could do nothing.

    When you first meet with God however, God will accept you, just as you are. So long as you turn around to face him (repent), humble yourself before him telling him that you are nothing compared to him, and “resurrect with him,” God will give you the strength to change. Jesus says, “If anyone were to be my disciple, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me,” and “You have heard it said, ‘Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

    If God only accepted us as we are, he wouldn’t have given all those commandments to the people of Israel and to the people of the church, to try and live as he did. It’s not easy, and there are many churches that ignore this responsibility that we have as Christians, but ultimately, yes God loves us and accepts us, but he wants us to change, to be like he was.

  3. Malia says:

    Thanks for this blog Steve and thanks for your response Alan. I have been struggling recently as I keep hearing in Christian circles and in churches (in France) that God accepts us as we are without further explanation. I needed to hear and “read again” what my conscience was already telling me that this is not true. The verse in Matthew 11. “28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” is proof that the Lord desires all of humanity to be saved, but it is not the whole message. We as Christians have to present the whole message, that God saves sinners. Romans 10: 9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” In order to declare “Jesus is Lord and God raised him from the dead,” we have to understand why God raised him from the dead. Romans 4.25 (NLT)” He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God.”

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