God freely ac­cepts us in Je­sus Christ

The Sunday Guardian - - & Comment Analysis - By Rev. Dr. Richard How­ell

When we re­al­ize that God ac­cepts us and loves us the way we are in Christ Je­sus (Rom. 15:7), we are free to con­cen­trate on love and spir­i­tual growth rather than try to ap­pease God. Christ’s ac­cep­tance of us be­comes the model for how we ought to ac­cept each other. This truth has trans­for­ma­tional re­sults, as il­lus­trated by the life of Raj.

Raj shared how he had strug­gled with an adul­ter­ous re­la­tion­ship. He con­fessed he had re­pented and ended his af­fair. He also shared the spir­i­tual tor­ment he ex­pe­ri­enced in not be­ing able to in­ter­act hon­estly in the small group, he at­tended. After Raj had fin­ished his confession, the group was quiet for a while. Then, one by one, the group mem­bers ex­pressed their own share of strug­gles. A mem­ber said, “the group needs to in­tro­spect on how we can make our Fel­low­ship a safe place for peo­ple to be vul­ner­a­ble.’

The con­ver­sa­tion did not end that evening. Raj, over a pe­riod of time, dealt with fac­tors that had led to the af­fair. He dis­cussed the fears that kept him from telling the group sooner. The group helped Raj to stay ac­count­able so that he could ex­pe­ri­ence restora­tion and the heal­ing he needed. We tend to work very hard to make our­selves good enough for God. This is the law of karma work­ing within us. Our ten­dency to prove our self-right­eous­ness, our pride, and our fear of be­ing de­pen­dent, vul­ner­a­ble and needy, keeps us away from God. Ac­cep­tance does away with the need to prove our­selves wor­thy and re­places it with an ap­peal to live on the ba­sis of re­la­tion­ship rather than per­for­mance and good works. We come to for­ever be in a state of ac­cep­tance.

When we ex­pe­ri­ence the love of God, we be­come free to love oth­ers as God’s cre­ation. This is one of the most lib­er­at­ing truths re­vealed in the life and work of Je­sus Christ. Let us ac­cept one an­other as Christ has ac­cepted us.

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