The Power of Acceptance

by Pastor Jeff Barbieri

“Some accept the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior and Lord and then spend the rest of their lives trying to get him to accept them.”  – Dr. Charles Solomon [1]

That is a profound statement from Dr. Solomon. I have personally heard him say, “A Christian must accept their acceptance in Christ.”  But…
•    What is our acceptance in Christ?
•    Why is it hard for many to rest in it?
•    How can I accept my acceptance?
•    What positive outcomes will occur in my Christian life and ministry when I accept my acceptance in Christ?

In this Thought of the Week and the next few installments, I want to answer these important questions about God’s acceptance of us in Christ. The key verse for our discovery together will be Ephesians 1:6

to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved”(NKJV).
This verse states that believers are accepted by God in the Beloved, that’s Jesus. The word “accepted” means to highly favor, to honor. It is an intense word, stated in the Greek past tense, indicating a complete action, statement of fact. No matter what your sin, no matter how bad you were or are, when you accept Jesus as the God/Man who died for you on the cross and rose again from the dead, you were accepted by God in Christ. But how can that be? Is that fair?

I think the following real life situation will help clarify these questions. A childhood friend recently called me seeking answers about the gospel. Some Bible-believing Christians had shared with him that eternal life, acceptance by God could not be earned by good works, but only by faith in Jesus (Eph. 2:8-9). The teaching of God’s grace troubled my friend who protested with this question, “Does that mean that if Hitler believed on Christ he would be accepted by God?” 
I replied to my friend that he was looking at the question from the wrong perspective. He was looking at how bad Hitler was instead of how incredibly awesome Jesus is. I pointed out that :
•    Jesus is God and Man in the flesh ( John 1:14)
•    Jesus lived a perfect life ( Hebrews 4:15-16)
•    Jesus died on the cross for every sin of the world ( I John 2;2)
•    Jesus rose again from the dead ( I Cor. 15:1-4)

I counseled my friend not to look at the gospel from the human perspective but to consider it from the divine perspective; God’s provision of Jesus is greater than all sin.

I would counsel you the same way. If you can’t accept your acceptance in Christ, you are giving your sin more power than the work of Jesus. Yes your sin, my sin, and Hitler’s sin is real and horrid. We should not debate that. But neither should we dismiss the greater truth that God’s provision of Jesus Christ to deal fully with all of our sin is equally real as the writer of Hebrews states:

“…for by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified” (Heb. 10:14 (NASB).

You are perfected forever not by good things you do, nor are you rejected because of bad you do. You have been perfected forever by one sacrifice and therefore you are accepted in Christ by God (Ephesians 1:6) … He has made us accepted in the Beloved.
Our salvation is restoration of relationship where God accepts us in Christ. Accepting your acceptance is the foundation of growing and living a vibrant Christ life. Please know that the foundation of your life here and into eternity is your complete acceptance by God in Christ!


[1] Handbook to Happiness, p.21

For more on this theme, see the article by Miles Stanford here.

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