“God says he will accept and acquit us — declare us ‘not guilty’ — if we trust Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, by coming to Christ, no matter who we are or what we have been like.” (Romans 3:22b LB)
Jesus’ death and Resurrection make us acceptable to God.
Would you be surprised to know that most people do not accept themselves? I’ve been a pastor now for more than 30 years. I’ve talked to tens of thousands of people, and I’ve found that most people really don’t like themselves. They wish they were different. They wish they looked different. They wish they acted differently.
We don’t accept ourselves, so we spend our lives trying to find acceptance among other people. And, even more important than being accepted by other people is being accepted by God. That’s a problem. Why? Because God is perfect, and you’re not. Neither am I!
God lives in a perfect place called Heaven, so he had a predicament. How does he get imperfect people into a perfect place (because, obviously, if he allowed imperfect people in a perfect place, it wouldn’t be perfect anymore)? God had to come up with a plan for imperfect people to be able to live in a perfect place.
God’s plan is what I call “The Great Exchange.”
The Bible says, “God took the sinless Christ and poured into him our sins. Then, in exchange, he poured God's goodness into us!” (2 Corinthians 5:21 LB)
I don’t know how to make it any clearer than to say it like this: You’re never going to be good enough to get into Heaven, because it’s perfect, and you stopped being perfect a long time ago. It is Christ’s goodness in you that makes you acceptable. You’re not perfect, but he is. So God says, “We’ll do an exchange here. Jesus will take your sins, and you get my goodness in your life.” That’s quite a deal!
A lot of people feel trapped by their past. They say, “If you knew what I’ve done, you’d know I’ll never be acceptable to God.” I don’t know what you’ve done, but God does, and he still accepts you: “God says he will accept and acquit us — declare us ‘not guilty’ — if we trust Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, by coming to Christ, no matter who we are or what we have been like” (Romans 3:22b LB).
Talk It Over
What is it about yourself that you do not accept? Do you think God accepts that “flaw” or “quirk”? Why or why not?
What thing from your past do you need to let go of so you can embrace God’s acceptance?
Even though we can never be perfect like God, how do you think he wants us to try to live?