Friday, August 9, 2013

Acceptance: Is that what it's all about?

I've heard many say that the Bible is all about "acceptance"!  Is that true? Probably in the context of scripture the best definition would be to receive something willingly and gladly because it's true and real. To accept would be to agree with the tenets or principles of the subject.

In the context of Christ let's see if "salvation" meets the criteria.

"Accepting Jesus" implies free will. We can choose to accept Jesus as our Lord or we can choose to reject him. Of course those who believe in predestination would argue this point, but predestination is deterministic and few within the evangelical world accept the doctrine of Calvinism. Here's a choice we all have:

Romans 6:16 (KJV) " Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?"
There are many other verses, but you get the point from Romans. God calls everyone. Everyone is predestined to be Christians, but we have the free will to yield ourselves to obedience to Christ, or conversely, to reject.
Yes, "accepting Jesus" is done willingly. Note also that Romans tells us to "obey"! I'll touch on that thought in a moment.
Does "Accepting Jesus" qualify as something which is done gladly? Since it's our free will and we're not forced nor coerced into accepting Jesus, it's obvious that "accepting Jesus" must be done gladly! Scripture reinforces the obvious:
Romans 5:11 "And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement."
You betcha! If you're a Christian you are certainly glad, even joyous! There are so many places where joy is associated with being a Christian that it's unnecessary to be exhaustive. In fact, joy in the Lord should be intuitive for someone who was given the gift of eternal life! If you're not joyous nor gladly receive eternal life, then I would question whether your faith is sufficient!
The definition says that we "accept" because it's "true and real". Yes, Jesus is real! Secular history tells of Jesus, his life, death and resurrection. Likewise the Bible is a first hand account by those who knew him that Jesus is the Christ! Jesus declared that he is God:
Jesus said oh so simply!  John 10:30 "I and my Father are one." Likewise, when Jesus walked on water, the disciples asked "Who is it?"  Jesus replied "I AM" (the most accurate translation). "I AM" or "I AM THAT I AM" is the name of God! Jesus IS God. He said as much! We accept that by faith, but with faith based on fulfilled prophecy, his immaculate conception, his virgin birth, his perfect life, the miracles he performed, the transfiguration witnessed by Peter, James and John, his death on the cross with hundreds of witnesses, the empty tomb, a resurrected man who had been dead (witnesses galore), Jesus ascension into heaven and the presence of Jesus' Holy Spirit which remains with us. Yes, the story of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, is true and it really happened. We can try, but we can't refute the testimony of thousands of witnesses to the life of Jesus!
Don't doubt! Thomas did, but he was convinced!
John 20:24 "But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
 25T he other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. 26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28  And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God."
Thomas not only ceased to doubt, but he was convinced! He not only saw the injuries inflicted on our Lord, but touched and sensed a resurrected body! Thomas was an objective first hand eye-witness to Jesus' resurrected, but he was a changed skeptic! He was finally convinced that Jesus is Lord! (Why do so many still doubt? People don't want to believe so that they can control their own lives. They are too proud to be a servant... a servant to Jesus. They refuse to obey the Lord their God).
Summarizing, salvation and belief in Jesus meets all the criteria for one to accept Jesus!  That's "scriptural acceptance". The Bible is all about acceptance, but in the context of accepting Jesus as Lord of your life!
The implication in the statement "The Bible is all about acceptance!" is that we are to "accept" in a general context not necessarily meaning to accept Jesus as Savior.
Even Jesus' enemies said this about him:
Luke 20:21 "And they asked him, saying, Master, we know that thou sayest and teachest rightly, neither acceptest thou the person of any, but teachest the way of God truly:"
Yes, the statement is correct. Jesus was not an "acceptor of persons"!  Jesus never taught the acceptance of human initiatives, human thought, nor human behavior; he taught acceptance of God. He taught acceptance of himself!
Theologians, influenced by modern thought, yes political correctness, teach that a Christian's duty is to "accept? Without quoting the Greatest Commandment we know that "love" is imperative in relation to Christ and to others. "Love" is not a synonym to "acceptance"! If you remember the criteria for acceptance. it is something done willingly and gladly and is real and true.
Since the "cause of the day" is same-sex marriage, Let's examine that issue. Homosexuality is real and true. There are homosexuals. So far so good. However, everything which is "real and true" isn't in God's will. Scripture tells us throughout that homosexuality is an abomination to God. We need to ask ourselves the question: "Shall we accept same-sex marriage knowing fully that God rejects it?" Any honest Bible believer surely knows that we're not to condone sin. We're to do all in our power to "save" those in sin! Here's where the "love" come sin. We want them to live a life for Christ because Jesus loves the sinner. Jesus the punisher cannot condone sin. Those who disobey God are doomed to eternal punishment. Christians want all to come to Christ and that none shall perish, because like Jesus, we love the person. We love the sinner because we're sinners too!
Salvation is not about "acceptance" of any sinful behavior. Salvation is about obedience to the God who can save us! By tolerating sin, we're condoning it. Not that we have the power to condemn or reprieve, but we do have the right to admonish and rebuke! Sometimes that fails, especially when liberal theologians equate "acceptance" with "love". Here's an example of what we're to do in the face of people who live a life of sin:
1 Corinthians 5:9 "I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: 10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world."
Paul didn't pick on one group of sinners. He said this about those who live a life of many types of sin. We're "not to keep company" with those whose lives are sinful and have not repented of their lack of obedience, their rebellion. It should be obvious to the reader that if you're not to keep company with those people, you are rejecting them! Rejection is the antonym of acceptance! No we're not to accept those who live a life of sin!
Some people are reprobate!  Those are sinners who are rejected by God because their heart is so hardened to sin.
Titus 1:16 "They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate."
Romans 1:27 " And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.  28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;"
Are we to accept those reprobate? Indeed we're not! God has given up on them. God has refused to accept them in their state of sin. We're not to accept them either. Oh, what are we to do?
Matthew 10:14 "And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.
"Shaking off the dust of your feet" is a metaphor for rejecting. You are no longer obligated to include them as potential Christians. You do not accept those who fail to receive the Word! No, Scripture is not about "acceptance", but "obedience". We shouldn't rejoice in their failure to accept Jesus, but we mourn for them, but go on in our own obedience!
Some believe that just because we love and know a person with a particular sinful lifestyle, that we should accept them as they are. That's called "unconditional love", but I say that "true unconditional love" is when a Christian loves a person enough to innervate themselves to admonish and rebuke. That's love! Letting a person go on in their chosen sinful lifestyle is "easy love", but one where the person doesn't love enough to keep their friend or loved one out of damnation! If you love any person, tell them what Romans says. "All have sinned!" Tell them of Jesus' love! And finally, tell them about God's judgment. If that doesn't work, shake the metaphorical dirt off your feet!
The "politically correct", but unbibilcal doctrine of "acceptance" is damning. Don't fall for the devil's lies. even the elect (Christians) will be deceived!

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