Acceptance - The Lie of Easy Believism.
A Subtle Lie Has Become The Bulwark of the American "Church".
Not One Person Has Ever Accepted Christ As Savior To The Saving of Their Souls.
You may ask; how can I make such a bold statement? Or you may think that I am just splitting hairs and it is just a case of semantics. I will first lay out my case then I will enumerate how it has impacted the testimony of the Church and has infected many areas of our walk, including how we understand the teachings of the Scriptures and how we view our Savior.
how does the bible approach and use the doctrine of acceptance?
- The word "accept" is used only once in the New Testament in Acts 24:3, as part of an opening statement by Tertullus in the trial of Paul.
- You will not find the word "acceptance" in the N.T. at all.
- God acceptest (Luke 20:21) or accepteth (Galatians 2:6) No man's person; your station in this life means nothing to Him.
- The words "accepted" (9 times - 6 in 2 Corinthians) and "accepting" (Hebrews 11:35) deal mainly with accepting our lot in this life, except for two very important verses.
Acts 10:35 - "But in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is ACCEPTED with Him" and Ephesians 1:6 - "To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made "US" ACCEPTED in the Beloved"
We,the chosen, the elect of God are the one's who need acceptance, for as Romans 3:11 states, "There is none that understandth, there is none that seekth after God." We who were once totally unacceptable have been made acceptable by our Lord's grace alone.
Repentance Before Justification!
Repentance Before Acceptance
Repentance - A Gift from God!
2 Timothy 2:25- "In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them REPENTANCE to the acknowledging of the Truth;" We are our own worst enemy!
From the Word we have two examples of the gift of repentance wherein lies the foundation of the Gospel: you will never be saved without repentance and repentance itself is a gift from God.
The Pharisee and the Tax Collector.
A tax collector was the lowest of the low in Israel during the days of Roman occupation, considered by most to be thieves and traitors to their fellow countrymen. You would almost never find one that would even think of going to the temple for they were a hated group and mainly communed only with their fellow outcasts. (Remember Matthew) Something had driven this "sinner" to enter the temple despite the indignation and rejection he would receive from the "temple crowd". Yet, short story made even shorter, the Word lets us know that his humble prayer resulted in his justification before God. Justification cannot exist without repentance.
The Thief on the Cross.
A miracle happened on the cross beside the one upon which hung our Savior. Per Matthew 27:44, the thieves in the beginning took part in the mocking of Jesus, but in Luke's Gospel verses 23:40 to 42, in one a change of heart had taken place by the sixth hour. The thief acknowledged he was worthy of judgment, that Jesus was innocent and a kingdom awaited Him. When our Lord acknowledged him, His words of "acceptance" were timely grace in the ears and heart of the thief.
So much of the modern "church" does not have the joy of acceptance, but so many lives filled with either rigorous do's and don'ts or one of great uncertainty. Only one who has experienced the incredible weight of sin being lifted from theirs shoulders knows this joy. Do you not wonder why our churches are not filled with great joy but with worldliness, uncertainty and doctrinal apathy. It is found in the "modern" gospel: you need to accept Jesus and all your problems will be solved; yet the problems persist. Repentance, hell and judgment are no longer in vogue from far too many pulpits and have been replaced with the kinder, gentler preaching that starves the sheep and gives a false hope to a multitude of "church" goers.
Acceptance - The Life Blood of the Gospel!
Splitting Hairs - I Don't Think So!
The world seems to understand acceptance far more than does the modern Western "church" and as George Orwell (Animal Farm) puts it - "Happiness can only exist in acceptance." To put this into Christian terms - "Joy can only exist in acceptance.". Sadly, to a great extent in America we live in a factious, divided and joyless church mainly because we do not teach, preach or practice the doctrine of biblical acceptance but that of worldly acceptance. Cases in point:
- So many churches are turning to false practices of creating artificial joy through music, dance, laughter and uncontrolled behavior. Our God demands order and abhors disorder, is jealous of His Word, hates false teachers and those who sow discord among the true brethren and those who seek the worldly to entice the world without conviction of sin.
- We rush to accept the unsaved into our assemblies, water-down the Word so not offend, make salvation easy - just accept Jesus - He will be honored to have one such as they. To add insult to injury, lets invite all the ungodly youth of the community to commune with the youth of the church and maybe a little of Jesus may rub off on them. Per 1 Corinthians 15:33 - "..bad company corrupts good morals.". You know, I have never personally seen anyone dress in perfectly clean clothes walk through a mud puddle and the puddle become cleaner via the effort. So many youth today drop out of church after graduation, hmm....I wonder why.
- One thing the real believer will not hear too often from the preaching or teaching predominant today, is that we need to stop accepting or being so tolerant of another's questionable doctrines for the sake of civility. We can question or confront and still be civil though it is kind of a lost art.
- We have become a people more accepting of one "man's" teaching over another's and allow our minds to be made up rather than testing every man's words against the Bible. We so easily accept the professional holy man's education, status within the denomination or the community and his personal interpretations as if they were the oracles of God Himself. Thus we put on a pedestal, a man whose sinful flesh gives them as much trouble as it does ourselves and we live our lives according to his doctrine.
- Another very disturbing trend is the communist-like authoritarianism that seems to be so prevalent in the leadership of so many churches I have been apart of and have witnessed first hand. We are to accept the dictates of the "pastoral" staff as if they were the Word of God. We are to accept without question, very much like as George Orwell so eloquently put it in Animal Farm, we are all equal, some are just more equal than others. This leaves the majority of the congregation very few alternatives: 1) say nothing and live with it, 2) stand up and be quietly asked to leave so as not to cause undo unrest among the other believers or 3) just leave. I have done all three: 1) it has been a long time since I have opted to say nothing, 2) twice I have been asked to leave and 3) and I am very close to a # 3) as I write this article.
I pray that you have found your joy this side of heaven by your "acceptance into the Beloved" and that you will accept nothing less than the Lordship of Jesus Christ who gave US the gift of repentance to the grace that leads the justification of the soul.
Jude 24-25 - "Now unto Him who able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceed JOY, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen."