Thursday, September 6, 2007

Are You Acceptable to God?

One of the main problems with modern evangelicalism is they get, or at least communicate, justification improperly. Many leaders today talk about our becoming "acceptable" to God. The issue with this is it communicates to many people that because of Jesus, they are now acceptable to God the way they are. It makes people believe they don't have to try to stop sinning. And, it misses the whole point of what Jesus did.

There is a distinct correlation between this and something Calvinism is accused of, namely that Christians don't need to evangelize because God's elect are God's elect. That is simply not true! We are commanded to go and make disciples of all nations. (Note the word "go" is used, not "put on a relevant show to bring people in".) What too many evangelical leaders are doing is making people think they do not have to change anything in the way they are living because they are acceptable to God even in their sins, rather than letting them know they are acceptable to God only because of Christ's righteousness.

Jesus did not die so God would be able to accept us and our sins—this is a man-centered gospel—but rather to make us just before a completely holy God. Christ's righteousness is imputed to us so we actually are righteous—a God-centered gospel. These two ideas could not be further apart in their focus. It may seem subtle, but Satan revels in subtleties. We must get the gospel right, or there is no hope.

Speaking of modern evangelicalism, I read a report recently in Parade magazine that said American children say "It's not fair" 19 times a week! No wonder people grow up thinking God has to be fair. Again, the problem is with our perspective. We want God to be what we consider fair. I guarantee you do NOT want God to be fair. If He were, we would all go to hell. We deserve hell because, in Adam, we all sinned. Oh, there I go again, talking about things that are not fair. Why are we all condemned because someone else sinned? That is the way many think today; never mind the fact they not only always and only ratify Adam's choice everyday, but also, they would have done exactly the same thing in his position. I am tired of this self-centered culture I have to live in. I love this country, don't get me wrong. But I am trying to do what I can to take the focus off of us and put it back where it belongs: on Jesus Christ and His perfect life imputed to us, his death on the cross where our sins were imputed to Him, AND His resurrection assuring us of eternal life. Don't get me started on the resurrection. Ask people to explain the gospel to you, and I promise 8 out of 10 will not mention the resurrection. If we leave Jesus in the tomb, we are, of all men, to be most pitied.

In Christ,

P.S. The Alpha post is coming!

P. P. S. Modern Reformation has a great article that relates to this post in this month's issue.


Anonymous said...

Good post. This year in AWANA, I'm going to teach some 4th-6th grade boys about Romans 3:21-26, focusing on the theological terms regeneration, propitiation and justification. I'll try to remember to make the point that when God justifies us, he does not make us acceptable in our sins, but makes us righteous in Christ. Thanks for a good point to emphasize. And I'll try to keep it in mind the next time I come to a moral fork in the road . . .

Rhea said...

Great post!!

I find it interesting, b/c while I would say that I'm an evangelical, I would never say to someone that b/c of Jesus we are justified, or somehow "okay" or acceptable to God in our sins. I guess for me, I consider myself an evangelical more b/c I'm pro-life and I think that evangelism is very important. I hadn't really thought of evangelicalism the way that you were looking at it....perhaps I need to come up with a better label for myself.