Most Christians in America can look back and describe the day they “accepted Christ.” For most of us this meant some sort of physical act — a silent prayer, a walk down an aisle, a stick thrown into the fire to mark our new allegiance.
But the longer I have been a pastor the more “accepting Christ” rings hollow. It’s not because the phrase is not found in the Scriptures; there are lots of phrases we use that are not in the Bible, but are still accurate.
To me it sounds more and more like a work — something we do to earn the favor of God. It’s a commitment, but that doesn’t mean there is faith. A
gapexists between us accepting Christ and Christ accepting us.
God never accepts us on the basis of what we do. Good works do not please Him or appease Him. Our favor with Him is based on our trust in His work, not ours. And is that not what most exhortations to accept Christ mean? “Make a commitment and then God will save you.” Not so subtly, we have preached commitment as salvation. And, then, even worse, growing in our walk with Jesus is reaching ever-higher planes of commitment.
But commitment is a result of salvation. Devotion to Christ flows from belief, not from volition. It is an act of heart, not will. Is it no wonder then, that so many question their salvation? They question because their justification with God is based on commitment and when their commitment wanes, they sense that they might not really be a Christian. And they are probably right! They are counting on their commitment to save them, not Jesus.
But this is a much better position to be in because the lack of commitment still might bring them to Christ. But woe to the one who is deeply committed and is blameless in their devotion — for, except grace, they will never see their grand mistake.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Accepting Christ and Christ Accepting You
Do we "accept Christ" or does Christ "accept us"? I like the comments quoted below from David Paul Dorr - Accepting Christ and Christ Accepting You: