“Does God Accept You?” is the Most Important Question

D.A. Carson pointed out in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and His Confrontation with the World: An Exposition of Matthew 5-10:

In much contemporary evangelism, three is little concern for whether or not God will accept us, and much concern for whether or not we will accept Him.

Too many times we try to market God, prepackaged Him with as many additives as we can muster in the fear that we might offend people and be persecuted. We’re afraid that the God revealed in His entirety in Scripture will not sell. Thus, we do not want to look foolish, ignorant, or like a fundamentalist in the process.

But in Scripture the “problem” of people accepting God, for the prophets in the OT and the Apostle in the NT, is not even a viable option or thought. Even at Mars Hill in Acts 17 (perhaps the most famous missilogically “proof text” today, and rightfully so), Paul as he contextualized the Gospel still presents God in His fully splendor and glory, not trying to repackage Him in a light that we be more “seeker” friendly for the Athenians. Rather, he ends the address proclaiming:

The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead. (Acts 17:30-31).

For Paul (and every prophet and evangelist in Scripture), the main emphasis of the Gospel is that God—in light of His holiness and one’s sinfulness—cannot receive a person as they are in their sin. Thus, the main question people need to wrestle with and be presented is never “how can you accept Jesus?” but rather “how can Jesus accept you as you are in all your idolatry and sin?”

If a person does not reorient their thinking in this manner, the ultimate reason that they are at enmity with God (i.e. their sinful idolatry) will never be confronted and instead be reinforced. And as a result the Gospel will be utterly dismantled as it puts humans and their desires at the epicenter, and not God’s glory and His Son.

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About adoption through propitiation

I like theology. And I love my wife Katie. Enjoy my blog. View all posts by adoption through propitiation

3 responses to ““Does God Accept You?” is the Most Important Question

  • Matt Wigton

    The guy keeps poppin out a blog a day! Meaty, hard-core, true saturated blogs…You should include a link to your Science Video.

  • rbenhase

    Right on. I enjoyed your insights. Somewhat provocative, too.

  • Joshua

    i think this is a great point. However, the basic assumption of offering people the option to “accept Jesus” is that God’s view of them (his hatred of their sin) has already been explained. When the philipian jailor asked, “what must I do to be saved?” Paul and barnabus did not lecture him on how his thinking was wrong from the begining, but told him to have faith (Acts 16:30-34). The assumption was that there is a response we make to accept the gift God has provided (which we can not provide for ourselves). Yes, the ultimate cocern is that God will accept us, but I see in scripture that human response to accept the gift of God is a legitimate one to call for (Acts 2:37-41 for another example).

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