AM I ACCEPTABLE TO GOD?
Some people think that they are not good enough to belong to God . By comparing themselves with other people who in their eyes are better, more believing, more Christian, they have come to the conclusion that they can never meet the high demands of the Christian faith. But is this right?
BELONGING, BELIEVING AND BEHAVIOR
Christians have (sometimes unintentionally) made their fellow human beings outside of a religious community feel that the other person’s way of life is inadequate and will therefore be unacceptable to God.
Using three English words, I want to try to explain how Jesus treats people and how Christians should do that. The words all start with a B. They are:
- Belonging (you can belong)
- Believing (believing)
- Behavior (behavior)
Often believers have put their Christian precepts first when dealing with the seeking fellow human. If you only comply with our code of conduct (Behavior), then you may belong (Belonging) and we will consider you a believer (Believing) .
HOW DOES JESUS DO IT?
In the New Testament we read in Luke 19 how Jesus approaches the tax official Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus raises the tax for the Roman occupier and withholds money for himself at the expense of his people. That does not exactly make him loved. The moment Jesus enters the home of Zacchaeus, Zacchaeus, who is small in stature, climbs into a tree to see Jesus.
Jesus sees him and speaks to him. Now you will expect that Jesus will sometimes appeal to Zacchaeus for his wrong behavior (Behavior) , but He does not. He says “Zacchaeus, come quickly down, because today I have to be in your house.” In other words, Jesus puts Belonging first instead of Behavior .
Jesus puts Belonging first instead of Behavior .
Zacchaeus can come with all its mistakes as it is. To have a meeting with Jesus, he does not have to clear up his mistakes beforehand.
This unconditional acceptance leads to a relationship between Jesus and this, in the eyes of the people, despicable traitor. The meeting of Zacchaeus with Jesus (Believing) causes a change in his behavior (Behavior) . Zacchaeus is going to repay the people he has done wrong. The change in Zacchaeus’ behavior is therefore a consequence of the encounter with Jesus and not a condition prior to the encounter with Jesus!
The change in Zacchaeus’ behavior is therefore a consequence of the encounter with Jesus and not a condition prior to the encounter with Jesus!
YOU ARE WELCOME TOO
That is why I believe that every person, regardless of their way of life, is welcome with Jesus and in His church (Belonging) . In the Christian community there is time and space to get to know Jesus Christ, to enter into a relationship with Him and to receive forgiveness (Believing) . Whoever has become a believer will discover that from the relationship with Jesus he will live more and more according to God’s intentions (Behavior) .
Photo credit: photo 2: LUMO .