Accepted and Accepting

Two criminals were sentenced to death by crucifixion along with Jesus, one on the left and another on the right of Him. In Luke 23:39-43, an amazing, emotional scene was recorded regarding their interaction with Jesus while they hung on their crosses. One of the criminals, who hung there, hurled insults at him: ‘Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’ But the other criminal rebuked him. ‘Don’t you fear God,’ he said, ‘since you are under the same sentence?  We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’Jesus answered him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.’”  One remained a hardened, selfish criminal full of hatred and vitriol.  The other contemplated his horrendous sin and the righteous, innocent God-man who hung beside him, and humbly asked Jesus to remember him “when you come into your kingdom.”  His heart recognized Christ as his Savior.  The response of Christ was astounding, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” 

We are fully, wholly accepted by God!  I don’t care who you are, what you look like, what you have or have not done, what stage of life, how stupid, gross or disliked you are.   “Whosoever” you may be, if you humbly bow before Jesus and invite Him into to your heart confessing Him as your Savior, you are eternally forgiven…completely accepted past, present and future. 2 Cor. 5:17 declares, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”  Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  2 Cor. 5:21 exclaims, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  We have been placed “in Him (Christ Jesus).”  God looks at us through His Son and judges us not guilty…always and forever!  We are completely accepted.  There is no condemnation.  I am afraid that the devil deceives us (he’s such a liar!) and gets us on the performance trap.  Throw that untruth off.  If you have come to Christ, you are FULLY AND WHOLLY ACCEPTED!! 

Now then, as believers, He challenges us to accept others.  Get a hold of this electric verse, Romans 15:7, Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”  How will the world change once we as His people forgive and show grace and mercy like Jesus?!  Allow me to be more specific.  What will the reaction and result be when your spouse, children, family, neighbor, colleagues and even enemies see His acceptance in our lives?  The name of Jesus will be praised.

We are totally accepted by God because of Jesus.  Now, let’s be Jesus to the world, and be accepting to others like Him.

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