“To the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” (Eph 1:6, NKJV)
We are accepted “in the Beloved.” Some take this to mean we are only in the kingdom because we have a friend in high places. This is misleading. It’s like saying, “God can’t stand you personally but as a special favor to Jesus he’ll pretend he can’t see you.” I know, it’s silly. Yet some Christians are worried sick that if God knew the secrets of their hearts he would kick them out in a heartbeat. In order to avoid detection they maintain such a low profile you could mistake them for pancakes.
Others wear masks because they fear rejection. “If you knew who I really am, you wouldn’t love me.” Well guess what. God knows you better than you know yourself and he still loves you.
Genuine acceptance is based on knowledge. You can’t truly accept someone unless you know them and God knows you. He knows everything you have ever done and everything you will ever do. He knows your darkest secrets and every skeleton in your closest. He knows what you did last summer and what you’re going to do next winter. And despite knowing all this, your heavenly Father still loves you like crazy.
You may be worried that you will disappoint God. It’s not going to happen. It is literally impossible to disappoint an all-knowing God. When you make a mistake you may surprise yourself—“I can’t believe I did that”—but God is never surprised. Since nothing you do ever catches God off guard, rest assured that you can never disappoint him. When you stumble he responds with unaffected grace: “I knew you were going to do that, but don’t worry, I still love you.”
Jesus knew ahead of time that Peter was going to deny him and yet Jesus didn’t reject Peter. Instead he loved him and prayed for him. Jesus knew ahead of time that Judas would betray him and yet Jesus didn’t reject Judas. In the very act of betrayal Jesus called him “friend” signaling that even in that dark moment the door of acceptance remained wide open.
We don’t deserve any of this. We have done nothing to merit his favor. If anything, we have done plenty to warrant his displeasure. Yet Jesus reaches out to a sinful world and says, “Open the door and invite me in for dinner.”
Jesus’ acceptance is mind-boggling. It’s like nothing on earth.
[Excerpted from The Gospel in Ten Words, pp.74-75]