As we continue our series looking at our true identity in Christ, we are going to examine the identity of being accepted.
Besides being forgiven and set free, we are also accepted: “To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ — their Lord and ours” (1 Corinthians 1:2 NIV). Our identity is that of an accepted child of God because we have called upon the name of Jesus. Gary Burge, in The Baker Illustrated Bible Commentary, begins to delve deeper into this verse,
There follows a threefold description emphasizing that the church has been set apart or sanctified to be in relationship to Christ, called within that relationship to the pursuit of holiness as saints, and united in these distinctives with all believers ‘in every place [who] call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (1:2 Revised Standard Version).
As Christians, we are set apart to have a relationship with Christ. Anyone who calls on the name of Jesus has the distinction of being accepted by God.
Whether we care to admit it or not, being accepted is important to us. In high school, I longed to be accepted by the “cool” kids. This desire does not stop with high school by any means. People long to be accepted and included on the job as well. At this point in my life, I want to be accepted by the other mothers around me. The feeling of acceptance can also be present within the church. The key thing is not to get hung up on being accepted by people. Do not let this mold and shape who you are around these people. By doing so, you are simply putting on the mask of acceptance. They are accepting who you appear to be, not who you really are. Our Heavenly Father has graciously bestowed acceptance upon us. All we need to do is call upon His name.
Our acceptance is also seen in Acts, “And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:21 NIV). Look closely at the wording of this verse; it says everyone. Not just the good ones, or the ones who have it all together or dress a certain way or fill in the blank, but everyone.
The identity of being accepted makes me think of young children. For the most part, children do not see fat or thin, pretty or ugly, smart or dumb; they see people for whom they really are inside. Children look beyond the exterior straight to the heart. They love freely and accept the people around them. My children are prime examples of this unbridled acceptance. They all grew up around my brother, Jason, who is quadriplegic and in a wheelchair. The kids do not see the chair when they look at their uncle. They see a guy who is fun to hang out with. They do not see limitations; they see love. The kids also do not think anything about seeing other people in wheelchairs. In fact, for the longest time, my son, Devin, thought everyone in a wheelchair must be on Uncle Jason’s quad rugby team. This same kind of acceptance is freely given to us by our Heavenly Father. God graciously extends acceptance to anyone who calls upon His name. We might as well take down the mask we are hiding behind because God sees us and accepts us just the way we are.