There’s no pain worse than rejection and no pleasure greater than acceptance, which helps explain the length some people go to in order to avoid rejection and earn acceptance. But the good news is, with God you’re already accepted. JB Phillips translates Ephesians 1:6 like this: ‘He…has made us welcome in the everlasting love He bears towards the Son.’ And that’s not limited to those who appear worthy because of their good deeds and a flawless moral record; it’s for every believing child of God, lock, stock and barrel! Cromwell once commissioned a self–portrait. The artist, courting Cromwell’s favour, portrayed him without his obvious imperfections. Cromwell was livid. ‘I said paint me, man—me, warts and all!’ You’re accepted by God, ‘warts and all’.
(1) God’s acceptance doesn’t equal His approval. He accepts sinners, but He can never accept our sin. Indeed, His free gift of acceptance is our greatest motivator to renounce our sin and live to please Him (Titus 2:11–12).
(2) God’s acceptance is unconditional. He doesn’t say, ‘You’re accepted if you clean up your act.’ In the words of Jeremiah, ‘Can a leopard take away its spots? Neither can you start doing good, for you have always done evil.’ (Jeremiah 13:23 NLT) God’s acceptance has to be unconditional, because it’s impossible for us to merit it.
(3) God’s acceptance is because of Jesus.You’re ‘accepted in the Beloved’. The doomed Mephibosheth was accepted because of David’s relationship to his beloved friend Jonathan (2 Samuel 9). And as long as God accepts Jesus, and you trust in Jesus, you’re accepted as well.