You Are Accepted.

“[G]race does not mean simply that we are making progress in our moral self-control, in our fight against special faults, and in our relationships to men and to society. Moral progress may be a fruit of grace; but it is not grace itself, and it can even prevent us from receiving grace. For there is too often a graceless acceptance of Christian doctrines and a graceless battle against the structures of evil in our personalities. Such a graceless relation to God may lead us by necessity either to arrogance or to despair. It would be better to refuse God and the Christ and the Bible than to accept them without grace. For if we accept without grace, we do so in the state of separation, and can only succeed in deepening the separation. We cannot transform our lives, unless we allow them to be transformed by that stroke of grace. It happens; or it does not happen. And certainly it does not happen if we try to force it upon ourselves, just as it shall not happen so long as we think, in our self-complacency, that we have no need of it. Grace strikes us when we are in great pain and restlessness. It strikes us when we walk through the dark valley of a meaningless and empty life. It strikes us when we feel that our separation is deeper than usual, because we have violated another life, a life which we loved, or from which we were estranged. It strikes us when our disgust for our own being, our indifference, our weakness, our hostility, and our lack of direction and composure have become intolerable to us. It strikes us when, year after year, the longed-for perfection of life does not appear, when the old compulsions reign within us as they have for decades, when despair destroys all joy and courage. Sometimes at that moment a wave of light breaks into our darkness, and it is as though a voice were saying: ‘You are accepted. You are accepted, accepted by that which is greater than you… Do not try to do anything now; perhaps later you will do much. Do not seek for anything; do not perform anything; do not intend anything. Simply accept the fact that you are accepted!‘ If that happens to us, we experience grace. After such an experience we may not be better than before… But everything is transformed.”

Paul Tillich, The Shaking of the Foundations, chapter 19.

Is justification by grace really that simple? Simply believe that Jesus stood in our place condemned, so we now stand in his place as accepted by the Father? Then, is it possible that sanctification is the daily battle of accepting our acceptance?

Luke 15:20-24


4 thoughts on “You Are Accepted.

  1. While vertically, we are accepted, what I often don’t read often enough in Grace discussions is how horizontally, person to person, we so need the cycle of confession, repentance and forgiveness. God’s unimaginable love and acceptance causes me to recognize His Grace toward me, a sinner. I then recognize my sin, toward Him and toward my fellowman. Truly the wonderful message of grace is our unmerited acceptance but that same grace awakes in me a responsibility to confess, repentant and receive and accept forgiveness. That is what grace causes me to do.

    • Thanks Ms. Scott… very glad you’re experiencing relationship with Jesus in confession, repentance and faith! One question 🙂 if “grace causes me to do” these things — wouldn’t we want to focus on Christ crucified, and surrender our sanctification unto his Spirit? What you say concerning the consequences of grace rings true with me. Meaning, sanctification is the fruit of justification… so, why not let God have his way with us? (which he will, in the end :)… Discussion concerning grace in practice is important, but I think it’s crucial to remember that preaching sanctification does not sanctify… just my $0.02

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