Did Jesus Accept Everybody?

It is often claimed that Jesus accepted everybody without distinction, just the way they were. It is true that nobody was beyond the reach of Jesus’ love and grace. The sexually immoral, the demon- possessed, the physically repulsive, the socially rejected all found in Jesus one who loved and accepted them. In that sense, nobody was excluded. However, many excluded themselves and were not accepted by Jesus. If people rejected His offer of forgiveness and acceptance, Jesus didn’t force acceptance on them! They remained un-accepted. It should be obvious from the examples in the previous section that it is simply not true that Jesus accepted everyone. Some people Jesus condemned. Some He criticised harshly. Some He said would not be saved; they would not be part of His Kingdom. {Examples] As we have seen, His core message was a call to repentance. Yes, He graciously welcomed even the most despised sinners in His society but not without calling them to turn from their sin. The Jesus-accepts-everyone-no-questions-asked Jesus is a figment of the imagination of those who want to believe they can keep sinning and still be accepted by Jesus. It is not the biblical Jesus, who was much more demanding, who had much higher standards and who desired much more for people. God is loving but He is also holy. He will forgive sin but He will not accept sin. The Cross of Calvary reveals the intersection of God’s love and His holiness. God hates sin. Justice requires that sin be judged. For God’s perfect Kingdom to come, all that is incompatible with that Kingdom must be brought to an end. Justice requires judgement and the Cross reveals the reality and the intensity of God’s judgement. His Son had to die. But the Cross also reveals God’s love. While sinful people deserve to experience God’s eternal judgement, God loves us too much to simply allow that to happen. To avoid it, Jesus had to take our punishment on Himself, despite the absolute horror of that. Jesus prayed desperately not to have to go through with it. It was altogether too horrifying. And yet, He was willing to, because he loved us enough to do even that to save us. John 3:16 is the classic verse about God’s love. It is fantastic love, demonstrated in the selfless gift of His Son. But notice that even in that same passage, it is not a licence for sin. Those who love darkness more than light will experience the holy judgement of God. John 3:16-21 16  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  17  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.  19  This is the verdict: light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20  Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.  21  But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. Jesus was amazingly accepting. Those whom society rejected found refuge with Him. He was their friend and they loved Him. But that is only the half the story. Some people seem to conveniently forget that Jesus was also very exclusive. He set very high standards and demanded selfless dedication from any who would follow Him. Luke 9:23-26 23  Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.  24  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25  What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?  26  Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. It is worth carefully pondering what it means to deny oneself, to take up a cross and to follow Jesus. Jesus’ words were backed up by His actions.  Far from accepting everyone, He turned away many with His demands for holiness; people such as the rich young ruler (Mark 10:17-22), and those who wanted to put other things before Him (Luke 9:57-62). He confronted the Pharisees and teachers of the law condemning them unreservedly (Matthew 23:13-36). He even turned away whole crowds (John 6:60-66 and notice the link between large crowds and Jesus’ challenge in passages such as Luke 14:25-27). God loves everyone and He has gone to extraordinary lengths to welcome people, but His acceptance of them is dependent on their repentance (Mark 1:14-15, Acts 2:38, 2 Peter3:9). Calls for the acceptance of homosexual acts are based on a very Father Christmassy view of God that is not consistent with the God of the Bible. Put simply, given that homosexual acts are sinful and practising homosexuals will not enter the Kingdom of God, those who speak the truth in love, love homosexuals much more than those who persuade them that all is OK. To reaffirm a person in his/her sin is hatred.

Related pages

© 2017 Peter Cheyne
A Christian’s Guide To Homosexuality
Truth In Love
Main sections Main sections

Did Jesus Accept

Everybody?

It is often claimed that Jesus accepted everybody without distinction, just the way they were. It is true that nobody was beyond the reach of Jesus’ love and grace. The sexually immoral, the demon-possessed, the physically repulsive, the socially rejected all found in Jesus one who loved and accepted them. In that sense, nobody was excluded. However, many excluded themselves and were not accepted by Jesus. If people rejected His offer of forgiveness and acceptance, Jesus didn’t force acceptance on them! They remained un-accepted. It should be obvious from the examples in the previous section that it is simply not true that Jesus accepted everyone. Some people Jesus condemned. Some He criticised harshly. Some He said would not be saved; they would not be part of His Kingdom. {Examples] As we have seen, His core message was a call to repentance. Yes, He graciously welcomed even the most despised sinners in His society but not without calling them to turn from their sin. The Jesus-accepts-everyone-no-questions-asked Jesus is a figment of the imagination of those who want to believe they can keep sinning and still be accepted by Jesus. It is not the biblical Jesus, who was much more demanding, who had much higher standards and who desired much more for people. God is loving but He is also holy. He will forgive sin but He will not accept sin. The Cross of Calvary reveals the intersection of God’s love and His holiness. God hates sin. Justice requires that sin be judged. For God’s perfect Kingdom to come, all that is incompatible with that Kingdom must be brought to an end. Justice requires judgement and the Cross reveals the reality and the intensity of God’s judgement. His Son had to die. But the Cross also reveals God’s love. While sinful people deserve to experience God’s eternal judgement, God loves us too much to simply allow that to happen. To avoid it, Jesus had to take our punishment on Himself, despite the absolute horror of that. Jesus prayed desperately not to have to go through with it. It was altogether too horrifying. And yet, He was willing to, because he loved us enough to do even that to save us. John 3:16 is the classic verse about God’s love. It is fantastic love, demonstrated in the selfless gift of His Son. But notice that even in that same passage, it is not a licence for sin. Those who love darkness more than light will experience the holy judgement of God. John 3:16-21 16  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  17  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.  19  This is the verdict: light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20   Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.  21  But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. Jesus was amazingly accepting. Those whom society rejected found refuge with Him. He was their friend and they loved Him. But that is only the half the story. Some people seem to conveniently forget that Jesus was also very exclusive. He set very high standards and demanded selfless dedication from any who would follow Him. Luke 9:23-26 23  Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.  24  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25  What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?  26  Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. It is worth carefully pondering what it means to deny oneself, to take up a cross and to follow Jesus. Jesus’ words were backed up by His actions.  Far from accepting everyone, He turned away many with His demands for holiness; people such as the rich young ruler (Mark 10:17-22), and those who wanted to put other things before Him (Luke 9:57- 62). He confronted the Pharisees and teachers of the law condemning them unreservedly (Matthew 23:13-36). He even turned away whole crowds (John 6:60-66 and notice the link between large crowds and Jesus’ challenge in passages such as Luke 14:25-27). God loves everyone and He has gone to extraordinary lengths to welcome people, but His acceptance of them is dependent on their repentance (Mark 1:14-15, Acts 2:38, 2 Peter3:9). Calls for the acceptance of homosexual acts are based on a very Father Christmassy view of God that is not consistent with the God of the Bible. Put simply, given that homosexual acts are sinful and practising homosexuals will not enter the Kingdom of God, those who speak the truth in love, love homosexuals much more than those who persuade them that all is OK. To reaffirm a person in his/her sin is hatred.

Related pages

© Peter Cheyne 2017.
A Christian’s Guide To Homosexuality
Truth In Love
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