Have you ever looked within yourself and been discouraged by things you sense are lurking there? I have. I find myself longing for heaven where there will be no more struggle with sin.
Then, I think about verses that tell us we are "accepted in the beloved." God sees those who have come to Him in faith as being righteous even now. Now that really is something!
This acceptance is such a mind-boggling topic, that I can't begin to make a sensible explanation of it.
Thoughtfully reading Ephesians 1:1-14 in the Amplified Bible is a great help. It explains terms and concepts that may be unclear.
Eph 1:1 Paul, an apostle (special messenger) of Christ Jesus (the Messiah), by the divine will (the purpose and the choice of God) to the saints (the consecrated, set-apart ones) at Ephesus who are also faithful and loyal and steadfast in Christ Jesus:
Eph 1:2 May grace (God's unmerited favor) and spiritual peace [which means peace with God and harmony, unity, and undisturbedness] be yours from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Eph 1:3 May blessing (praise, laudation, and eulogy) be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) Who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual (given by the Holy Spirit) blessing in the heavenly realm!
Eph 1:4 Even as [in His love] He chose us [actually picked us out for Himself as His own] in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy (consecrated and set apart for Him) and blameless in His sight, even above reproach, before Him in love
Eph 1:5 For He foreordained us (destined us, planned in love for us) to be adopted (revealed) as His own children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the purpose of His will [because it pleased Him and was His kind intent]--
Eph 1:6 [So that we might be] to the praise and the commendation of His glorious grace (favor and mercy), which He so freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
Eph 1:7 In Him we have redemption (deliverance and salvation) through His blood, the remission (forgiveness) of our offenses (shortcomings and trespasses), in accordance with the riches and the generosity of His gracious favor,
Eph 1:8 Which He lavished upon us in every kind of wisdom and understanding (practical insight and prudence),
Eph 1:9 Making known to us the mystery (secret) of His will (of His plan, of His purpose). [And it is this:] In accordance with His good pleasure (His merciful intention) which He had previously purposed and set forth in Him,
Eph 1:10 [He planned] for the maturity of the times and the climax of the ages to unify all things and head them up and consummate them in Christ, [both] things in heaven and things on the earth.
Eph 1:11 In Him we also were made [God's] heritage (portion) and we obtained an inheritance; for we had been foreordained (chosen and appointed beforehand) in accordance with His purpose, Who works out everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His [own] will,
Eph 1:12 So that we who first hoped in Christ [who first put our confidence in Him have been destined and appointed to] live for the praise of His glory!
Eph 1:13 In Him you also who have heard the Word of Truth, the glad tidings (Gospel) of your salvation, and have believed in and adhered to and relied on Him, were stamped with the seal of the long-promised Holy Spirit.
Eph 1:14 That [Spirit] is the guarantee of our inheritance [the firstfruits, the pledge and foretaste, the down payment on our heritage], in anticipation of its full redemption and our acquiring [complete] possession of it--to the praise of His glory.
You will find the Amplified Bible (1987) -- The Lockman Foundation --
at Christian Classics Ethereal Library. Many Bibles and books available there maybe used freely.
Wise, studious writers have commented on what it means to be clothed with the righteousness of Christ. Their understanding of being accepted in the Beloved is worth reading and pondering.
Accepted In the Beloved
The Gilead Meeting
Accepted in the Beloved
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
In the Beloved
Grace Bible Church
Accepted In the Beloved
Spurgeon's Morning and Evening Devotions
Accepted In the Beloved
Christian Millennial Fellowship
Accepted in the Beloved (Part 2)
Thoughts of Encouragement
Realizing what we have in Christ because we are accepted as God's own -- a part of His family, makes me want to shout "Glory!" (That term is worth looking up too.)
Little wonder that the spiritual says:
I've got a robe, you've got a robe
All of God's children got a robe
When I get to Heaven goin' to put on my robe
Goin' to shout all over God's Heaven
Is this a joyful song about being clothed in Christ's righteousness and being accepted into heaven?
This story was sent to me by Louise, a friend since our nursing school days way back in the '50s. It seems to fit with the idea of how God accepts us in spite of our imperfections. God sees us as belonging to Himself, and useful to His purposes.
The Water Bearer
A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole
which he carried across his shoulders.
One of the pots had a crack in it, while the other pot was perfect and
always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walk from
the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.
For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one
and a half pots full of water to his house.
Of course, the perfect pot was perfect for the task for which it was made,
and proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of
its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half
of what it had been made to do.
After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the
water bearer one day by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself, and I want to
apologize to you. I have been able to deliver only half my load because this
crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.
Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don't get full
value from your efforts," the pot said.
The bearer said to the pot, "Did you notice that there were flowers only on
your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side? That's because I
have always known about your flaw, and I planted flower seeds on your side
of the path, and every day while we walk back, you've watered them. For two
years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the
table. Without your being just the way you are, there would not be this
beauty to grace my house.
Moral: Each of us has our own unique flaws. We're all cracked pots. But it's
the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together interesting
and rewarding. You've just got to take people for what they are and look for
the good in them.
Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape. Remember
to appreciate all the different people in your life!
I'm so thankful for all my crackpot friends and family!