Salvation: So Much More Than Accepting a Good Offer
"I accepted Ken as my husband."
For the record, I have never spoken about my husband in these terms. I've never said to my children, "Twenty years ago, I accepted your daddy as my personal husband." This conjures up an image of me on my throne, holding out my golden scepter to Ken as he approaches carrying a pillow with a diamond ring. The thought makes me laugh out loud!
So why do I use this language when I speak of Jesus? When I say, "I accepted Jesus as my personal Savior," do I impose the same throne and scepter imagery on my relationship with Christ? I certainly hope not! Instead of laughing, this thought makes me cringe.
I never thought much about this phrase, "accepting Christ," before listening to a recent radio messageby Colin Smith. Pastor Smith said that besides being offensive, it would never enter his head to say that he "accepted" his wife back when they got married. He married her because he loves her!
Now I understand what we mean when we say we "accepted Christ" (though I can't find that word combination in the Bible). We mean that we received His gift of salvation (Eph. 2:8). We recognize that He alone can save us from our sin, reconcile our broken relationship with God, and grant us both entrance into heaven and escape from hell.
But the Bible says that true believers are the ones who treasure Jesus with all their hearts, not the ones who merely accept Him as a good solution to their problems.
Surprised by Hidden Treasure
When I met my husband, Ken, I was a single girl who longed to get married. I didn't want to navigate life without a partner. I didn't want to sit alone in church. I wanted someone to do my taxes for me and take care of my oil changes.
And while Ken solved all of these problems and more, that's not why I married him. Had he been the only single guy for a hundred miles, it would have been ludicrous to marry him just because he could do my taxes. I married him because I loved him! I loved only him! I loved him enough to forsake all others and say, "I do," to a future with only Ken.
Jesus says that this is the way we must come to Him. Unless our hearts are stirred to love Christ above all else and all others, we don't truly belong to Him. Matthew 13:44 says, "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field."
Picture yourself finding treasure in a field that is for sale. You can't believe your eyes! Your heart rate quickens. As you fly home to pound a "For Sale" sign in the yard, you aren't bemoaning loss. You can't stop smiling. You're convinced that you are getting a remarkable deal!
I Couldn't Stop Smiling
That's how I felt about finding my husband. I couldn't stop smiling. I was convinced (and still am) that I was getting a remarkable deal! How could it be that a guy like him would choose me? He was good-looking, funny, smart, and successful. I was honored and overwhelmed with joy to have a relationship with him. So when another guy called me for a date, I didn't relish turning him down, but my joy over being with Ken made it easy to cut off all other dating possibilities. I was in love! And I still am.
How strange it would have sounded if I had said to the other guy, "Sorry, but I have accepted Ken." My relationship with Ken is not some calculated response to the best offer! Nor is my relationship with Jesus.
I love Jesus. I marvel that He chose me! I'm amazed that He would die in my place to cleanse me from sin. Jesus has changed everything for me. He is my rock of security. Even if I lost my husband, whom I love dearly, I would be devastated but I would not be lost forever. I would still have Jesus. I will always have Jesus.
If I had never heard other people talk about "accepting Jesus," I doubt I would have come up with the phrase on my own. Brides don't talk about their husbands that way, and I am part of the Bride of Christ!
If Jesus is the treasure I can't stop smiling about, the world will see that I've done more than just accepted a good offer; I've fallen in love with a Person.
Do you love Jesus? Instead of just accepting a "package deal," have you fallen in love with a Person? If He is your treasure, then how can you let others know—even today?
By Shannon Popkin