ACCEPTED AND PLEASING
by Pastor Paul M Hanssen (revised article first published in October, 2016)
It is true; I am accepted by my Heavenly Father in and through God’s beloved Son, Jesus.
Ephesians 1:6-7 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.
There is absolutely nothing I can possibly do to make myself more accepted than what has already been done by the redemptive work of Jesus. He made a way for me through His death and resurrection. His finished work caused my Heavenly Father to look at me through the blood of His Son Jesus and accept me, a sinner. I am accepted! You are accepted!
The Grace of God has worked, and continues to work for me and in me that which I could never do myself. I am saved by God’s Grace and I am accepted by Grace by no merit of my own. I cannot buy anything from God. I cannot purchase His love, His favor or His acceptance. He is neither for sale or "on sale". Life has been given to me through Jesus Christ and through the hefty price He paid. But what I have freely received was not free. It cost something. It cost the Father His Only Begotten Son, and it cost the Son His absolute surrender and obedience to His Father.
It is through all of what Jesus has done that I am accepted and have access to my Heavenly Father. However, being accepted by the Lord and being pleasing to Him are two different things. It costs me nothing but faith to be accepted. But it costs me the same kind of obedience and surrender that the Son had toward the Father, for me also to be pleasing to the Father as He was!
Most Christians live their lives in an awareness of being accepted. Few live their lives with the awareness of pleasing God by living in obedience to His Word, Will and commands. The great testimony that Enoch had before he was translated was not that he was accepted, but rather that he pleased God.
Hebrews 11:5. By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
I have been made acceptable in the beloved, in Jesus, not for the purpose of gratifying myself but for the purpose of gratifying the One who has accepted me. I do not have to “do” anything to be accepted apart from believing in the work that has been done. But, if I am going to please Him who has accepted me there indeed needs to be a “doing” on my part. Enoch pleased God because He walked with God in obedience to His Will.
The Apostle Paul was Timothy’s mentor. Timothy was a young evangelist who had a desire to serve God. In teaching Timothy, Paul instructed him on how to please His master.
2 Timothy 2:3-4 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
Paul made it clear to Timothy that striving for masteries and pleasing the Lord meant that he not entangle himself with the affairs of this life. We are accepted whether we be tangled or untangled. But, we are pleasing to Him only when we get untangled from this world and have separated ourselves to live unto Him who has chosen us for Himself! It is simply NOT POSSIBLE to be pleasing to God whilst entangled in the affairs of this life, in the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. (1 John 2:16) These things are of the world and are hence at enmity with God.
James 4:4. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
Please remember, we are not talking about being accepted. Rather we are talking about being pleasing. How can you be pleasing while being an enemy? Not possible! Today I see a church world that is not very interested in pleasing God. People are interested in pleasing their own lusts, pleasures and pride. We embrace the priceless, matchless gift of God offered to us by Jesus and we place a period behind it. But very few are willing to go further and sell out paying the ultimate price to please Him who gave all to save them.
1 Thessalonians 4:1-4 Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;
Yes, I am accepted today! And yes, I am loved by my heavenly Father in such a way that cannot be described by the human tongue. But, am I pleasing him? Do my actions please Him? Does what I do with my time please Him? Does how I live my life please Him? Do I even bother to ask Him if I am pleasing Him or what I should do to please Him? Does how I clothe my body and present myself to others please Him? Am I pleasing the Lord? Ask yourself that question!