Just As I Am?

    just-as-i-am  The song says: “Just as I am, without one plea, Thou blood was shed for me. And Thou that biddest me come to Thee, O Lamb of God, I come, I come!” Traditionally, the song has served as a testimony of God’s grace toward the repentant sinner. However as of late, the phrase: “Just as I am” is erroneously being used by people who have no intentions to change or repent to come to God. Let me explain. There really is no need to “clean up” before coming to God. In fact, if we could “clean ourselves up” there would be no need to come to God! The Bible declares in Isaiah 64:6: “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (KJV) It is of interest to note that the word translated as “filthy” in the Hebrew text was the same word used to denote a woman’s menstrual rag! The prophet was saying that all of our so-called righteous deeds are like a woman’s used tampon or Kotex pad in God’s sight! Ugh!!! The point I am trying to make is this: There is nothing we can do to make ourselves “presentable” or “worthy” of God’s acceptance and grace. In fact, if we could, then grace wouldn’t be grace!

So then, it is because of our inability to clean ourselves up and the power of God’s grace that we can come to God “just as we are.” However, although we can come to God just as we are, once we come to God, we cannot remain as we are! One of the aspects of salvation that is not being talked about much these days is the concept of repentance. We read of John the Baptizer’s stance concerning repentance in Luke 3:7-14: He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?” And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Collect no more than you are authorized to do.” Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.” (ESV) Note that for each individual or group that came to John to be baptized, a change of attitude and behavior was required to serve as “proof” or evidence of conversion.  Biblical repentance (the repentance that God requires for salvation) is not simply being sorry or remorseful for sin, but rather it is a change in attitude and behavior! It is not just a matter of turning to God, it also involves turning away from sin! In other words, the drunk can come to God just as he is; a drunkard, but he cannot continue to be a drunkard and expect God to be OK with it! The Bible demand repentance; a change in attitude and behavior!

Now this change of attitude and behavior is completely beyond the capacity of the sinner to do on his own! When a person truly repents and comes to God, that person is “born again!” God places His nature or His Spirit within that person; a change instantaneously occurs and a spiritual transformation begins to take place. The instant change is called “being born again” and the transformation is called sanctification: It is the process whereby the truly repentant and saved individual is gradually conformed to the image of Christ. In the “old church” the emphasis was mostly on being “born again.” But being “born again” is not the end-goal, but rather being born again (made a new creation in Christ [John 3:3-8; 2 Corinthians 5:17]) is just the beginning of the process whereby the individual is transformed into the person God called and created them to be! (See Romans 12:1-2) Just as a baby is born in a moment and we are happy, we would stop rejoicing and start being concerned if the baby didn’t grow and develop from infant to adulthood through the process of growth and human development within the framework of time.

We can accept and understand this in the natural course of life, but when it comes to the spiritual realm, there are many today who are expecting some completely unnatural and even freakish developments! For instance, it is unnatural to expect God to accept and be OK with sinners who keep on sinning after they claim to have been saved! I’m sorry, I know this statement is not “politically correct” in our day and time, but there really is no such thing as a “saved sinner!” For instance, the idea of a “saved liar!” is absurd! A saved person doesn’t consistently, habitually as a lifestyle trait and action, tell lies! Now this is not to say that saved people never lie! No! I am not saying that! But I am saying: Saved people do not consistently, habitually, practice lying as a lifestyle trait! I use lying as an example, but anything the Bible designates as sin can be substituted and the principle remains the same: The truly “saved” person does not make the practice of sinning a consistent, habitual, lifestyle trait! The Apostle John wrote in 1 John 3:9: “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God.” (ESV) Listen! I don’t care how much they might speak in tongues or how much anointing they might claim to have; according to the Bible, people who consistently practice a lifestyle that the Bible calls sin are not saved! The fact that they consistently practice a sinful lifestyle is the proof! Now, the issue today is that people want to “redefine” what sin is! But it really doesn’t matter how “natural” it might feel, if the Bible calls it sin; it is sin! And no matter how we might try to justify our sinful behavior, by our “redefinition” on sin, that doesn’t change the fact that our behavior is sinful!

Who are we to call what God has called wrong; right? In fact, the Bible pronounces doom upon those who do this! “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20 KJV) One of the things I learned early in life is that when you’re in living in someone else’s house, you must abide and live by their rules, whether you like them or not! The last time I checked; God was still in control! This is God’s world, not ours! We are living in His house! No matter how we might not agree with Him, that does not change the fact that the LORD, He is God! It is He that has made us! Contrary to what many might like to believe; God is NOT a creation of man; man IS a creation of God! And since God is the Creator, the creature is subject to the rules of the Creator! And if the Creator calls it wrong, it’s wrong! If the Creator calls it sin; it’s sin! It doesn’t matter how “good” or “natural” it might feel! It is His world that we are living in! It is He that made us; we didn’t make Him! And it’s not a valid excuse to say that it’s OK because that is the way the Creator made us! He made us perfect, but when sin entered into the world, His creation was marred! (See Genesis 3) Therefore, we were all born a certain way that wasn’t the way God originally made us! We were all born “wrong,” that’s why we all need to be “born again!” And since we were all born wrong and we all need to be born again, when He invites us to come to Him “just as we are,” it is foolish and absurd on our part to think He would be satisfied to leave us in the same broken and helpless condition in which we were born!

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