Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
Are you troubled about your acceptance with God? If you knew that He is pleased with you, that He smiles at you approvingly, would you be happy? It gives such a good feeling inside to know that you are appreciated for what you are.
Now, my question is: do you have the assurance that God feels that way about you? Or are you afraid that He frowns at you?
When you feel that way, everything seems to go wrong. The Psalmist prays to God saying, "We have been consumed by Your anger, and by Your wrath we are terrified. You have set our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of Your countenance" (Psalm 90:7, 8). That is a statement of universal human feelings. So much so that most people simply banish from their minds any thoughts of God at all. They want to avoid Him like you would avoid a bad-tempered neighbor.
How can we get God to smile at us? The pagan says, "Offer Him sacrifices! That will make Him pleased with you." In fact, ancient Israel thought the same way, because Amos tried to straighten them out, telling them in the name of the Lord, "Though you offer Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them" (5:22). Not far away from the pagans is our hope that all our righteous works will get Him to smile at us.
For God to smile at us with approval is the same as for Him to justify us, for that is its meaning. If your friend smiles at you with approval, it simply means that he or she justifies you.
Now the question is, are we justified in God's sight by our good works, or by grace through faith? We find the beginning of the answer in Matthew 3:17. When Jesus was baptized, the Father said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." That's what we want! When the Father said that, He included you! He accepted the human race, "in Christ."
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: May 27, 1998.
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