How much do we have to clean up our lives before God will accept us?
Q: How much do we have to clean up our lives before God will accept us? I know I need God's forgiveness, but I also know I need to clean up my life before I ask Him to forgive me. I know He won't accept me the way I am. -- S.W.F.
A: How do you know God won't accept you just as you are? The answer is -- you don't! In fact, although it may startle you, God doesn't wait until we clean up our lives before He lets us come to Him. He accepts us just as we are!
You see, God doesn't act toward us the way we often act toward each other. God loves us with an everlasting love -- and all He requires is that we turn to Him in repentance and faith, and put our trust in Jesus Christ for our salvation. Jesus Christ was without sin, but when He was put to death on the cross, all our sins -- not part of them, but all of them -- were transferred to Him, and He died in our place. In Christ, the Bible says, "we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins" (Ephesians 1:7).
Do you remember the two criminals who were crucified with Jesus? One scorned Jesus and refused to believe in Him -- but the other reached out in faith, and Jesus promised that his sins were forgiven and he would be with Him in Heaven. (You can read of them in Luke 23:39-43.)
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That second criminal couldn't clean up his life; all he could do was confess his need for God's forgiveness and put his trust in Jesus. And the same is true for you. Turn today to Christ for the forgiveness you need, and thank Him for His great mercy.
(Send your queries to "My Answer," c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit the Web site for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association: www.billygraham.org.)(c)2017 BILLY GRAHAM DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.