Bad girl, bad boy

Bad girl, bad boy

To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he has made us accepted in the beloved. – Ephesians 1:6

Romans 8:1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.

How many of us grew up in families that were dysfunctional? One or both of our parents were over the top with harsh demands and judgmental attitudes. Over and over again, we were told, “bad girl,” or “bad boy” or “you will never get anything right” or “you will never amount to anything.”

Others of us grew up in religious homes where we went to church regularly. The fear “of God” was drilled into us over and over again. Charles Stanley remarks, “The church I grew up in could sum up much of its theology in one statement: ‘Thou shalt not . . .’”

What a terrible legacy to burden our lives with. Surely, we are damaged and wounded. Some of us carry this all of our lives.

In both of these situations, two vitally important basic truths are totally lacking. Sound teaching on the Father’s love and acceptance.

Stanley reminisces about his own life and remembers, “I do not recall hearing about the Father’s love or how to live the Christian life. What I learned was that a wrathful God would punish me if I did not follow all the rules. And there seemed to be rules for everything – including what I could read, what I could wear, and what I could do.”

“As a teenage boy, I spent a lot of time begging the Lord to forgive me for one foolish thing or another. And I carried around a constant weight of guilt and worry everywhere I went. I just could not seem to be good enough. In truth, the rules were a burden to me, and since I thought God made them, He was a burden too.”

Regrettably, this is too often the case. The Father God is entirely different than what many have been led to believe. Sin, guilt, and shame are entirely dealt with by the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross and His subsequent resurrection. We are totally accepted and forgiven. We rest in the loving arms of our Father God, secure and safe, and totally beloved. There is no reason to fear.

Our distorted self-image is simply that, “distorted.” We have to replace it entirely! Wherever there is error and incorrect understanding, it must be replaced with the truth of Scripture. We must choose to believe what the Father says about us as His beloved children.

It is simply time to stop believing lies, half-truths, partial truths, and outright deceptions that are only intended to drive a wedge between us and our Father and make us ineffective in His service. We have to totally abandon the fiction and myth, that because of what we have done, we will never ever be good enough to be truly accepted and loved.

It is as though we been working in a coal mine all day, and are completely covered from head to toe in coal dust. We need a good scrubbing and cleansing to get rid of all the grime and filth.

Our souls and spirits become polluted by half-truths at best and erroneous, false teaching, and distortions at worst.

The problem is twofold. On the one hand, we have a totally false conception of what the Father is truly like. Part of our misunderstanding is derived from our own fears and dreads. This is analogous to the proverbial monster that lurks under our bed in the dark of night. We think to ourselves, “if I just hide under the covers, I will be safe.” The rest comes from our learned deformed and misinformed self-concept and self-image. It may haunt us throughout our lives.

What is the solution that the Father has provided for false information, misinformation, or disinformation? In a word, Truth. What has the Father of provided for erroneous and deformed self-image? A total makeover and transformation from the inside out.

The Truth is that whatever we have done in our lives before our adoption, is totally forgotten by the Father when we become His children. The Father who knows everything all the time has chosen to forget!

Let that sink in.

He took us as we were, sinful, in some cases utterly horrid, and adopted us into His Forever Family. The act of adoption expunged the record of grievances He had against us. We start with a completely clean slate. He totally and completely accepts us. He places into His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

REFLECT & PRAY

“We cannot make ourselves acceptable to God; but He, by His grace, makes us accepted in Christ” (Wiersbe).

Father I can hardly imagine the incredible truth that You love me, favor me, and have completely accepted me just as I am. But You have. You my dear Father have a special place for me in Your hheart. Nothing can ever take that away.

INSIGHT

In 2020, the dread pandemic of COVID-19 nearly shut down planet Earth. The death toll may never be completely known. But the truth of Scripture always stands firm, unmovable over against short-term, although exceedingly deadly, awful, life-altering circumstances.

When we think poorly of ourselves, we are in direct conflict with what the truth of Scripture says. The Father does not lie. What He says is always true. If there is a disagreement between what He says and what we believe, it is time to abandon our way of thinking and align with His.

Romans 8:1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.

It has never been about who we once were or what we once did. Rather it is about who we are and where we are now. We are the adopted children of the King. Each one of us has been placed into Christ in some mysterious and mystical fashion, we are united with Him. We are precious in our Father’s sight.

In fact, being in Christ, His beloved Son, we are also beloved to the Father.

Ephesians 1:4-8 

 4 Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.

 5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.

 6 So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.

 7 He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.

 8 He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

This passage is so very rich. The heart of this passage is Ephesians 1:6. Seeing it in several translations provides a bit of insight.

NAS Ephesians 1:6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

ESV Ephesians 1:6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

NLT Ephesians 1:6 So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.

KJV Ephesians 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he has made us accepted in the beloved.

NIV Ephesians 1:6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

The Greek word translated freely bestowed, glorious grace he has poured out, freely given, and accepted is charitoo. The noun form of charitoo is charis. Charis simply means grace or unmerited favor. It is getting something we could never deserve.

“The apostle is speaking about the love or grace of God as shown in our redemption. He has predestined us to be adopted as his sons, to the praise of the glory of his grace, which grace he has exercised towards us in the remission of sins . . . Therefore, here ‘he has freely given us’ means to accept, to treat with favor” (Hodge).

Simply stated, the Father has “graced us.” He has favored us and given us what we could never deserve, adoption into His Forever Family and total acceptance and love. The very idea is beyond the capability of our human comprehension.

Perhaps an analogy we can grasp would be going to a pound, finding a battered, mistreated, and abandoned puppy and adopting it. Then bringing it home and welcoming the pup as a beloved member of our family. The puppy did nothing to deserve it. But his life is forever changed.

He is part of a new family and he is dearly loved and cherished.

And so are you!

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