“God gave Jesus to die for our sins, and He raised Him to life, so that we would be made acceptable to God” (Romans 4:25 CEV).
Jesus’ death and resurrection make us acceptable to God.
Would you be surprised to know that most people do not accept themselves? I’ve been a pastor now for over 30 years and I’ve talked to tens of thousands of people, and I’ve found that most people really don’t like themselves inside. They wish they were different. They wish they looked different. They wish they acted different.
We don’t accept ourselves and so we spend our lives trying to find acceptance among other people; but even more important than being accepted by other people is being accepted by God. That’s a problem. Why? Because God is perfect and you’re not. And neither am I.
God lives in a perfect place called heaven, so God has a problem. How does He get imperfect people into a perfect place where He is perfect? (Because, obviously, if He allowed imperfect people in a perfect place it wouldn’t be perfect anymore.) God has to come up with a plan for imperfect people to be able to live in a perfect place.
God’s plan is what I call “The Great Exchange.”
The Bible says, “God took the sinless Christ and poured into Him our sins. Then, in exchange, He poured God's goodness into us!” (2 Corinthians 5:21 LB)
I don’t know how to make it any clearer than to say it like this: You’re never going to be good enough to get into heaven because it’s perfect and you stopped being perfect a long time ago. It is Christ’s goodness in you that makes you acceptable. You’re not perfect, but He is. So God says, “We’ll do a little switcheroo here. Jesus will take your sins and you get My goodness in your life.” That’s quite a deal!
A lot of people feel trapped by their past. They say, “If you knew what I’ve done, you’d know I’d never be acceptable to God.” I don’t know what you’ve done, but God does and He still accepts you: “God says He will accept us and acquit us—declare us ‘not guilty’—if we trust Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, by coming to Christ, no matter who we are or what we have been like” (Romans 3:22 LB).
No matter who we are or what we’ve been like! We can all be saved. He makes us acceptable to God.