There’s a theme that has been running through the Church for decades: come as you are.
It’s a good theme. We don’t need to be of any particular social or economic status to come to Jesus. We don’t need to have our lives all together or have our dreams figured out or our finances squared away to come worship God. And we don’t need to have fancy clothes or drive an expensive car or be middle-class, white American to be a Christian.
As a matter of fact, Jesus welcomes those who are the exact opposite. When criticized for eating with tax collectors and sinners and prostitutes and a whole bunch of other unwanted, messed up people, Jesus responded ‘”Healthy people don’t need a doctor–sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”‘ (Mark 2:17)
Jesus wants the broken, the humbled, the messed up, the rejects, the drop outs. He loves those who need help. As a matter of fact, He wants people who know they are sinners.
That being said, I think we missed something along the way. We tell the world, “Come as you are. Jesus loves you no matter what you’ve done or who you are!” And, like I said, it’s very true. But we forget one very key point.
Our call to the world should be, “Come as you are and never be the same again!”
When Jesus calls someone to Him, there is the expectation of change. Those who follow Jesus must begin to abhor the sin in their lives and despise their old lifestyle. They should be making attempts to change and become a disciple of He who called them.
Paul makes this point very clear in his first letter to the church in Corinth, “Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-12; NLT)
Paul tells the church that they used to be like that, but by calling on the name of Jesus, they were cleansed and made holy, made right with God.
Can we now say that about ourselves? Are we able to say that we used to do evil and terrible and horrendous things and were unworthy to inherit the Kingdom of God? Are we able to say that we are not longer like that and only because we called on the name of Jesus and followed Him?
Being a Christian is about more than going to church and helping people. It is surrendering everything to Him and allowing Him to change our lives.
Come as you are, and never be the same again.
“So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” – 2 Corinthians 5:16-17; NLT
This is what the Sovereign LORD says.