Recently, my husband and I applied to a mission board as church planters to New York City. The application process was involved, and the last step was an in-person interview and doctrinal review in Alabama. The board wanted to be sure they are in agreement with us because many churches will be familiar with what the mission board stands for, though they do not know us personally. If the mission board has approved us, then the church can know that we are in agreement and will be a good representation of them on the mission field.
As we prepared for our doctrinal review, I found myself very nervous. My palms were sweaty and I was fidgeting. Ben kept telling me to relax, so I know my nervousness was evident. The funny thing is that I didn’t really have anything to be nervous about. First, the questions were almost exclusively directed at Ben. Secondly, the questions were about doctrines and passages that both Ben and I know very well. We had prepared. We had studied. And yet I was nervous. Would the Board of Trustees approve us? Would this trip turn out to be in vain, and embarrassing if we returned home unapproved?
Gratefully, the Lord saw fit to join us with the mission board. The Board of Trustees voted unanimously to accept us. They placed their stamp of approval upon us as church planters. No longer was I just a “candidate” as my name tag read. Now I was approved. Accepted. Part of the “family.”
When I returned home and unpacked our belongings, I saw my nametag sitting on the dresser. The word “candidate” caught my attention and I was again so grateful that I was now accepted. But it made me think about my spiritual acceptance. When I became a Christian, in that very moment of dependence by faith for salvation, God placed His stamp of approval on my life. Unlike the mission board application process, I didn’t have to prove myself to God. There was no waiting period, reference check, or interview with the board. I didn’t have to go through a man, prove myself “good” enough, or list my character qualities. Quite the opposite.
There was nothing I could do on my own to please God. The Bible says that all of the good things I could ever do are just like filthy rags to God (Is. 64:6). I can never measure up to His standard of absolute holiness and perfection. I have missed the mark (Rom. 3:23). But praise the Lord, Jesus Christ came and died in my place. He exchanged my sins for His robes of righteousness, took my punishment, and gave me the right to be called a son of God. Accepted. Part of the family. When God looks at me, He sees His Son Jesus Christ. Now that is something to be excited about!
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace…”