Read 2 Timothy 1:9
9 For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus. (NLT)
Each of us longs to be accepted. It is so painful to be excluded from a friendship circle, to be shunned at a church, to be rejected by an employer, to be estranged from a family member. Rejection or exclusion causes us to feel shame: we are not good enough or worthy enough. It can also lead to bitterness and anger, hitting out at those who fail to accept us.
This is why we try so hard to be accepted. Doing the right things, looking the right way, saying the proper words, achieving the desired results. Yet all the time we might wonder if we will be found out, if we will be ‘shown the door’. Not good enough, not worthy enough.
Which is why the Christian message is such good news. We don’t have to earn God’s favour, we don’t have to fear being kicked out of his family because we used up all our chances. God allowed Jesus to live a perfect life and die a sacrificial death so that those who accept what he has done on their behalf are thus accepted by him.
Grace is another way of saying God accepts us before we become acceptable. We don’t have to work hard to be accepted, merely admit that we need Jesus’ help. Accept that, and we are accepted.