…having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. —Ephesians 1:5-7, NKJV

Years ago I served as a biblical counselor on the staff of a large Southern California church. As such, I heard stories and confessions of every imaginable sort. In return, I prayed and offered appropriate counsel from the Scriptures, never ceasing to be amazed that there was not one issue that came up during all those years which God hadn’t addressed in some way in His Word.

Those issues covered a wide variety of topics—relationships, addictions, heartache—but underlying all of them was the need for acceptance. The human heart cries out for unconditional love and acceptance. Sadly, most of us look for it everywhere except the one place it can be found: at the foot of the Cross. Even those of us who have accepted Christ as our Savior often struggle with the concept that we have truly been accepted just as we are. Of course, that doesn’t preclude the need to live a Christ-honoring life once we have received that love and acceptance. As the old saying goes, God loves us just as we are, but He loves us too much to leave us that way.

And that’s the whole point. As Ephesians 1:5-7 so simply and eloquently points out, it is God who has predestined us to be His children; He did it because it pleased Him to do so; the praise for that is due to His grace to us; and it is He who has accepted us in the Beloved.

Who is God the Father’s Beloved? His Son, of course. We see that throughout the Scriptures, the gospels in particular. When we receive His Son as our Lord and Savior, God’s Spirit comes to dwell in us, and we are then “hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3, NKJV). God no longer sees us or our sins when He looks at us; He sees only His Beloved Son, whose sacrifice He has fully accepted.

The next time you are tempted to believe God hasn’t (or can’t) fully accept you as you are, remember—when He looks at you, He sees Jesus. Rejoice in that acceptance, Beloved!

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