Does Jesus “Accept” Everyone?*

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I hear this a lot on Facebook, among people, editorials, and of course “evangelicals” — you know those who profess to believe and follow the Lord, “Jesus loves and accepts everyone as they are.” Usually this statement comes in the context or as a rebuttal to the claim “homosexuality (or some other socially popular personal rights agenda) is wrong.” Often the one claiming, “Jesus loves everyone” will also say, “love is love. Jesus loves people and supports love.” In other words, there is a belief, that Jesus loves everyone for who they are and belief in him requires no change in motive, will, action, and desire.

This reasoning appears to have biblical support and in the eyes of the user, throws Jesus own teaching back into the face of the “overly harsh judgmental” Christian. Now this reasoning is meritless to those born again with biblical discernment. In fact, those of us who believe, see it for what it really is, foolish thinking.

Let us unpack “Jesus accepts everyone” for the foolishness it is and examine what the claim would require for Jesus to really believe this.

Fimagesirst, there is an element of truth to this claim. Remove the context of the discussion and say, “Jesus loves everyone.” Without any context to direct the meaning of this sentence, all believers should be able to support this truth (John 3:16) and yet all of us should desire more clarity. Jesus does love everyone: self-righteous, homosexuals, thieves, adulterers, envious, lustful, cowards, and idolaters. How do we know? He died for them so they may be saved from the wrath to come and adopted into God’s family. We who believe love everyone too, but it doesn’t mean we have to accept and support sinfulness, “The one who loves God should love his brother also” (1 John 4:21). [1]

Unfortunately this claim rests in a context where Jesus supposedly affirms any person’s lifestyle. Yet, most people who say this do not believe this. What?!?!? Yes, it is true. My guess is if you ask a person, “Would Jesus support pedophilia?” They would say “No!” “But my lifestyle choices include brutally raping women.” Would anyone say Jesus supports this? “Probably not.” So unless someone is really willing to say, “yes” to the two examples too, then the person inconsistently chooses a defense appearing supportive, but really undermining his own position. [2] In other words, the person is biased for his own sin while still willing to condemn other wrongs.

Allow us to enter into the speculative realm for a moment and elaborate on what needs to happen for “Jesus accepts everyone’s lifestyle choice” to be true.

  1. Jesus has to agree you have absolute authority. Our subject declares his lifestyleimages-1 choice. This is his will and desire to live this way. Therefore, because the subject wills it, he is allowed to orient his life to obtain his desires and seek his own personal agenda. Your personal desires grant you authority to pursue and follow those desires.
  2. Jesus cannot tell you to repent, because your life is about you. Repentance requires a person recognize he is self-authoritative, rebellious, and sinful before the Lord. Recognizing sin, a believer desires to abandon the sinful life style and turn off the road and turn to follow Jesus. For Jesus to accept a person’s lifestyle, it means He cannot tell a person to repent, for there is no reason to do so. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17) therefore has no meaning. The cross becomes unnecessary too, since there is no reason to deal with the sin problem.
  3. Jesus cannot be Lord. Because a person’s lifestyle is accepted, requiring his will to be affirmed, his actions supported, and Jesus’ full blessing, it therefore means Jesus cannot be Lord for Jesus cannot tell this person what to do and expect obedience (Matt 7:24). To be Lord means you have the right to direct, instruct, and set standards for the kingdom. Because Jesus is the happy, eternal supporter of your will and desires, He has no right tell you something (aka your lifestyle) is unholy or wrong. Therefore He cannot be Lord because each and every person is his / her own personal Lord. (Yes, you have to now throw out the title Lord, abandon Psalm 2, 110, and see Jesus as a great friend).
  4. Jesus must worship the person. To worship is to serve. “Jesus accepts everyone” therefore affirms Jesus supports each person’s self-rule by serving you affirming your own desires as valid. There is no sin, Jesus is here serving you, affirming He loves you in all your decisions, and reassuring you of your own personal kingdom.

UnknownTo summarize, Jesus must view this person as his own god and worship him. In order for Jesus to accept a person “as I am” Jesus must agree you are your own god. Jesus must also renounce His Lordship and right to be worshipped. For there cannot be two gods. “One cannot serve two masters” (Matt 6:24). In other words, when someone in this context says, “Jesus accepts everyone,” the person is really saying, “Jesus thinks everyone is his/her own god.”

Now the problems begin, “You shall have no other Gods before me” (Deut 5:7). How can this Jesus be the true God if He is willing to allow competing deities? It is contrary to His nature. Jesus is Lord. This is indisputable. Jesus views himself as Lord and tells people to repent, hear His Word, and follow Him (Matthew 4:17, 19; and 7:24). Saying Jesus accepts my lifestyle really means Jesus is not God, but you are.

Jesus did not come to make everyone the king of his or her own kingdom. Jesus came to seek and save the lost. Jesus loves everyone evidenced by His work on the cross dying to save us from the wrath to come so that we can be forgiven, restored, and made holy. Jesus tells all people to turn off the road of rebellion and self-authority, abandon your will, desires, interests, and lifestyle by turning to Him for forgiveness and restoration. Jesus offers entrance into His family. Eternal life is knowing Jesus as Lord and Savior. This is the message of Jesus. It requires abandonment, not reassurance.

*This article first appeared on Shepherdthesheep.com Dec 29, 2014.

[1] The reader would do well to study 1 John. For in this book God tells us He first loved us (4:19), believers love others (4:21), and believers know they love others because they love God and follow His commandments and His commandments are not burdensome (5:2-3).

[2] Now I realize the person can respond saying, “Pedophilia and rape are sin, defined in Scripture.” But to say this agrees the Bible does define sin, where it defines homosexuality as sin (Romans 1).

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Jason Vaughn

About Jason Vaughn

Jason is a graduate of the Master’s Seminary and the pastor of Cornerstone Las Vegas, a Grace Advance church plant. He loves Christ, his wife Kyla, sometimes his kids :), the church, missions, people, and coffee. You can also follow him on his personal blog at shepherdthesheep.com.