The Myth: “Come as You Are.”

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Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs.  He touched my mouth with it and said, ‘Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.'”-Isaiah 6:6-7

We have all been to particular functions that required us to dress certain way.  Some occasions such as weddings or funerals require us to wear a suit and tie or for the women, a dress, while informal gatherings allow us to wear what we desire.  We wear the proper attire when we come before a judge in a court of law, and in doing so we are showing respect to the judge.  We dress properly for different occasions we enter into.  It would be disrespectful to the host if we did not come properly.  For example, a judge would not allow anyone to be in his or her presence if they were dressed in shorts and a tank top.  They would be escorted out of the court room.  We know how to dress and act according to the occasion.

The same is especially true of coming into the presence of God.  In the Parable of the Marriage Feast in Matthew 22:1-14, the King sends out His slaves to call those who had been invited to the marriage feast but they were unwilling to come.  The King then says, “The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy.”   The King sends His slaves out into the streets and gather all they found, both good and evil.  Jesus goes on to say, “But when the King came in to look over the dinner guests, He saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, and He said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And the man was speechless.  Then the King said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'”  The Parable teaches that there must be a change before we can enter the marriage feast of the King.

This is also seen in Isaiah 6:6-7.  Isaiah sees the exalted Christ sitting upon His throne.  Isaiah is immediately aware of his own sinfulness and calls down an oracle of doom upon himself: “Woe is me, for I am ruined!”  Notice, the Lord did not say, “Isaiah you’re ok just the way you are,” or, “Isaiah, do not think yourself so terrible.”  No. Instead, we see an angel dispatched from God to take a coal from the altar.  The angel had to use tongs because the coal was so hot, and the angel is commanded to touch the coal to Isaiah’s lips.  Isaiah then hears these words, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.”  Isaiah was in need of a cleansing!  God did not accept Isaiah as he was.  Isaiah needed to be clothed properly to come into the presence of the King of Kings.  Isaiah states in 64:6 that our righteousness is as filthy rags. Everyone is clothed in unrighteousness and as a result, are separated from God.  When God calls us to Himself, He gives us the proper attire.  Isaiah 61:10, “I will rejoice greatly in the Lord, my soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness.”

God accepts none as they are.  He requires the new birth, which brings about the inner cleansing, and repentance and faith in Him.  Apart from the heart change brought about by the work of the Holy Spirit, no cleansing will take place.  We know when the cleansing has taken place in the life of a person when he or she desires to obey God and give his or her life in service to Him.  Friends, there is no where in the Scripture that we read of God accepting us as we are.  It is because of who we are that His wrath is upon. What we have lost and what the church needs to recover in its teaching and sharing of Christ is repentance.  None can have God’s salvation without repentance.

 

Writer Bio 

Joshua BanksJoshua Banks is senior pastor and founder of Shepherd’s Rock Bible
Church in Kingsport, TN. He holds a Bachelors degree in Ministry from
Luther Rice University, a Master of Arts in Theological Studies, and a
Master of Divinity both from Liberty University. Joshua and his wife
Amanda, along with their 5 children, reside in Gate City, VA.

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