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I submit that we can ONLY "come as we are" when we 'enter into His courts' (Psalm 100:4); there's no way to fake it with the Lord. I realize the question is 'do we need to clean ourselves up' before "entering His courts". Well, you can wash and scrub and comb and shave and anything else that might seem proper, but it won't make you anymore acceptable after doing all that. Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28. This scripture says to me that the Lord receives us in the shape we're in and begins to sanctify us for His own personal use. This is the part of the matter I believe to be overlooked by many in the body of Christ, the fact that we are coming to Jesus to be used by Him, for His purpose. When we read Romans 9 we read of God's sovereign choice over our lives. Paul explains that God chose Jacob over his older brother Esau before they were born and had "done nothing either good or bad" - in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of Him who calls. Romans 9:11. A few verses later he reiterated his point by reminding us of the way God dealt with the Pharaoh in Egypt during the Exodus. "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed in all the earth". God's purpose, God's power, God's name. If you "come as you are" to the Lord, you have been called by Him "as you are", you didn't wake up smart. "I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy". Exodus 33:19. "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me". John 6:37. This doesn't mean we play no part in God's plan for our lives, that's a negative interpretation of scripture. All the promises in Him are yes. 2Cor 1:20; Yes is positive! When we discuss a bible principle, whether it be of sin, redemption, or sacrifice, we are exploring and considering the GRACE of God, and is often not keenly aware of it. I believe this is why the discussion usually gradually moves to an analysis of how we are to live in order to prove (establish the truth or genuineness of) our status. This is non-productive in every conceivable spiritual way. Without God's grace there is no SACRIFICE for SIN that leads to REDEMPTION for man. Jesus is the door John 10:9. Grace is the hinge the Door swings on Eph 2:8. But what part do we play? Me, I rest in Him. He gave me rest, so I take full advantage and rest in Him. An understanding of God's grace is necessary to rest in it. And I am sure of this, that He who BEGAN a good work in [me] will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ Phil 1:6. It's all on Him....
Each generation has its own terminology. The bible does not cover every saying that comes along from each generation. We have the ability to interpret the bible's meaning by our intellect and the wisdom of God through his Holy Spirit. The word of God covers all people in all circumstances and situations so there won't be any confusion or excuses. God made people on this earth to be diverse that leave us without excuses Roman 1:20. 1. All who have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Roman 3:23 2. All human Fragilities and problems are common to men. 1 Corinthians 10:3 3. God have no partiality when it comes to clothes. Acts 10:34,35 4. All who labor and heavy laden. Matthew 11:28 5. Jesus was sent for the poor, broken hearted, captives and blinds. Luke 4:18 6. Last but not least suffer the little children to come unto me. Mark 10:14. There are several scriptures that shows Jesus had no prejudices. We can conclude Christ died for all 1 Peter 3:18,2Corinthians 5:15. Even though the saying,"Come as you are" is man's summarization of Jesus calling for all nations in all generations. We don't have to worry about cleaning up ourselves before we get introduce to him. Just willing to give up our ways of life and follow him.
Does the Bible say come as you are? If I might for the sake of clarification restate the question; "does God invite us to come to Him as we are? The answer is yes as has been explained above. The things that need to be clear to every person who hopes to come are twofold. What it means to come AS YOU ARE and more importantly, you are coming to GOD AS HE IS. For us to begin to have a true knowledge of ourselves as well as a true knowledge of God the Holy Spirit must grant to us illumination. When I am brought into the presence of by the Holy Spirit the thing that will be start becoming more clear to me about myself is that I deserve the wrath of God. The thing that will be made clear to me about God is that His is more merciful and gracious than I ever dared hope. Eph. 2:1-3 1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others." The person who is invited by God is made alive to these devastating realities about the kind of person he really is. This usually doesn't happen all at once but at least something of the desperate, lost, helpless, condition he is in is made clear. And on the other side Eph. 2:4-5 "4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)," The person made aware of his desperate hopeless condition is also made aware that the only hope that a sinful person like me has is mercy. To his utter amazement what this person discovers is, the God that he has sinned against has sacrificed His only Son so that if I will call upon His name the name of Jesus I will be saved. Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."...........Romans 10: 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”" So I am invited to come as I am to God as He is and if I come in the Name of Jesus I am granted a sure ground of hope that I will be accepted. He has already appeared in my name and for that He endured the utter horror of the wrath of God in my place so that I can appear in His Name and receive His reward of eternal life Eph. 1:3-6 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved." If the person responding to the invitation thinks they can come just the way they are the way they see themselves to a god the way they imagine him to be without faith in a crucified, dead, resurrected, Son of God and be accepted on that bases they are still dead in there trespasses and sins. If this is the case with you. By the authority of almighty God in the name of Jesus I invite you now to call upon the Name of Jesus that you might be saved.
I think the confusion over this phrase “come as you are” stems from the misguided belief in the world that people need to earn a right standing with God. They think that happens when they get rid of the bad stuff in their lives (sin) and do enough good deeds that God will accept them. The church tries to counter this false belief by saying “no, no, no you can’t earn your salvation, it is a free gift from God so just come as you are”. And it is true the church welcomes anyone to come as they are to hear the gospel message of Jesus Christ, to sit at Jesus feet and listen to his teaching, so to speak. But when anyone wants to begin a right relationship with God, they are entering into the New Covenant that God has established through Jesus Christ. Any covenant or agreement has conditions placed on both parties. For God’s part he has provided the means for our salvation through the birth, life, suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus became the atoning sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sin so we could receive the righteousness of God as a free gift. God seals his part of the covenant by giving us his Holy Spirit, who causes us to be Spiritually born again and eternally alive. Our part is quite simple but equally important. In my view, God has 4 conditions for our part of this covenant: Believe, Repent, Accept, Baptize Before anyone can decide whether they want to enter into this covenant they need to hear what the covenant is all about. The bible refers to this as the gospel of Jesus Christ. Every word of the New Testament (Covenant) provides valuable information about this new relationship that God is prepared to begin with us. This knowledge gives us the capacity to BELIEVE. The message of the New Testament tells us we are separated from God because of our sin and that we need to REPENT. God expects us to confess our sin and to forsake (turn away from) it as the deepest desire of our heart. We can’t change ourselves, but once we desire that change God will transform our lives by the power of his Holy Spirit. Once we are ready to tell God how much we need Jesus to save us from the consequences of our sin, God is prepared to extend his free gift of salvation, but we need to tell him that we ACCEPT his gracious offer. Finally, we need to ink our name to the covenant document and tell the whole world we are joining the universal church of Jesus Christ by being BAPTIZED.
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