God Loves You Just as You Are?

God loves you just as you are

God loves you just as you are? – Riekert Botha seems to love posting posters on his Facebook that, at first glance, look genuine Christian-like. But, are they?

Riekert Botha’s maxim on the left can be viewed from two perspectives – from a believer’s and an unbeliever’s perspective, and in both cases, they are loved by God just as they are.

Godly love is not dependent on who or what a person is in himself/herself, or what they can achieve of their own accord. God, who is the very essence of love, can do nothing otherwise than love his creatures.

Nevertheless, love alone, even God’s love, cannot and does not save. It is the sinner’s response in faith alone to God’s Gospel of love that saves sinners from an impending fiery pit of hell. This is precisely why the Psalmist says, “I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. (Psalm 138:2).

Riekert Botha
Riekert BothaRiekert Botha

However, Botha’s question, “Does He?” seems to suggest that God only loves sinners (and, indeed, both believers and unbelievers are sinners – 1 John 1:8-10) when they have repented and submit to his authority. And this, my dear friends, is what they call “LORDSHIP SALVATION.”

It asserts that if anyone does not live in complete obedience to God, he or she is not saved. I suppose this is the self-same reason why Botha overstates and emphasises, and often botches the meaning of God’s authority (sovereignty). In fact, in most of his YouTube sermons he never presents the simple Gospel of how to be saved very clearly, but almost always emphasises the authority of God.

Repentance in lordship salvation requires that you first turn from your sins before God can shower his salvific love on you, and then, subsequently, for you to make Jesus your Lord to obtain eternal life. Consequently, lordship salvation is conditional on how the sinner reacts to Christ Jesus in terms of submission to his authority. In fact, it is akin to saying, “You first need to repent (turn from your sins and make Me your Lord) before I can love and die for you on a cursed tree.” The two above-mentioned perspectives that we need to look at, are the following.

What is the meaning of “just as I am” from a believer’s perspective?

To answer this question adequately, we must remind ourselves who or what a believer is in Christ Jesus.

Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

This is the core reality of what “just as I am” in a believer’s life truly means. If Christ is God’s beloved Son in whom He is well-pleased (Matthew 17:5), and, certainly, He is, the whosoever in Christ are already brand-new creations and therefore well-pleasing to God.

They cannot be anything less or more than well-pleasing to God. If they’d been anything else, it would mean that God was not well-pleased with his own work of creating new creatures in Christ, his Son. As such, every redeemed person may boldly say, “God loves me just as I am in Christ Jesus.”

Is God well-pleased when believers sin? No, of course not. Does his love for them dwindle and cease whenever they sin? No, of course not. Does the knowledge of his wondrous undying love give believers the freedom to sin? No, of course not. All these difficult truths are all dealt with extensively in Scripture.

“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:1-2).

The believer’s Advocate and High Priest, Jesus Christ, lives forever to intercede for every single believer on the earth. His intercession is ceaseless and, therefore, his love for them is also unending, regardless of their sins, and even those sins they do in ignorance. King David says in Psalm 19,

“Who can understand his errors? Cleanse Thou me from secret faults. Keep back Thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me. Then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent of the great transgression.” (Psalm 19:12-13).

Christ’s high priestly role at the right hand of his Father as our Intercessor, even in the scope of ignorant sins, is foreshadowed in Leviticus 4, “Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a soul shall sin through ignorance against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things which ought not to be done, and shall do against any of them: . . .” (Leviticus 4:2).

Then it goes on to explain that a bullock without blemish had to be slain and it’s blood sprinkled seven times (a symbol of completeness, thorough forgiveness and restitution) before the veil of the sanctuary and some of it on the horns of the altar as a sweet incense before the Lord. “As a sweet incense” speaks of complete satisfaction and approval in the eyes of the Lord. (Genesis 4:4). How much more is God’s approval of his Son’s blood which He shed for the sins of every single human being since time immemorial up until this very moment, when He entered heaven after his resurrection with his own blood, once and for all? (Hebrews 7:24-28).

“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)” (Hebrews 10:19-23).

It does not say that the believer must first repent and again make Jesus his/her Lord so that God may again shower his love on them before they may enter the holy of holies in heaven. It says that every believer has the boldness, the confidence to enter God’s sanctuary in heaven by the blood of Jesus. Riekert Botha’s maxim “God loves you just as you are, Does He?” is a very subtle denial of the power of Christ’s blood.

What is the meaning of “just as I am” from an unbeliever’s perspective?

To answer this question satisfactorily we must go back to 1 John.

“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:1-2).

God’s love for both believers and unbelievers is impartially 100% equal, as demonstrated by Jesus Christ’s impartial propitiation for the sins of both believers and unbelievers. Paul confirms this magnanimous truth in his epistle to the Romans.

“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6-8).

The phrase “while we were yet sinners” is another way of saying “just as I am.” God does not want you to repent SO THAT He may love you; He wants you to repent BECAUSE He loves you and desires THAT everyone to be saved. Riekert Botha’s poster, “God loves you just as you are. Does He? Why then does He call us to repentance,” is wicked and a misrepresentation of God’s love. It is another gospel.

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Tom Lessing (Discerning the World)

Tom Lessing is the author of the above article. Discerning the World is an internet Christian Ministry based in Johannesburg South Africa. Tom Lessing and Deborah Ellish both own Discerning the World. For more information see the About this Website page below the comments section.

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