Come To Christ Just As You Are
Unlike many faith systems, coming to Jesus does not demand any external changes. Although Jesus and the disciples were all Jews, as were most of the early believers, the gospel was soon welcomed by Gentiles who were not required to be circumcised. But that was a problem for some devout Jewish religionists who believed that God wanted to preserve external distinctives.
However, circumcision, which was a promise to obey the Old Testament law, was redundant in Christ's new covenant, because none of us can keep His law (Romans 2:25-29): all are sinners (Romans 3:23). That is why the apostles taught, "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord …" (Acts 3:19). Repentance mixed with faith in Jesus alone gave access to God's grace, a refreshed clean future and the assurance of being accepted by God.
So faith in Jesus, rather than any external marking or rite, was the unifying entry point for all believers. It did not matter what background a person came from; what mattered was that they believed in the Lord Jesus Christ for their salvation (Acts 16:31). After conversion they were baptized, but it was not baptism that made them believers; it was faith in Jesus.
People come to Christ from a myriad of backgrounds. But many of our friends and colleagues think that either they have to do something or undergo some rite if they are to be acceptable to God. We need boldness to affirm Jesus' answer to the question, "What must we do to do the works God requires?" Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent." (John 6:28-29). In our morally confused workplaces, that is very good news indeed! They must come just as they are and let God change them from the inside.
© Dr Paul Adams