A Real Relationship with Our Father
When I recognize and affirm that in my walk of sanctification, I can in one act please God and in another displease him, my daily relationship is moved away from any category of abstraction or theory, and I come to sense the biblical reality of truly relating to God on a daily basis.
Yes, again, we are accepted solely by the work of Christ! Our actions cannot earn or keep a place in God’s family, but as the graciously adopted members of God’s family, we are not dealing with an equation, or a software algorithm, we are dealing with and relating to a Person. One who has accepted us by the merits of his Son, and deals with us day to day as his children. To affirm this, one must acknowledge that there is a significant distinction between being accepted by God and being pleasing to God. It is exactly this distinction that is not made clear by those who confuse justification and sanctification.
The recurring biblical analogy of “Father and child” should help to clarify this distinction. The difference should not be hard to identify, especially if you are a parent. How terrible would it be to have our children do their chores with the idea that they were trying to earn their way into our family or keep their place in our family. No, we want them to recognize that as our children they are accepted by their parents and have a secure place in our family. But that does not mean that their behavior doesn’t bring very real pleasure or displeasure to their mom and dad. An accepted and settled place in the family is not the same thing as whether they will bring joy or pain to our hearts today.