Time and time again I hear, or see someone tell others that God loves you just as you are.  I have said it many times myself and I absolutely agree with it, however I never leave it there because I believe it is only half an idea.

On the one hand – God really does love you and you don’t have to change anything before He will accept you.  In fact, God has already accepted the entire population of the world, past, present and future – Just As They Are.  He did this BEFORE Jesus went to the cross.  John 3:16 comes before John’s account of the crucifixion starting in chapter 18.  Israel was looking for the Messiah for centuries before that first Christmas morning (December 25, 0000).  There is no denying that God loved us long before we loved Him.  There is no doubt God loves us right now just as we are.

On the other hand, God has no desire for us to stay “just as we are”.  The fact is that the best of us are still sinners.  The evil of sin is not that our actions are “bad”.  The evil of sin is that are actions have a direct and adverse effect on our relationship with God.  We have convinced ourselves or (worse) others that as long as it does not hurt anyone – whatever we do is okay (or if we don’t get caught; or whatever happens between consenting adults, etc.).  The fact is that our “innocent” actions often hurt ourselves, and God is always watching and so we always “get caught”, and “adults” don’t always act that way, etc.  God wants to change all that in our lives – to make it better than we can think or imagine.  His goal is to make us like Jesus – perfect.

In order for the better to come, something has to go.  What has to go is “just as YOU are”.  Only then can you become just as HE is.  And that is the real point.