HARDLY a week goes by when I don't receive in the mail one of those applications for a new credit card. You know, the ones that say something like, ``Due to your credit rating you have been pre-accepted to receive this card....'' It always sounds so great -- no hassles, no red tape, no need to worry about acceptance. I can't respond to all these offers, but recently it occurred to me that ``pre-accepted'' could describe our status with God.
What a marvelous assurance! The children of God are completely approved, worthy, and justified. Why? Because the one perfect God is All and has created all. Therefore His creation is also perfect and good and wholly spiritual. ``Deity was satisfied with His work. How could He be otherwise, since the spiritual creation was the outgrowth, the emanation, of His infinite self-containment and immortal wisdom?'' explains Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.
As we accept and express our true nature as God's children, we can each live our lives with the knowledge that we are already accepted instead of fearfully wondering what our relation to God is. We have the best possible example for this in the life of Christ Jesus. He was actively conscious of God's perfect love. And he lived and worked, as Matthew's Gospel tells us, within the benediction ``This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.'' This precious blessing of God's approval is our heritage as well, and we can claim it as we understand more fully our true, spiritual identity and part with the sin that would hide man's true nature as God's expression.
This doesn't mean, however, that God accepts or approves evil or wrongdoing. Quite the contrary! As we come to understand more completely our genuine, spiritual identity as God's offspring, we are regenerated. And we know that we are freed from the bondage of sin when our everyday thoughts and actions conform ever more closely to man as God has created him.
These ideas came to me at a time when I was struggling hard to correct some mistakes I had made. I felt as though no matter how hard I tried, I would never win back the trust of those who had been affected by my mistakes. Then one morning as I was praying, I thought of the credit card applications. I was suddenly reminded that I didn't need to ``get back'' God's acceptance, and this assurance filled me with the certainty that God was, had always been, would forever be, loving me as His spiritual idea. I couldn't lose this spiritual selfhood, but I did have to claim it and live it. I also felt a renewed sense of appreciation for everyone's spiritual selfhood, and this freed me from feeling afraid, or resentful toward the individuals I thought were condemning me. What an uplift this was! In I John we are assured: ``Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.''
We are not struggling, then, from a basis of sin toward happiness, harmony, acceptance, purpose, or approval from God or man. We are working out from our God-bestowed perfection, demonstrating, or proving, more and more of our innate goodness. And we can rest assured that our approval will never be in question with God.