Come as you are, but Don't Leave as you were
I have used the phrase, "come as you are, but don't leave as you were," many times over the years. I recently used it in a social media post. After I posted it I thought about it and realized that there may be some people who do not understand what I mean by the statement.
Over the years I have had several people, who I have invited to our church, respond with a statement that indicates to me that they are uncomfortable visiting a church because they do not feel like they measure up to the standards of religion, or of God, or other people. They seem to think that they need to change their lifestyle, or their dress, or their language, or stop whatever habit they may have before they would be welcome into a church building. I started to use this phrase to help people realize that they are not expected to be perfect to attend church. In fact, if that were true there would not be anyone capable of attending church. The Bible tells us in Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." This doesn't meant that it is okay to continue sinning and falling short, but there is not one perfect person in this world. You can never clean yourself up to match God's standards. So my desire is to have people come as they are so that they can learn how to be cleaned by God. Romans 6:23 tells us, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Jesus is the only way to eternal life; the only way to get cleaned up. When we try to clean ourselves up, without Jesus, we are simply attempting to gain Heaven on our own merits. It cannot be done. We fall short of God's glory. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
When I say, "don't leave as you were." I mean that as you listen to God's Word and hear about His way of salvation you would respond to Him. That you would turn to Him for salvation and you would allow Him to clean you from the inside out. It starts with the heart. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Romans 10:9-10. After God cleans us the Holy Spirit now lives in us. Scripture tells us in a few places that we are to consider ourselves crucified with Christ and dead to sin. Romans 6:1-2 says it this way, "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?"
Don't try to clean yourself up. Allow God to clean you. Then allow Him to keep you clean. If you don't have a church home, you are always welcome to come to Victory Baptist. Come as you are, but don't leave as you were.