Come, Just as I Am?

"Just as I Am" is a hymn written by Charlotte Elliott in 1835. It was made famous as the altar call song used in the Billy Graham crusades.

Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need in Thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, Thy love unknown
Hath broken every barrier down;
Now, to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, of that free love
The breadth, length, depth, and height to prove,
Here for a season, then above,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

The hymn sounds beautiful as hundreds of people get up out of their seats to come down to the platform. You can almost hear Billy Graham telling members of the audience to come; come down from the balcony; your friends will wait for you.

But, can you come to God just as you are? Does God want you just as you are? What exactly does the Bible have to say?

Unfortunately most of those quoted in the Net Testament disagree. You really can't come just as you are.

John the Baptist preached all long the Jordan River. His told people to repent.

Matthew 3:1-3

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight."

Repent means to change your mind. He was telling people to change how they thought about their neighbors and to do things God's way.

At one point some religious leaders went to see what the commotion was all about. They wanted to hear what John was telling the people.

John's message to them was caustic. He told them they were like poisonous snakes and called upon them to repent and demonstrate their repentance by good works.

Matthew 3:7-12

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father,' for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.

"Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

"I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."

John indicated that he was preparing the way for the Lord who was greater and mightier. While John baptized with water, the one coming after him would baptize with the Holy Spirit.

Jesus, of course, was the one who came after John. Jesus' message was similar to John's. Jesus told his listeners to change their thinking and their way of acting.

Matthew 4:17

From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

And what was the alternative to repenting? What will happen to those who do not repent? Jesus gave an answer to that question.

Jesus gave the same answer as John. John talked about burning with unquenchable file while Jesus described that alternative as perishing.

Matthew 13:1-5

There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.

And he answered them, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way?

"No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.

"Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem?

"No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."

Later, when the power of the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples, the Jews from surrounding regions listened to a message from Peter.

Peter told the crowd that the times spoken of by the prophets were no at hand. He then described Jesus as one who did mighty works, but they delivered him up to be crucified. This Jesus, God raised up to sit at the right hand of God.

And the crowd wanted to know what they must do.

Acts 2:37-39

Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?"

And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself."

Peter also told his listeners to repent.

The Apostle Paul spoke to philosophers in Athens. His message also told them to repent. And Paul tells them why it is important to repent.

Acts 17:30-31

The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

Paul indicated that God will eventually judge the world.

If you would rather lean about God from religious songs, you can come just as you are.

But, if you want to follow the instructions of John the Baptist, Jesus, Peter, and Paul you should repent.

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