A photo of diverse individuals, each embracing their unique identity, gathering together in a welcoming and inclusive space, capturing the essence of "come as you are" mentioned in the Bible.

Where In The Bible Does It Say ‘Come As You Are’?

The popular phrase ‘come as you are’ has become widely known from the contemporary Christian worship song by Crowder. However, the idea of accepting people just as they are, with all their flaws and brokenness, has its roots in Scripture.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: While the exact phrase ‘come as you are’ doesn’t appear in the Bible, there are several passages that convey a similar message of God’s radical grace, forgiveness, and acceptance of all people.

In this in-depth article, we will explore the biblical foundation for the ‘come as you are’ ethos. We’ll look at key stories and verses that showcase God welcoming flawed people, discuss what this means for our relationships with God and others, and explain why living out ‘come as you are’ grace is central to following Jesus.

The Woman Caught in Adultery

The Story and Jesus’ Response

The story of the woman caught in adultery is found in John 8:1-11. Here’s a summary: The scribes and Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery before Jesus and challenged Him – the Law of Moses commanded that she should be stoned, what did Jesus say?

This was a trap intended to pit Jesus against the Law. But Jesus responded by writing in the sand, and saying “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” One by one, the accusers left after being convicted by their conscience.

When only Jesus and the woman remained, He told her that He did not condemn her and to go and sin no more.

This story reveals Jesus’ non-judgmental ethos. He refused to condemn the woman, even though she had clearly broken the Law. Jesus focused on her future potential rather than her past mistakes. His message was clear – condemnation and judgement are not the solution.

Instead, we should have mercy, grant forgiveness, and encourage others to move forward in a positive direction. This aligns perfectly with another famous saying of Jesus: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” (Matthew 7:1).

A Non-Judgmental Ethos

Throughout His ministry, Jesus consistently displayed a non-judgmental, merciful ethos. He taught that we should not judge others or we too will be judged by the same standard (Matthew 7:1-2). Jesus emphasized loving others, including enemies and outcasts of society like Samaritans and tax collectors.

He protected the woman caught in adultery from being stoned, saying “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7). Jesus also told parables equating God’s mercy to that of a forgiving father (Luke 15:11-32) and a shepherd who leaves his whole flock to find one lost sheep (Luke 15:3-7).

Clearly, Jesus was more interested in restoration than retribution. He came to redeem sinners, not condemn them. His interactions with individuals like the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:1-42) and Zacchaeus the tax collector (Luke 19:1-10) demonstrate this.

He saw people for their value and potential, not just their past failures. This non-judgmental ethos characterized His ministry and continues to shape the ethos of Christianity today. Though imperfectly lived out, Christians are called to emulate Jesus’ model of offering undeserved mercy instead of judgment to a world in need of grace and second chances.

Jesus Welcomes Children

Jesus Values the Less Valuable

In the gospels, there are several instances where Jesus welcomes and blesses children. This reflects His teaching that the Kingdom of God belongs to the poor, weak, and vulnerable – those often dismissed by society.

As the Kingdom turns worldly values upside down, Jesus affirms the value of those typically judged as insignificant.

For example, in Mark 10:13-16, people bring their children to Jesus for Him to bless, but the disciples rebuke them. Outraged, Jesus responds: “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (v.14).

He then blesses the children, showing that despite their seeming unimportance, they have equal access to God’s grace and fellowship.

Similarly, in Matthew 18:1-5 when the disciples ask Jesus who is greatest in the Kingdom, He answers by placing a child before them, saying: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (v.3).

Jesus teaches that childlike humility, trust and dependence on God should characterize Kingdom citizens, rather than worldly notions of status.

Kingdom Ethics

Jesus’ welcoming of children also reflects Kingdom ethics – how God’s people should treat the weak and vulnerable. Scripture consistently shows God as defender of the marginalized (Psalm 82:3-4), and commands His people to follow suit (James 1:27).

By embracing children – the epitome of dependence – Jesus models this Kingdom care for the least.

In the ancient world, children were legally powerless, socially insignificant, and largely unvalued. High infant mortality meant they weren’t invested in. Jesus’ actions undermine these norms – He recognizes their equal status in God’s eyes, and as Bearer of the Kingdom, brings them into His community.

This has implications for Christ’s Church today. While some dismiss children’s ministry as less important than adult discipleship, Jesus’ example calls us to value and prioritize nurturing kids’ spiritual growth.

They may seem small and insignificant, but as Jesus showed, in God’s upside-down Kingdom the least are the greatest.

The Prodigal Son

The Younger Son’s Rebellion

The parable of the prodigal son is found in Luke 15:11-32. It tells the story of a father and his two sons. The younger son asks his father for his share of the inheritance before the father has died. This is highly disrespectful in that culture, since it is like wishing the father was dead.

The father surprisingly agrees and divides his estate between his two sons.

Having received his portion of the inheritance, the younger son leaves home and travels to a distant country where he wastes all his money in wild living. After spending everything, a severe famine hits the country and the son is left destitute.

He hires himself out to a citizen of that country who sends him to the fields to feed pigs. The son is so desperately hungry that he wishes he could eat the pods the pigs are eating.

Finally coming to his senses, the son realizes that even his father’s hired servants have food, clothing and shelter. He decides to return home, confess his sin and ask to be one of his father’s hired servants. The son knows he is no longer worthy to be called a son after the way he acted.

The Father’s Lavish Embrace

As the son approaches his home, his father sees him coming and is filled with compassion. He runs to embrace and kiss his lost son before the son can even recite his rehearsed apology. This is totally unexpected, since running was considered undignified for older men in this patriarchal culture.

The father is so overjoyed, he orders the servants to bring the best robe, ring and sandals for his son.

The father declares a celebratory feast and exclaims, “For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!” (Luke 15:24). The older righteous son hears the noise and asks what it is all about.

He becomes angry when he learns a feast is being held for his wayward brother’s return. The father comes out and pleads with him to join the celebration explaining, “We had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found” (Luke 15:32).

This poignant story illustrates God’s incredible love, mercy and desire for reconciliation. No matter how far we run, He eagerly awaits our return with open arms. His grace is not based on our merit or what we deserve.

When we come to our senses and come back to Him, there is great rejoicing in heaven. We can take comfort in knowing there is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.

The Woman at the Well

A Surprising Samaritan Woman

In John 4:1-42, Jesus has a conversation with a Samaritan woman that changes her life. This story takes place while Jesus is traveling through Samaria on his way back to Galilee. In that time, Jews and Samaritans generally disliked and avoided each other.

Yet Jesus speaks openly with this Samaritan woman, offering her “living water” that leads to eternal life.

The story begins with Jesus arriving at Jacob’s well in the town of Sychar in Samaria, which is near the field Jacob had given to his son Joseph (John 4:5). Tired from his journey, Jesus sat by the well while his disciples went to the town to buy food.

A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus asked her for a drink. The woman expressed shock that Jesus, a Jew, would speak to a Samaritan woman (John 4:9). Jesus told her that if she knew who he was, she would have asked him for living water.

Jesus used the metaphor of “living water” to refer to salvation and eternal life.

Intrigued, the woman asked Jesus where he would get this living water since the well was deep and he had nothing to draw water with. Jesus explained, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.

Indeed, the water I give them will become a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13-14). Jesus revealed his identity to her as the Messiah.

Jesus confronted the woman about her lifestyle, having had five husbands and living with a man now. The woman recognized Jesus as a prophet and discussed worship on the mountain versus in Jerusalem. Jesus asserted that true worshipers would worship God in spirit and truth, foretelling a time when locations wouldn’t matter.

The woman mentioned her anticipation of the Messiah, and Jesus plainly told her, “I who speak to you am he” (John 4:25-26).

Jesus Offers Living Water

The disciples returned, and the woman left her water jar and went to tell the people in town about Jesus. Many Samaritans believed because of her testimony. They urged Jesus to stay with them, and Jesus stayed two days.

Through his words many more believed, and they told the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world” (John 4:42).

The conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman illustrates Jesus’s willingness to minister to marginalized people disregarded by others. Jesus crosses ethnic and gender barriers to offer her the living water of salvation through him as the Messiah.

Jesus knew everything about her, yet he offered her grace and new life. His words resonated deeply with her.

This passage shows that Jesus came to save people from all nations. No one is excluded from the gift of salvation through him. He alone provides the living water of eternal life by grace through faith in him.

Just as this woman’s life was eternally changed, Jesus offers his living water to all who believe in him as the Messiah.

Come As You Are Grace in Action

Welcoming the Outcast

Jesus often welcomed and spent time with outsiders and outcasts that society shunned. He embraced people regardless of their background, sins or flaws. Some examples in Scripture show Jesus’ grace in action:

  • Jesus speaks with and forgives the Samaritan woman at the well, who had a questionable background (John 4:1-42).
  • Jesus allows a sinful woman to anoint and worship Him, defending her actions to Simon the Pharisee (Luke 7:36-50).
  • Jesus heals 10 lepers, even though lepers were outcasts at that time (Luke 17:11-19).

In the Gospels, Jesus is often criticized by the religious leaders for welcoming and eating with “tax collectors and sinners” (Luke 15:1-2). However, He uses these opportunities to demonstrate God’s gracious love and forgiveness to all.

Jesus meets people where they are, instead of waiting for them to measure up.

Meeting People Where They Are

Jesus didn’t require people to clean themselves up before coming to Him. He met them in the midst of their brokenness and offered healing and redemption. For example:

  • When tax collector Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus, He went to Zacchaeus’ house even though tax collectors were despised (Luke 19:1-10).
  • When a paralyzed man wanted healing but couldn’t reach Jesus, his friends lowered him through the roof (Mark 2:1-12). Jesus responded to his faith and healed him.
  • When Jesus met an invalid at the Pool of Bethesda, He healed him even though the man didn’t know who Jesus was (John 5:2-15).

Jesus emphasizes that He came first for the spiritually sick, not the righteous (Mark 2:17). He offers salvation and transformation to anyone who comes to Him in faith, regardless of their current condition.

Some references on God’s grace and welcoming the outcast:


While the exact phrase ‘come as you are’ isn’t stated verbatim in Scripture, we see its ethos lived out across Jesus’ ministry. He routinely sought out those dismissed by religious elites, embraced the downcast, and met people where they were — not where others demanded they should be.

The ‘come as you are’ invitation speaks to the wideness of God’s mercy. It assures us we don’t have to clean our lives up before approaching Jesus; he meets and transforms us in our messiness. This grace is a hallmark of the gospel and essential as followers of Christ relate to the world around them.

Similar Posts