What it Means to Accept Christ – Kent Bailey

Kent Bailey

The explicit phrase, accept Christ, is not found as a direct statement in the New Testament. Even though such is not explicitly or directly stated, but the concept is set forth within the scriptures. Concerning the incarnate person of Christ, John wrote:

He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:10-13).

There is a distinction in the Greek text of the New Testament between His own (ta idia) to which he came and His own (hoi idioi) who rejected Him. The former is neuter plural, rendered literally as His own possession, His own nation. There, His own people—the Jews—received Him not. These unbelieving Jews did not receive Him in that they rejected His Deity. They refused to accept the truth regarding Jesus as being the promised Christ, Savior, and Lord. They eventually consummated their rejection by calling for His crucifixion. They received Him not (paralabon) in the sense that they refused to receive that which had been handed down from another. In the very next verse, however, we note that as many as received (elabon) Him are given the right (exousian) power, or authority to become children of God.

Though his own people, as a nation, rejected Him, many Jews as individuals did receive Him as did a great multitude of Gentiles. In consideration of verse 14 we take note of the fact that receiving Christ, i.e., believing on Christ does not bring one into the state or condition of salvation as the advocates of the false doctrine of salvation by faith alone affirm. Those who receive Christ are given the right, authority, or power to become children of God, i.e., Christians.

While indeed one’s faith is essential to salvation from sin, it is not by itself sufficient to the attainment of such. Faith must be activated in obedience to the gospel by repentance (Acts 17:30), confession of Christ (Rom. 10:9-10), and baptism unto the remission of sins (Acts 2:38).

Thus, accepting or receiving Christ is inclusive of a multiplicity of concepts.

One Must Accept Christ as an Historic Person

One cannot accept Christ and at the same time deny that in reality He lived on earth as a real person (Matt. 1:18-25). One cannot deny the absolute reality and historicity of Jesus and at the same time receive Him.

One Must Accept Christ as a Co-Existent Eternal Being with the Father

The scriptures affirm that God does indeed exist as one divine essence comprised of three self-existent, co-existent persons (Deut. 6:4; Gen. 1:1; 1:26; Matt. 28:18-20). Christ is identified as the second member of the Godhead (John 1:1-4).

One Must Accept the Incarnation of the Person of Christ

There was a specific point of time in past history where Christ the eternal Word became incarnate in human flesh and at His birth became the only begotten Son of God (Gal. 4:1-5; John 1:14; Luke 1:26-35).

One Must Accept the Personal Ministry of Christ on Earth as Factual

Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem and lived on earth for a period of 33 years. During this time He, by means of miracles demonstrated Himself to be the Son of God and the promised Christ. During this period of His earthly ministry He prepared a people to constitute his kingdom upon His return to Heaven (John 20:30-31; Mark 9:1).

One Must Accept the Culmination of the Earthy Ministry of Christ

in His Death, Burial, Resurrection and Ascension

Not only the earthly ministry of preparation, but also the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ was foreknown by God before the foundation of the world (1 Pet. 1:18-23). These elements comprise the facts of the gospel (1 Cor. 15:1-4) resulting not only in His resurrection, but also His ascension and return to Heaven (Acts 1:9-11; Heb. 1:8).

One Must Accept Christ as Being Both

The Savior of Humanity and King of His Kingdom

The term savior is derived from a Koine Greek word that speaks with reference to deliverance. Christ came to offer deliverance or salvation to lost individuals and actually save those who would accept and obey His conditions in one aggregate kingdom, also known as the church (John 4:42; 1 John 4:14; Eph. 5:23). Christ is Savior of the world in that he offers salvation to all. He is Savior of the church in that he actually saves those who comply with his conditions.

One Cannot Accept Christ and Reject His Church

One cannot accept Christ and reject His church any more than one can accept the groom and reject the bride (Eph. 1:22-23; 5:23; Col. 1:13-14

One Must Accept the Conditions of Christ for Salvation

Such is implicit by the very nature of the Gospel (Matt. 13:10-15; Acts 28:24-27; Rom. 6:17-18).

Accepting Christ is indeed crucial to salvation. Accepting Christ gives one the right to obey the gospel and become a child of God.

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Author: Editor

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