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How Do We Receive Jesus?
Bible study on receiving Jesus.

We often hear the phrase "receive Jesus" in religion, by people who teach that we say a prayer of faith to receive Jesus.

In this article we review the word "receive," and learn how to receive Jesus as taught by God.

As a result we learn that Jesus isn't received by praying a prayer of faith, a vain system of salvation invented by men, beginning with the 16th century Anabaptist revolution.

Different Usages for "Receive"
In the Bible, the word "receive" is used in different ways.

One way it's used is to receive a person like a friend. In John 4:45, the Galileans received (Greek, dechomai) Jesus, meaning they welcomed Him as a friend.

Another usage of "receive" appears in John 1:12 and John 12:48, where it's translated from lambano, meaning to take, seize hold, take away, receive, try, to take as authority.

  • John 1:12 "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name."
  • John 12:48 "He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day."

How Do We Receive Jesus
We receive Jesus by believing in His name. As a result, we accept Him as the authority of our lives and obey Him (Jn. 1:12; 12:48; Matt. 28:18; Heb. 5:9).

  • "But as many as received Him . . . those who believe in His name" (Jn. 1:12).

To believe in Jesus' name is to believe in His authority and power, resulting in obedience (Matt. 28:18; Col. 3:17; Heb. 5:9).

  • The word "name" denotes authority and power. To do something in someone's name is to do it by their authority and power (cf. Esth. 8:8; Col. 3:17).

To receive Jesus, we must obey Him, otherwise we reject Him (Jn. 12:48).

Illustration: Receive Jesus
For example, a boy was deserted by his father before his first birthday. A few months later, the boy's mother remarried, and he was adopted by his mother's new husband.

The boy grew up accepting his stepfather as the male authority in his life.

Years later, his birth-father decided he'd like to be reconciled with his son. The boy and father met and the boy welcomed him into his home, just as he did his friends when they visited.

In a few days, the boy's birth-father asked him to move in with him, but his adoptive father told him he had to stay home with his mother till he was eighteen.

The boy had to decide whom he recognized as the male authority of his life.

He decided to obey his adoptive father and stay home, rather than authoritatively embracing his birth-father.

This story illustrates the two ways people receive Jesus. Some people receive Him as they receive their friends, and others receive Him as the authority of their lives.

A person who receives Jesus as he would a friend, does not explicitly obey Him. But a person who receives Jesus as the authority of his life, unconditionally obeys Him.

Receive Jesus, Born of the Will of God
As a result of receiving Jesus, we are given the right to become children of God. We are born, not of flesh and blood, but of the will of God (Jn. 1:12-13).

In John 3, Jesus explains this new birth, which occurs when we receive Jesus.

  • "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit" (Jn. 3:5-6).

We are born of water and the Spirit when we are baptized into Christ (Jn. 3:5).

  • We are born again of the word of God, when we obey Jesus (1 Pet 1:2-3, 22-23).
  • We are baptized in water, and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit born of water and Spirit (Acts 2:38).
  • We are baptized into Christ, and rise to walk in newness of life as a new creation (Rom. 6:3-5; 2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15).
  • We are baptized into Christ, and adopted by God (Gal. 3:27-4:7; Rom. 8:15-17).
  • We are baptized into Christ, and made alive together with Christ (Col. 2:12-13).

The Result of Receiving Jesus
Because we believe in Jesus' name, we accept Him as the authority of our lives and submit to His will. As a result, we are born of God when we obey in baptism.

Therefore, the Bible says we have eternal life in Jesus' name (according to His authority and power).

  • "But these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name" (Jn. 20:31).
  • "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life" (1 Jn. 5:13).

We receive Jesus by believing in His name. As a result, we accept Him as the authority of our lives and unconditionally obey Him.

When we obey Jesus' command to be baptized, we are born again, rising to walk in newness of life as a new creation, adopted by God as His child, and made alive together with Christ.