Week of July 29
Reject or Receive
By Skip Heitzig
In John 1:11-13 we read that you have the right to become a child of God. What gives you that right? You have to receive.
Eternal life is a gift, a free gift. You receive the gift by believing in Jesus Christ. Of course, wrapped up in that is the idea of repentance, that your way up until now hasn’t been pleasing to God. You’re willing to turn from your sin and receive Jesus Christ as the atoning sacrifice for your sin. But you’ve got to receive. “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (v. 12).
I speak to many people who say, “Well, I believe in God.” I hear that all the time. You’ve got to understand that when the New Testament uses the word for receive, it means to lean on, to rely on, to adhere to. It doesn’t mean to acknowledge; it’s a stronger word than to just intellectually assent to something.
So, those are your choices—reject or receive. Now, you may not like that. You may think, “There’s more choices than just believe or don’t believe.” But all of life boils down to those two choices, for Jesus said, “You’re either for me or against me” (see Matthew 12:30). You could say, “Well, I’m not against Him, but I haven’t really made up my mind.” Oh yes, you have, in a sense. To not be for him, Jesus said, is to be against him. To be undecided is to be decided. You can argue with me, but I didn’t say it, Jesus did.
I’m so glad that He made it that easy, that anybody could get it. Notice this also, that He says we “become” children of God. You see, people are not automatically children of God. If we already were, how would we “become” that? Some people say everyone in the world is a child of God. Yes, in the sense of creation—but not by redemption. To be a true, full child of God is to be one by redemption, and for that you have to receive Him.
Now, there is the idea that there are many roads to God. You’ll get to God by taking other roads, but not in the way you’d like! The Bible doesn’t teach universalism. The Bible teaches that man is separated from God because of the Fall, and that we are sinners by nature and by choice, and thus we need to make a choice to be for God, admitting we are sinners, receiving Him and believing in His name.
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