Bible Question:

What does it mean to receive Christ?

Bible Answer:

The gospel of John tells us that even though Jesus was born into a world that He created, some people did not receive Him. Both historical records of Pontius  Pilate, Mara Bar-Serapion, the Jewish Talmud as well as the Bible tell us that many rejected Him and ultimately murdered Him. The Jewish leaders eventually motivated the Romans to kill Jesus as recorded in all the gospels. Many rejected Jesus’ teachings, His miracles, His claims to be God and His message. Many did not believe Him. That is, many did not receive Him and submit to Him.

He was not rejected by everyone. Some believed, had their sins forgiven and gained eternal life. Today, we, who live over two thousand years later after His death and return to heaven, can also receive Him and gain eternal life too! Listen to this offer.

He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. 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 1:11-12 (NASB)

The Greek word that is translated as “receive” in this verse is lambano. It is a very common word that simply means “take,” “grasp,” “seize,” “receive” as well as ‘to take to oneself” something or someone. The opposite of receiving something is to reject it – not take it. It was sometimes used of “taking a wife.” This implies that “receiving” Jesus means that a person willingly gives himself or herself to Him and accepts Him.

Receive or Believe?

Receiving Jesus is more than choosing Him because we like Him. John 3:16 helps us understand that it includes believing in Jesus and giving ourselves to Him.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NASB)

The answer to our question is found in the meaning of the Greek word, pisteuo, which means “to believe.” The Greek word for believe is “to believe to the extent of complete trust and reliance on,” “to have confidence in,” “to entrust,” “to have committed to,” “to rely on,” “to enjoy confidence,” and even “to obey.” Here are a few passages in the New Testament where pisteuo is used,

Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust. Acts 14:23 (NASB)

Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.  2 Corinthians 1:9 (NASB)

Some teach that all we must do is to believe the facts about Jesus, but that is not the meaning of the Greek word. We must not only believe the facts about Jesus, but we must also “rely on” and “yield ourselves to” Him. True faith or true belief is faith that depends on Jesus, our God, to forgive our sins just as He said He would. It also includes an acceptance of the fact that Jesus will take control your life. A believer will follow Jesus or in other words become His disciple.

. . . if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved . . . Romans 10:9 (NASB)

One who believes, accepts Him and receives Him. Receiving is the result of faith.


Do you believe in Jesus? If you are interested in more information visit “Peace With God.”

Suggested Links:

Predestination and Free Will
Characteristics of Biblical Faith
The Light