(Article for publication week of 2-13- AD 2014)
"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:" (John 1:12).
Receiving Christ is shown by our text to be practically synonymous with believing in Christ, hence we say that receiving Christ is a principle act of faith.
To receive Christ as Lord and Saviour as He is revealed by the scriptures is an act of faith. To believe in Christ to the saving of the soul is to believe from the heart (Romans 10:10) that you are a poor lost sinner, and trust in Christ Alone for the salvation of your soul. To receive Christ by faith is to reach out with an empty hand and receive Christ and all spiritual blessings in Him. Augustus Toplady, who was a faithful minister in the Established Church of England in the eighteenth century (there were still a number of men in that Church at that time who believed the gospel) poetically describes saving faith in his hymn "Rock of Ages" in the line that says "in my hand no price I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling." Saving, or justifying faith is indeed an empty hand.
The believer in Christ confesses by his faith that he is spiritually bankrupt without a cent to pay. You cannot come to Christ with any of your own righteousness, for you have none (Isaiah 64:6). Salvation is not a partnership between you and Christ, but it is all of the Lord. Christ does not save sinners by Him doing His part, and the sinner doing his part. Christ does it all! Christ does not make up the difference, He pays the whole price. We sometimes sing "Jesus paid it all", and dear reader He certainly did! You cannot be saved as long as you are trying to do your part, or helping the Lord save you. You must acknowledge that you are utterly lost and receive Christ as the Saviour of the lost. Christ will not be received by a hand that has some pretended good works, or morals or ethics in it. It must be an empty hand that receives Christ.
The empty hand that receives Christ, believes in Christ, and receives salvation in Him Alone. The very moment a sinner believes in Christ, that sinner is thoroughly cleansed from all his sins. The recent snow we had reminded me of Isaiah 1:18, "though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow." The very moment dear reader that you confess your sins to God, and plead the righteousness of His Son, you stand justified before God. When you receive Christ with the empty hand of faith, you will be forgiven for all your sins and receive a free and full pardon from God your Righteous Judge. We sometimes sing, "the vilest offender who truly believes, that moment from Jesus a pardon receives." There may be someone reading the Narrow Way this week that feels that you are too sinful for the Saviour to save. Poor sinner, Christ did not come to call the righteous, but sinners such as you and me to repentance.
I preach Christ to you as the able and willing Saviour of all who will repent of their sins and reach forth with empty-handed faith, and receive Him as their personal Saviour. That's right- Christ is the personal Saviour of everyone that receives Him for all that He is. Believer, Christ died for you as if you were the only sinner who needed to be saved. Christ died for a number that no man can number, but He died personally for everyone who would ever believe in Him.
If you have received Christ as your Saviour and Lord I would love to hear from you. You can call me any time at 601-927-5070 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.