In the 2002 movie The Rookie, Jim Morris (Dennis Quaid) checks his pitching speed by pitching past a vehicle speed check; however, two of the lights which make up the numbers aren’t working. Instead of reading 95, the number comes up 75. As he walks away dejected the camera swings back to the numbers and the two unlit bars sputter to life revealing the truth. Those missing lights made all the difference in the message.
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
Every translation I checked uses the word “received” in this verse. It’s a powerful statement and it cuts a wide path through witnessing opportunities. So often we talk about Jesus—and that’s good. We talk about church—and that’s good. We talk about the love of God—and that’s really good. We may mention sin, and possibly the word “repent” and those words are really important, but this verse cuts to the chase. For me, this little word made all the difference. I was raised in a Christian home and in church, but that church did not “preach the Gospel.” When I say that, I mean that I never heard verses like: “Ye must be born again (John 3:3),” “But whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13),” and John 1:12. I honestly thought that they were Baptist terms and was shocked when I read them in the Bible for the first time.
So, when a friend sent me a Gospel tract and it dawned on me that I had believed as long as I could remember, but that I had never received Him, I did so that night. As I just read back over the tract, I realize for the first time the power of God’s Word! I always thought that the writer of the tract asked the question, “Have you ever asked Jesus to be your Savior.” IT DOESN’T! It merely quotes John 1:12! When giving my testimony, I’ve always said, “When the tract asked if I had ever asked Jesus to be my Savior, I knew that I hadn’t.”
IT WAS NOT THE WORD OF MAN WHICH BROUGHT ME TO A SAVING KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS CHRIST, BUT THE WORD OF GOD!
One little word: receive.
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
Notice the end of the verse: “even to them that believe on his name.” Hmmm. So… does this verse mean that someone can believe and not receive, which would mean he or she would NOT be a child of God?
That would be my testimony. I “received” Jesus as my Savior the summer before my senior year in high school. Did it make a difference in my life? Absolutely! I shudder to think where I would be if I had not been saved—born-again—converted. I don’t think I would have ended up in jail or anything, but I believe my marriage may have failed, my kids’ lives may have shipwrecked, and I may have been a “successful” career person… and lost!
As we approach the end of another year, would you consider the state of your soul? Have you ever asked Jesus to be your Savior? Have you “received” the gift of salvation? Are you born-again? Believe me, if you are, you will know it! Your life purpose becomes pleasing and serving your Savior. He is not only your Savior but your Master and best Friend.
These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. 1 John 5:13
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17
* (FYI: the term “Cut to the chase was a phrase used by movie studio executives to mean that the audience shouldn’t get bored by the extra dialogue and that the film should get to the interesting scenes without unnecessary delays.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cut_to_the_chase)