Friday, October 23, 2015

Have you received the Eternal Christ by faith?

John 1:12-13 "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, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God."

The past couple of posts have focused attention on the Eternal Christ that is revealed in John 1:1-18. So far we have considered the revelation of the eternal Christ and personal testimonies about Him. Today's post will once more appeal to John 1:1-18 and ask you the reader this question: have you received Him into your life by faith? 

The Apostle John writes what we writes not as a philosopher – though the truths of John 1:1-18 are indeed profound – but rather He appeals as an evangelist to the mind to get to the heart of the matter in regards to salvation. The Eternal Christ became man so that all by grace through faith could know Him and thus be connected to God. The Apostle John states in John 1:10-11 “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.” The Eternal Christ had come into the world of the Gentiles and was by and large rejected.

Likewise the Eternal Christ had come to His fellow Jews according to His humanity as their Messiah – and was rejected. I would suggest that John’s comments include the cameo appearances the Eternal Son made throughout the Old Testament in episodes and disguised personages – all of which witnessed Israel of old walking away from Him. The sad truth is that the response to Jesus Christ outside of saving grace is 100% rejection. Lest the Spirit is at work – no one will embrace Him – being that men love darkness more so than Him (John 3:17-19; Romans 3:10-13).

However it is John’s point to make the appeal to receive this Eternal Christ (John 1:12-13). The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 notes the following about God’s work of regeneration in salvation: “Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God's grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace.” 

Wherever there is a willing reception of faith, the scriptures and the regenerating work of God – there will be 100% chance of salvation. Notice how we see those three elements at work in John 1:12-13:

A. The Scriptures work in salvation – John 1:12a “But as many as received Him….”
How else can a person receive or see the need to make room for the Eternal Christ? Only one instrument is used by the Spirit in the conversion of the soul – the scriptures. A person cannot receive something lest it is first given. How else and where else is the Living Christ given? The scriptures (Romans 10:9-16). Romans 10:17 especially notes – “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” So to receive the Lord Jesus Christ – the scripture must be present, but now notice secondly…

B. Reception by faith – John 1:12b “to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name…”
Unless there is a willing heart ready to respond to God’s call through the scripture, there will be no salvation. Faith is a gift given by God (Ephesians 2:8-9). The divine gifting of faith is what transforms into a decision of the will. The mystery of human responsibility and God’s Sovereignty are never in conflict in the scriptures. The responsibility demanded in the Gospel in John 1:12 is set alongside the Sovereignty of God that makes such a response possible in John 1:13.  

C. Regenerating work of God  – John 1:13 “who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
The new birth derives from God (James 1:18). The means of reception granted in salvation is faith (Romans 10:9-10). Such faith is given and leads to trust in Jesus Christ (Romans 10:8-10; Ephesians 2:8-9). Amazingly in this passage, we discover that the miracle birth of salvation in the believer’s life is set alongside the incarnation of Jesus Christ – which of course entailed the unique virgin birth/conception. In short – The Eternal Christ came to experience the miracle birth so that at the moment of saving faith, I too could experience a miracle birth (John 3:1-5). 

Closing thoughts:
Today’s message has been all about considering, heeding and receiving the Eternal Christ. My prayer has been that this message had been used by the Lord to show Jesus Christ in such a way as to either embrace Him by faith for the first time or to embrace Him all the more tightly as a Christian. Consider His revelation, heed the testimonies about Him and receive Him by faith – this is what it means to consider, heed and receive the eternal Christ.

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