First, a disclaimer. I include my email address for anyone to use to comment, either positive or negative, regarding the content of any message of mine that gets posted. To clarify this, I will respond to any real inquiries that I receive. For anyone who wants to challenge the existence of the Heavenly Father, or any other antichrist or false prophet attempt to dispute the relationship I have with Jesus, I have no problem using the “delete” key. I have made typos in the past that I didn’t catch, and will always accept “constructive criticism” for this. (emphasis mine)
Having said this, I received an interesting email that advised me I am wrong to say we must “accept” Jesus as our Savior. The stipulation given was, we receive Jesus because accepting Him would be an act on our part, and we can do nothing for our own salvation. I have addressed this issue in the past, and am happy to explain my belief on this.
First, anyone who believes they can do works to earn their way to heaven (Ephesians 2:8-9) is my reference of choice. “For by grace you have been saved through Faith. And this is not of your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one can boast.”
This dispels the idea we must do works to earn our Salvation. Once we have accepted Jesus as our Savior, we will want to repent of our past sinful life, and anything we do that may be classified as a “good deed” is done to honor the Savior, to show our love for Him, not to think we’ve earned anything. Always remember Isaiah 64:6, “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.”
How about those who think they can buy or purchase their way into Heaven? Acts 8 tells about the apostles laying hands on people, and the people then received the Holy Spirit. A man named Simon (not Peter) was a magician, and loved to amaze those around him.
Acts 8:18-20, “Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given (gift) through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit. But Peter said to him, may your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money.”
Anytime we give anything in the name of Jesus, it’s to bring all praise and glory to Him, not to us. If we give even a glass of water to someone in need, it honors our Savior, and we will have pleased Him.
Matthew 10:42, “And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple (believer), truly, I say to you he will by no means lose his reward.”
If we do anything to bring attention to ourselves, it is D.R.T. (dead right there)!
On another issue, just because our parents, grandparents, or whomever have or had accepted Jesus, we are not automatically saved because of them. Our Salvation is an individual blessing that no one else can “claim” for us. I heard a gospel preacher say in a message a long time ago, “Don’t hang on to the shirttail of any preacher, thinking it will pull you into Heaven; that shirttail may just be headed for hell.” I was a pre-teen when I heard this, yet it still stands out in my mind. Heaven is mine alone to gain or mine alone to lose. It’s totally my choice. Naturally, I choose to have My Jesus in my life!
As for “accepting” or “receiving” the gift of Salvation, consider this scenario: While at home, a delivery person brings you a package, and you “receive” it. It’s addressed specifically to you; you put it on a table, but you don’t open it. The package just sits there for a while, and eventually gets discarded without ever having been opened. You received it, but did you “accept” it?
Let’s review Romans 10:9-13, “because if you confess with your mouth (an action on your part) that Jesus is Lord, and believe (another action by you) in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (God’s promise to us). For with the heart one believes, and is justified, and with the mouth confesses and is saved. For the scripture says; everyone who believes in Him will not be put to shame. For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing His riches on all who call on Him. For everyone who calls (receives and accepts) on the name of the Lord, will be saved.”
Acts 2:21 is another verse I often refer to, “And it shall come to pass, that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Paul said in 1 Corinthians 14:19, “Nevertheless, in Church, I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.”
By the way, a Miriam Webster definition of “accept” is to willingly receive something, as in accepting a gift. If this is so, where does the conflict lie? Accept and receive both refer to gaining something, and in this case it is to gain eternal life for our souls.
God’s word is given to us in a way that He wants us to be able to understand. No, we will never fully be able to know and understand everything that is in any version of the true Bible; however, issues about the difference between receive and accept should not cause a conflict. To say someone has to accept Jesus as their Savior would naturally include receiving Him into our lives.
The real concern is to believe Jesus is the Son of God and, therefore, is also God Himself (John 10:30). The stance today among many false prophets is that Jesus was just a good person, but not really part of the Godhead. This should be declared from the rooftops that it’s totally wrong. Yet, in many evangelical organizations, it has become a “new understanding” of what “God really said.” What that means is they’re presenting Satan’s lies as being truth, which started in the Garden of Eden with, “Did God really say?” (Genesis 3:1).
Unless a specific word challenges the meaning of God’s true word, the message is still the same as it’s always been. For example, “Four score and seven years ago…” is the same as saying “84 years ago.” It’s just more poetic the first way. Some people prefer the old English of the King James Version, and others prefer a more current language edition. As long as God’s word has not been “altered to add or take away from the meaning,” as given in Revelation 22:18-19, there should be no problem.
The mechanics of being saved are the same today as when Jesus walked this earth the first time. He made it very clear, He was here for the benefit of everyone, Jew and Greek alike. In John 10, Jesus said He was the Good Shepherd that “lays down His life for the sheep.” He said He had “other sheep” that are not of this fold,” referring to everyone, not just the Jews. He said He must bring them also, and they will listen to His voice, so they will “be one flock, one Shepherd.”
Jesus was not forced to give His life; He gave it willingly (John 10:18). Likewise, He will force no one to accept Him. All who hear the word, and by Faith receive and accept Jesus (Romans 10:17), will be added to His flock. Review Romans 10:9-13 again, and then go to Acts 4:12, and finally John 14:6. These are our assurances that Jesus is truly who He says He is; and if we have Him in our heart as our Savior, then we will be with Him forever.
Encourage one another with positive messages about the Savior, and stay away from the “new age” or “new world order” garbage. John said in the last days, antichrists and false prophets will increase (1 John 4). We are seeing this happen, and the rate is increasing faster by the day. The world wants to accept Satan and his lies; but for a believer, these are obviously something to avoid.
We will see persecution of anything that pertains to Jesus increase steadily. In several countries today, Christians are being martyred just for believing in and accepting Jesus as their Lord and King. We need to be in prayer for all our Christian brothers and sisters everywhere.
The day will come soon for the shout of the archangel, and the trumpet/shofar blast that will call all believers to be “caught up in the air” to meet Jesus (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53). Be ready. Once the call goes out, it will be too late for those who don’t have Jesus in their hearts to be raptured.
It could be today, tomorrow, or any moment. Christians, true believers, will never have to worry about their eternal future. Jesus Himself will prepare a place for us with Him (John 14:1-3). God is giving the world a bit more time so everyone can have the chance to repent and accept His Son. Eventually though, the time will come, and the “few” that have accepted Jesus will be taken (Matthew 7:13-14). Be a part of the “glorious minority.”
Ahavah Olan! (Love Everlasting)