What does it mean to receive Christ?

Few professing Christians would deny the fact that receiving Christ is necessary for salvation. In the gospel of John we read, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12) This is a precious promise I will gladly proclaim for the rest of my life. But we must ask a follow-up question; what does it mean to receive Christ? If receiving Christ is the path to salvation, what does that path look like? If you said faith and repentance, you are on the right track, but I want to go deeper into what that will mean for our lives.

Our adult Sunday School class is currently working through a study called Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ, by John Piper. The title is simply a play on words from Psalm 34:8. “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!” In our most recent study, Piper explains how many people have a mistaken notion of what it means to receive Christ. He describes it this way: “We receive Christ as ‘sin forgiver’ because we love being guilt free. We receive Christ as ‘rescuer from hell’ because we don’t want to burn. We receive Christ as ‘healer’ because we love being disease free. We receive Christ as ‘protector’ because we love being safe. We receive Christ as ‘prosperity giver’ because we love money. And we receive Christ as ‘Creator’ because we love having an ordered universe.”

Here’s the kicker – we receive Christ in all these ways and more, but we don’t receive Christ as SUPREMELY VALUABLE. In other words, we receive Christ in such a way that requires no change in human nature. He is simply a ticket we flash whenever we need it. Piper goes on to explain that receiving Christ in this way is not truly receiving Christ. Without question, this is controversial, but Piper is right.

When you truly receive Christ, it means that Jesus Christ is now more glorious, satisfying, beautiful, and desirable than anything else in the world. Every day we have the great privilege of tasting and savoring the goodness of God in Christ. The more we come to know Christ, the more we enjoy Him. And the more we see of Christ, the less we are captivated by the world. We begin to realize that the things of the world simply cannot compare to the glory of Christ.

So unless you receive Christ as supremely valuable, you have not received Christ at all. Jesus once said, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:37) I love my wife a ton. In fact I love her more and more every day. I also love my twin daughters like crazy. They are wonderful gifts from God. But the Scriptures are clear – if I love my family more than I love Christ, I am not worthy of Christ. The same is true of my job, my possessions or anything else. Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21) If Christ is not your greatest treasure, then what makes you think you will be rewarded with His presence in eternity?

How tragic it is that many people today have a mistaken notion of receiving Christ. While they might see Him as being their ticket to a better life, they don’t see Jesus as supremely valuable – their greatest treasure. So test yourself (2 Corinthians 13:5) and then take hold of Christ.

One thought on “What does it mean to receive Christ?

  1. I like your post. However, is it also ok to struggle with making Christ our “greatest treasure”? Personally, I find it a daily task to struggle to make Christ the first of my affections each day.


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