Over and over we hear and read the statement that one must accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior in order to be saved. However, we do not read that over and over in the Bible. In fact, there is no where in the entire Bible where this is stated. The apostle Peter spoke of man being accepted by God. He said, “But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him” (Acts 10:35). The apostle Paul wrote that is was needful for man to be accepted by Christ. He wrote, “Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (II Cor. 5:9-10). Paul told the Ephesians that God “…hath made us accepted in the beloved” (Eph. 1:6), and of course, the beloved is in reference to His Son, Jesus Christ.
So, what is all this about accepting Jesus Christ? Though the word accepted is not used in the Bible in reference to one’s relationship with Christ, the concept is. Jesus said, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). Jesus spoke of people rejecting Him. Rejection is the opposite of accepting. Since those who did not receive the words that He spoke were those who rejected Him, then those who do receive the words that He spoke are those who accept him. Jesus once asked, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? (Luke 6:46). Only those who hear His word and obey His word are those who have accepted Him. Those who refuse to do as He has commanded have rejected Him.
To be accepted by Jesus Christ is to accept what He said about being the Son of God. Jesus said, “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John. 8:24). Many are the passages that show Jesus to be the Son of God and that one must have faith in that fact. When the Ethiopian treasurer asked what hindered him from being baptized, Philip told said, “If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God” (Acts 8:36-37). However, contrary to the teaching of many, this is not all there is to accepting Jesus Christ. When Jesus came to the country of the Gadarenes, he encountered a man with an unclean spirit (Mark 5:1-2). Later we find that the unclean spirit was called “Legion: for we are many” (Mark 5:9). When that unclean spirit saw Jesus he said, “What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God” (Mark 5:7). Though the unclean spirit believed Jesus was the Son of God, still he had not accepted Jesus Christ, for he was not in obedience to His word.
To be accepted by Jesus Christ is to also accept what He said about repentance. Jesus said, “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). When he gave the great commission to His apostles, he said: “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47). One who does not repent of his sins has not accepted Jesus Christ. In the very first gospel sermon preached by Peter, he too stressed the need to repent in order to have forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).
To be accepted by Jesus Christ is to also accept what He said about confessing Him before men. Jesus said, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 10:32-33). John records that when many refused to believe in Christ: “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue” (John 12:42). These men believed in Jesus Christ, but they did not accept Him, for they refused to obey His commands concerning confession. Paul spoke of this confession made with the mouth that preceded salvation (Rom. 10:9-10).
To be accepted by Jesus Christ is to also accept what He said about baptism. Jesus said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16). One has simply not accepted Jesus Christ if they have rejected his command to be baptized in order to be saved. Peter told those on Pentecost to “…Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins…” (Acts 2:38). When one truly accepts Jesus Christ through obedience, then that person will be accepted by Jesus Christ. Any who claim to have accepted Jesus Christ but reject His commands will have failed to be accepted by Jesus Christ.
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