Believe It, Receive It
by John D. Morris, Ph.D.
“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3:36)
The final verse of the great hymn “My Hope Is in the Lord” states a truth Christians know but need to be reminded of occasionally: The work of salvation is all of God; we could do nothing on our own. Within God’s sovereign plan, that work includes our hearing, understanding, believing, and receiving the gospel.
His grace has planned it all,
’Tis mine but to believe,
And recognize His work of love
And Christ receive.
The great redemptive plan of God spans all of time, from creation to the consummation of all things, with a central focus on the cross of Christ. Because of what was accomplished there, we and all creation can be purged from the effects of sin and we will live forever with Him.
Our text verse speaks of believing on Him, but it is not sufficient to merely believe, for “the devils also believe, and tremble” (James 2:19). We must also receive His free gift of salvation. At times the two concepts are used in parallel. “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).
He has done it all. He created all things (Colossians 1:16) and upholds all things (v. 17). After His created humans rejected Him, He redeemed them by the blood of His cross and reconciled all things back to Himself (v. 20). He corporately leads the church (v. 24) and will reign as King forever (Revelation 19:16). No wonder our hope is in the Lord. JDM