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).
Many times men and women stumble over the concept faith, or believe (essentially the same word) in Scripture, claiming that faith is too nebuloustoo difficult to understand. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we have one usage of the word believe aptly defined in our text which helps to negate the charge. Note that received and believe are equated.
In the subject at hand, that is, in salvation, the definition of belief is of immense importance. In fact, the very purpose of the Gospel of John is that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name (John 20:31). Right at the first of his Gospel, John makes it clear what is to be believed and what it is to believe. He does so by equating believing, at least as it applies to salvation, with simply receiving. In nearly every case in Johns Gospel where the word believe is used, if the word receive is substituted, the meaning of the passage stands.
For example, For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever receiveth Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
The concept receive is easy to grasp. It means simply to take hold of, or attain. There is therefore no excuse for one to miss Gods free gift of salvation, claiming he does not understand all there is to know about faith. He only needs to receive Christ as Gods free gift, and receiving is simple. It needs no further definition. He that receiveth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that receiveth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him (John 3:36). JDM