As many as received him, accept Christ to them gave he power to become the sons of God.
The people who shut their doors on Christ always shut out great blessings; those who open to Him let all heaven’s love and joy into their lives. Some say it does not matter whether they receive Christ or not. They believe in God’s mercy and love, and do not see why they need to accept Christ. Here it is made very plain that the only way to receive God’s love and mercy is by receiving Christ. Only those who accept Him become God’s children. Christ is the only way to God, the only door into the Father’s house. To refuse Christ is to refuse adoption into the family of God.
Then we also learn another thing from this morning’s text . Some people are puzzled to know how to become Christians. Here the way is surely made as plain as a pathway of light. Christ comes to us as the one Mediator, the Son of God, the divine Saviour; and we have only to receive Him, to accept Him with our hearts, and commit ourselves to Him. “But there is that mystery of the new birth. I can’t understand that,” says someone. You have nothing whatever to do with that; for does not this verse say that if we receive Christ we become the children of God?
The same sentence goes on to say that those who thus receive Christ are born again; but it says expressly that this change is not their own act, not the act of any man, but is divinely wrought, they are born of God. All that belongs to us is simply to receive Christ. We have nothing whatever to do with the mystery of the new birth. That is God’s work, and He is able to effect it. Our part is the acceptance of Christ; God will change our hearts. If we accept God’s Son as our Saviour, the new life will at once flow into our heart, and we shall become children of God, not by any fiction of name, but by the communication of divine life.