John 1:12 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:
This verse may well hold the key to explaining the plan of salvation successfully. We must receive Christ. Those who do receive Christ are given the power to become the sons of God. We become, spiritually, part of the family of God. Those who receive Christ are those who believe on His name. “Believe on His name” is not a concept people who are new to hearing the Bible’s message will readily understand. In the Bible, “his name” has reference to his character, including faith that He will do as He has promised. Today marks the 60th anniversary of the date I personally received Christ. I just learned lately that this date marks Billy Graham’s birthday. Today is Billy Graham’s 95th birthday. If my mathematics is correct, I was saved on Billy Graham’s 35th birthday. I had heard Billy Graham earlier that Fall at the State Fair Grounds in Detroit where he held an evangelistic crusade. I attended with the Methodist Youth Fellowship (MYF) that my neighbor Mrs. Cole had invited me to attend. I remember praying for the salvation of those who had raised their hand to go forward at the Billy Graham service, never realizing that I myself had never accepted Christ, or received Him as my Savior. That past summer I had begun reading a little New Testament that once belonged to my Aunt Norma. My brother had found it in our Grandmother’s farmhouse in a book closet, and graciously let me have it when I asked for it. I began reading it avidly that August so I could learn it well to avoid being embarrassed all the time by not knowing the answers to Bible questions posed by my Sunday school teacher at Highland Park Baptist, Dean Sawdon. In late October I participated in a Bible Quiz at the MYF, and won. I think the Lord must have had all the smart kids stay home. I was to represent the youth group against all the other youth groups in the city in just two weeks, Saturday, November 7, 1953, at the Holiness Youth Crusade monthly meeting at the Detroit Institute of Arts auditorium. I read the New Testament from Matthew to 2 Corinthians in those two weeks. While delivering The Detroit Shopping News that Saturday morning, I thought over what I had been reading daily from the little New Testament. I realized that I had never personally received Christ, though I had gone to church since my parents carried me to church and Sunday school when I was still an infant. I stopped for a few moments while folding the next newspaper to deliver to a house on Lumpkin street. I stood under a young oak tree and prayed to receive Christ and salvation. No one was with me. There was no church in sight. In fact, I recall thinking “Maybe I should wait until tomorrow, Sunday,” when I could ask my Sunday school teacher at Highland Park Baptist Church how to be saved. Then I thought, it might not be wise to wait, for I had no guarantee of tomorrow. So I prayed right there where I was. I remember vividly I was whistling the Gospel tune, “Now I belong to Jesus, Jesus belongs to me, not for the years of time alone, but for eternity” as I continued on my paper route. I learned how to be saved by reading the New Testament, believing what it said, and receiving Christ as I prayed for forgiveness and for eternal life. By experience, I know it is possible to read the New Testament, and find Christ as a result. Some of the verses that most impacted me then and helped me make a decision to receive Christ are those I’ve been posting in this series about Bible Verses About Salvation. If you find it possible to learn these verses by heart as I did, you will find God will open doors of opportunity for you to share your faith in Christ and lead others to Him.
For those who desire to DIG DEEPER into this subject:
(1) Consult the cross references given in Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible on pages 1161-1162 for John 1:12.
(2) Consult the cross references given in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 1182 or in Logos 5 Bible software for John 1:12.
(3) Lacking access to those two resources, consult the cross references for this passage as I have developed them as given below:
John 1:12. as many. T 1:4. Ju 3. received. Jn 8:47. 19:27. Dt 30:19. Is 53:1. Mt 10:40. 13:23. 18:5. Mk 4:8. Lk 8:8. *18:17 with Mt 18:3. Ro 5:11. Col **2:6, 7. Re **3:20. to them. Is *56:5. Je 3:19. Ho 1:10. Ro 8:14, 15. 2 C 6:17, 18. Ga 3:26. 4:6. 2 P *1:4. 1 J 3:1. 5:1. gave he. Mt %+27:43. Ph **2:13n. power. or, the right, or, privilege. Jn 20:17. Ga 3:26. 4:4-6. Ep 1:5. He 13:10. 2 P 1:4. Re 22:14. to become. FS96C4, Mt +3:17. Mt 5:45. T 1:4. 1 J 3:1. the sons. T#584. Jn 8:39. +11:52. Dt 14:1. +33:9 (T#672). Ps +119:1 (T#504). Mt 13:38. Ac +13:48 (T#254). Ro *8:14-17. 2 C 6:17, 18. Ga **3:26, 29. *4:4-7, 31. Ep +1:4 (T#255), 5. 5:1. 1 J *+3:1, 2. of God. Jn 20:17. 2 S +*7:24. even. Jn 2:23. 3:18. **20:31. Mt 12:21. Ac 3:16. 1 J *3:23. **5:12, 13. believe. or, [are] believing. T#183. Jn *3:15, 16, 18, 36. 6:28, 29, 40, 53, 54. *8:24, 47. 11:25, 26. Mt 12:21. Mk 16:16. Ac +3:19 (T#601). 10:43. **16:31. 18:27. Ro *10:4, 10. Ga 2:16. Ph 1:29. 2 Th *2:10-12. He **11:6. Ja +5:20 (T#175). 1 J 2:23. **5:10-12, +13. 2 J 9-11. 3 J 4. on. Gr. eis. Eric Sauer points out that “the word faith is associated with the Person of Jesus Christ in a fourfold manner. (1) We believe on Him, literally “into” Him (Gr. eis). This means that He is the object of our faith, its living goal, its magnet. Faith is always in motion towards Him” (From Eternity to Eternity, p. 45). Sauer notes the significance of other Greek prepositions and grammatical structure related to saving faith: (2) We believe in Him (Col 1:4), Gr. en, denoting where, as a determined place, our faith is placed: we are in Him, “in Christ” (Ro 8:1n). (3) We believe upon (Gr. epi) Him, Ac 16:31. Ac 2:38n. (4) We believe Him (2 T 1:12), “faith” in Greek is joined to the dative case of the person trusted, signifying “He is the person to whom our faith refers and in whom personally it centers” (From Eternity to Eternity, p. 46). his name. i.e. himself. Note.—As the name of God denotes his character and attributes, the revelation of Himself by which he is known (Ex 3:13-15. 6:3. +*34:5-7. Jn 17:6), so the name of Christ denotes his person and offices as Saviour; and to believe in his name is to believe the revelation he has made, and trust in the work he has accomplished. See Mt 1:21, 23; Ac 4:12; 8:12; Ro 1:5. Compare Mt 28:19 (De Burgh, p. 224). FS144A4, Ge +4:26. FS121T1, Dt +28:58. Jn 2:23. 3:18. 14:13, 14, 26. *15:16. 16:23, 24, 26. **20:31. Ps +20:1. Mt 12:21. Ga 3:26. 1 T 1:15. 1 J 2:12. 3:23. **5:13. 3 J 7. Re 2:3, 13. 3:12. 14:1.