“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)
If there ever was a day we need to live and walk by faith and in the power of God, it is now. The world is starving for something far more than what it has and it is in the realm of Christian responsibility to deliver.
If all we have to offer is a few songs and a Sunday morning sermonette, it is likely many will miss spending an eternity with Christ. While the Baptist focuses on the word “receive” in the above verse, the Pentecostals focus on the word “power.” We need balance and we need both.
Having my roots in Pentecostalism and in scripture, I can tell you much about the word “power.” We have broken that word down so many times that we should have blown up the universe with its dynamic force. However, we must look at the word “receive,” if we’re going to make proper use of the power available.
The Baptist, along with other denominational thought, places much emphasis on “receiving Christ,” as if it were a passive thing to do. To some receiving Christ grants eternal security. While this is true, I believe to go into the depths of Christ and lay hold of the power to live a godly life in an ungodly world, we must aggressively lay hold of Him.
The Greek word for “receive” is, “lambanw,” pronounced, “lam-ban'-o.” It means, that which when taken is not let go, it is to seize for oneself, to lay hold of with passion and aggression.
Understanding the text in light of the way it was written helps us to better understand its implication. What is the implication? When we lay hold of Christ, not passively, but aggressively, we will then have the power He imparts. To lay hold aggressively is to be involved in our Christian life. It is to study God’s word and spend time in prayer. It is to worship Him in thought, word and deed.
Those who aggressively and passionately receive the gift of salvation will in these last days be powerhouses in their communities of faith and in the world. We must do away with the passive idea of Christianity and walk worthy of Christ. It is as if we have laid hold of the plow and are forbidden to look back. We are living in a day when the kingdom of Heaven is suffering violence, but aggressive faith will take it by force. (See Matthew 11:12).
Leonard Ravenhill once said, “The world out there is not looking for a new definition of Christianity, it’s waiting for a fresh demonstration of Christianity.”
“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of those whose heart is perfect toward him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9)
Sue West can be contacted at email@example.com.