As many as received him, to them he gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in his name.
When a child is born, its parent must have its name and date of birth officially entered at the registry office. The Bible teaches us that, in the same way, in order to be entered as one of God’s family birth is necessary: the new birth. Our name will then stand in the “book of life”, heaven’s official register, in which God inscribes those who believe on His Son and have accepted Him personally as their Saviour.
“As many as received him, to them he gave the right to become the children of God”. This is a right, but one uniquely founded upon Christ’s atoning work and not on any merits of our own. I am not a Christian because I am morally better or more religious than others, but because there exists a relationship between the Lord Jesus and myself.
Christianity is not, as is often thought, a collection of ceremonies, dogma and rules. It is the knowledge of Jesus Christ, a bond between Him who gave His life, and us who receive it. This bond, this relationship, is established once for all at our conversion. Having recognized that we are sinners, we accept by faith the free salvation that Jesus offers us, the full value of His death on the cross to blot out our wrongdoings. Being a Christian is seeking to honour our Lord by conduct that is worthy of Him. It is also being taught to live, as the apostle Paul said, “For me to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21).
Image: By Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld – Die Bibel in Bildern, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5490907