Is the concept of receiving Jesus into our hearts really biblical? Not really.


Receiving Jesus into our Hearts?

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away and look, new things have come.
2 Cor. 5:17

The title of today’s article reflects a commonly held belief regarding salvation, but is it biblical? The Bible says nothing about receiving Jesus “into our hearts,” but it does say that, in some way, we must “receive Jesus” in order to become a child of God (John 1:12). It’s like accepting a gift that is being offered. It’s a matter of the will. We must be willing to receive it.

 Today’s verse is often seen as being the same as “receiving Christ,” but look closer. It’s different in two ways. First, it speaks of becoming a new creation, not a child of God. Second, it says we must be “in Christ.” Here, we are being place into Christ, not bringing Christ into us. It’s talking of two different things which come about in two different directions. Here we have a great example of failing to understand why different words and terms are used to describe things we think are similar. Every word is important and may bring an entirely different meaning than the one we have assumed.


Today’s familiar verse says we are transformed into an entirely new creation by being placed “into Christ.” We become one with Him. We become spiritually “absorbed” into His life becoming like Him. He becomes our new identity. We become partakers of His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). Since His life is eternal life (John 17:3) and we are now “in Him,” what happened to Him in the past happened to us. When He died, was buried and was resurrected, so were we (spiritually). The life He shares with us is the same life that was His while He walked the earth after His resurrection. Let that sink in!

We “live out” our union with Christ simply by walking in the Spirit while denying the desires of the flesh (Gal. 5:17). While the power of sin (and the flesh) was broken (put out of business) at the cross, we can still give in to the flesh. We have a clear choice—to operate in the power of the flesh or the Spirit.

This brings us back to the idea of receiving Jesus into our hearts. The problem is that it suggests that instead of inviting Jesus to become our new life, we are deciding to keep our old one and bring Jesus along to help us live the Christian life. As God proved with the failure of the Jews to keep His Law, history has proven our incapability of living the Christian life, even with Jesus’ “help.” Only Jesus can do it. Therefore, we can do it only by allowing Him to live out His life through us. Receiving Jesus into our hearts conveys the notion that our old life doesn’t need to die. It only needs a little help from Jesus.

I hope you can see why we should present salvation as receiving Jesus as our new life instead of receiving Him “into our hearts.” I believe this would save the new believer the frustration of attempting the impossible.



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