Is Receiving Christ Passive?
10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1)Believing and receiving are what give men the right to be children of God. Men are charged with “not receiving” Him. Contra wise, one does not will oneself to be born again. This verse is such a wonderful marriage of divine sovereignty and human freedom. People can receive Him or “not receive Him,” but don’t take any credit for being born again because it is all of God. Both sides of the coin are presented here.
In verse 12, “but as many as received Him” uses the Greek word below:
to take - accept, + be amazed, assay, attain, bring, X when I call, catch, come on (X unto), + forget, have, hold, obtain, receive (X after), take (away, up).
In verse 12, the word for “faith” is this Greek word:
to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing), that is, credit; by implication to entrust (especially one’s spiritual well being to Christ): - believe (-r), commit (to trust), put in trust with.
Some have said that this is passive, like “receiving a blow to the head.” Does that sound passive? Not to me. When people are being born again, they actively welcome Him and what they are hearing of Him into their knowledge. This dispels –for me- any idea that someone would receive eternal life from Christ while rejecting great truths about Him. Receiving and rejecting are contrasted here. Some welcomed Him, some rejected Him. “Receive” is put in contrast to “received him not.” Is “received him not” also passive? Not. The Jewish leaders in large part rejected Him, “received Him not.” They were accountable for this active rejection.
I think the idea that “received Him” in verse 12 is passive, like receiving a blow to the head, actually has a lot in common with the Calvinist idea of regeneration preceding faith and the lopsided view of divine sovereignty that non-Calvinists eschew. :~)