For the Christian, “Receiving Christ” is not the same as the denominational doctrine of “Receiving Christ as one’s personal savior.” “Receiving him” in this context, does not refer to Christ as savior. The context of “receiving Christ” goes at least back to John 1:10: “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not” (John 1:10). Jesus made the world and therefore is Creator. The Jews did not receive him as Creator (John 1:11). The Jews did receive him as an ordinary Jew until he was 30 years old and began to preach publicly. Even then, as he went from village to village, they only received his healing and gifts. However, the Jews did not receive Christ as being their Creator.
What does it mean to receive Christ as Creator? To receive Christ as one’s “Personal Savior” requires a deep gratitude. When Paul saved the jailer’s life in that prison in Philippi, the jailer owed Paul his life. However, the jailer did not live only for Paul from that day forward. In that sense Paul was his savior but not his Creator. A savior has done a good work which requires a great depth of gratitude, but a Creator owns what he creates. “The earth is the LORD’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein” (Psa. 24:1). “Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine” (Eze. 18:4). What belongs to the Creator should be reserved only for the Creator; however, man has ignored the Creator and the Creator’s purpose. Some are willing to give God a token from their abundance, but that is not all that belongs to God. He owns the world and everything in it. He expects man to live only for him and his purposes. “And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Cor. 5:15). Thus receiving Christ is to receive the purpose for which he died, that we would no longer live for ourselves, but for him. In fact, he gives us a specific warning that states that exact principle. “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it” (Mark 8:35). Receiving Christ as ‘personal savior’ is to be thankful for what has been done in the past, and then to turn “every one to his own way” (Isa. 53:6). To receive Christ as Creator (John 1:10-12) is to turn from living for ourselves, lose all that we have, and live only for him and the gospel (Mark 8:35). Those who receive Christ as Creator are given power to become the sons of God, for they believe on his name (authority) (John 1:12). His authority is not for a part of our lives but it is all power (authority) in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18).
Not only is Christ our Creator, but he is also our Redeemer. What does it mean to be a Redeemer or to be redeemed? The significance of being redeemed by the blood of Christ is often only partially understood. To most, a Redeemer is someone who paid the price for our sins. Forgiveness of sins is surely an integral part of our redemption, but only a part. When we sin, we are taken captive by Satan. When we are saved, God has “. . . translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Col. 1:13). Thus we are redeemed from Satan. This is the blessing that we get, but it says nothing about what Christ gets. The word ‘redeem’ is to ‘buy up.’ Christ is our redeemer because he has redeemed “. . .the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28). When Jesus redeems us, he purchases us. We know now what it means to be redeemed. He tells us plainly that “…ye are not your own. For ye are bought with a price” (1 Cor. 6:19-20). Based on that purchase he says, “Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men” (1 Cor. 7:23). This is the reason for his declaration that: “…he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Cor. 5:15). If we are purchased we do not belong to ourselves. We belong to the one of who bought us. If we belong to Christ, then we have no right to live our lives to suit ourselves. This is why Jesus said, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it” (Mark 8:35). When we receive Christ as Creator and Redeemer we belong solely to him in two ways—he owns his creation and he owns what he has purchased. We are truly and only his.