“To all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” – John 1:12
One of the real joys of Christmas is being able to give gifts to children. The adults on your giving list may be politely appreciative. They may show genuine thanks for your thoughtfulness. But there may not be a more visible expression of excitement than that of a little kid opening up the Christmas present you’ve picked out for them.
But think of this: When you give something to a child, you don’t try to make it complicated. You want to make it simple. And God does the same thing. In making His gifts known to us, He can hardly be any more basic.
All we have to do is bow to Him.
When you get down to it, that’s what life is really all about. Every person is given the opportunity to examine the evidence that points to God as Creator—King over all he’s created—and to Jesus Christ, our Savior from sin. Having studied these things and reflected on them, we’re able to arrive at the life-changing conclusion that He is everything He declares Himself to be.
And we bow—willingly. It’s that simple.
Now the Bible uses a number of words for it.
“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).
“Confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead” (Romans 10:9).
“Receive him,” as the Word says in John 1:12, and you can “become children of God.”
But the various terms all generally communicate the same thing. They’re different ways of describing how you bow to the Lord—“with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (Deuteronomy 6:5).
Life at its essence hinges on one straightforward question: Have you bowed your knee to Jesus Christ? The Baby, who became a Man, a Savior, and a King, offers the free, uncomplicated gift of eternal life to everyone who will believe, receive . . . and bow.
The time will eventually come, of course, when “at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,” when “every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10–11). Every knee will be forced to the ground in acknowledgment of his sovereignty and authority. And there won’t be a second chance.
But how awesome that he has given us this window of a human lifetime in which to willingly bow. It’s not that hard. It’s certainly not that complicated. And yet in accepting it, we become like a kid on Christmas morning, opening the one simple gift that’s better than all the rest.
Pastor James MacDonald is an esteemed Bible teacher whose “Walk in the Word” radio and television programs are followed by millions throughout the United States and around the world. He’s the Founding and Senior Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel whose seven campuses are spread throughout the greater Chicagoland area. To learn more from Pastor James’ fearless Bible-preaching, visit jamesmacdonald.com.