12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
This is one of those wonderful groups of verses in the Bible that spells out true doctrine so clearly and powerfully. What does it mean to receive Christ?
We believe who He said He was.
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me…9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
John 10:30 I and my Father are one.
Acts 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
God then gives us faith.
Galatians 3:22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
We then, by His power, become the children of God, the sons of God, perhaps replacing those lost sons of God who kept not their first estate in Genesis 6; 2Peter 2:4; and Jude 1:6 or who follow or followed Satan in his own rebellion as per Revelation, chapter 12.
We are saved as God responds to that belief and that faith.
Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
By believing on His name we receive Him and God gives us power to become the sons of God.
Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
This was not done by your will, by your good intentions, by the heartfelt desire to change your life, make amends for wrongdoings, or sorrow for your sins. This was accomplished by the power of God in acknowledgement of your belief and your reception of the faith He immediately gave you. You did not purchase salvation, you did not earn it, and you cannot keep it on your own. It is all a work of God. There is only one work you can do to obtain salvation.
John 6:28 ¶ Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.