Why is the phrase 'accepting Christ' used in evangelism if it is not in the Bible?

The phrase "accepting Christ" is not found in the Bible. As a result, some question whether this wording should be used in sharing the gospel with others. Is it okay to invite people to accept Christ?

While the phrase "accepting Christ" is not found in Scripture, the idea is. Salvation is a free gift from God. Ephesians 2:8-9 states, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." In other words, there is nothing a person can do to earn salvation. Therefore, people often speak of "accepting" Christ and the salvation He offers as a free gift.

This free gift of salvation is something spoken of elsewhere in the New Testament. Romans 6:23 states, "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Paul mentions the "free gift" of salvation on six occasions total in Romans, including Roman 5:17 that expresses, "For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ."

In fact, this is exactly how Jesus communicated the gospel to the woman at the well in John 4:10: "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, 'Give me a drink,' you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water." She did not need to earn this living water, but was challenged to accept it from Jesus.

The related word "receive" is often used in the New Testament regarding salvation. John 1:12-13 teaches, "But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God."

So is it okay to use the phrase "accepting Christ" or not? The idea is certainly biblically based, assuming one uses the phrase correctly based on verses such as those above. Unbelievers are shown the love of Christ by believers, taught the good news of Christ, and are encouraged to receive or accept the free gift of salvation Jesus provides. Those who do so receive abundant life (John 10:10), eternal life (John 3:16), forgiveness of sins (1 John 1:9), new life (Ephesians 4:24), joy (1 Peter 1:8-9), purpose (Romans 8:28), and peace with God through Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).

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