John 1:12 Commentary

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Charts from Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission
Another Chart from Charles Swindoll


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BY GOSPEL OF JOHN (shaded area)

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John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name: hosos de elabon (3PAAI) autonexousian tekna theou genesthai (AMI), tois pistemomsin (MPDPAP) eis to onoma autou (NASB: Lockman)

Barclay - To all those who did receive him, to those who believe in his name, he gave the right to become the children of God.

KJV John 1:12 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:

NET John 1:12 But to all who have received him– those who believe in his name– he has given the right to become God's children

ASV John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name:

BBE John 1:12 To all those who did so take him, however, he gave the right of becoming children of God -- that is, to those who had faith in his name:

CJB John 1:12 But to as many as did receive him, to those who put their trust in his person and power, he gave the right to become children of God,

CSB John 1:12 But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name,

DBY John 1:12 but as many as received him, to them gave he the right to be children of God, to those that believe on his name;

ESV John 1:12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,

NAS John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,

NIV John 1:12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God--

NLT John 1:12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.

GWN John 1:12 However, he gave the right to become God's children to everyone who believed in him.

NAB John 1:12 But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name,

NJB John 1:12 But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believed in his name

NKJ John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:

NRS John 1:12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God,

RSV John 1:12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God;

TNT John 1:12 But as meny as receaved him to them he gave power to be the sonnes of God in that they beleved on his name:

WEB John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them he gave power to become the sons of God, {even} to them that believe on his name:

YLT John 1:12 but as many as did receive him to them he gave authority to become sons of God -- to those believing in his name,


Compiled by Bruce Hurt

But - Whenever you encounter this term of contrast, ask what is the author contrasting? In this case it is unbelief by His own with belief by the many. I love John Phillips comment on this contrast - "Oh, those revealing buts of the Bible. They are small hinges on which great truths and destinies swing." Always pause to ponder whenever you encounter one of these little "hinges." You never know what great truth your Teacher the Holy Spirit might illumine as you read the text in context! In this context, we are grateful that John 1:11 was not the end of the story! Revelation did bring rejection, but praise God that through His Spirit it also wrought reception! And so while the majority of Jews rejected their Messiah, there was (as there had always been throughout the Old Testament) a Remnant, a small group who entered through the small gate and trod the narrow way (Mt 7:14-note), by grace through faith, into the Kingdom of God and eternal life with their King! And as discussed below the phase "as many as" opened the "small gate" so that the Gentiles might enter the Kingdom by belief in Messiah's Name! This truth of salvation for both Jews and Gentiles caused Paul to pause one of the most beautiful doxologies in Scripture...

For just as you (Gentile believers) once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their (Israel's) disobedience, so these also now have been disobedient, in order that because of the mercy shown to you (Gentiles) they (the believing Jewish Remnant) also may now be shown mercy. For God has shut up all in disobedience that He might show mercy to all. (Jews and Gentiles) Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, OR WHO BECAME HIS COUNSELOR? Or WHO HAS FIRST GIVEN TO HIM THAT IT MIGHT BE PAID BACK TO HIM AGAIN? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:30-36-note)

Spurgeon - This is a blessed “But.” Though Christ’s own nation, the Jews, as a whole “received him not,” there was “a remnant according to the election of grace,” there were some who received him. “But”

MacArthur expresses it this way "The conjunction de (but) is a small fulcrum that marks a dramatic shift. The world’s hatred of God and rejection of Christ in no way overrules or frustrates God’s plan, for He makes even the wrath of men praise Him (Ps 76:10). There will be some who receive Him. Those whom God willed for salvation before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4; 2Ti 1:9) will in faith embrace Christ. As He declared in John 6:37, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out." (John 1-11 MacArthur New Testament Commentary)

Jon Courson - Praise God for the word "but." How many great truths swing on this small hinge!

Note the three verbs - received...become...believed. Now placing them in the order of their occurrence we have received...believed...become.

As many as - This phrase is equivalent to the pronouns whoever (Webster = "Any one without exception; any person whatever") or whosoever (Any one; any person whatever) which fling open the door of salvation to both Jews and Gentiles. Sadly this was a truth the Jews had a difficult time accepting in the early church (cf Acts 11:11-3, 15:1, 21:20-23, Gal 2:12-14) for they felt that they had special benefits based on their physical (ethnic) lineage (Abraham, Moses, circumcision, etc). This open invitation (so to speak) is similar to Paul's declaration (quoting the OT prophet Joel 2:32) that "Whoever will call upon the Name of the LORD (Jehovah) will be saved (cf will be "born of...God" = Jn 1:13)." (Ro 10:13-note). It follows that calling upon His Name is one aspect of receiving (and believing in) Yeshua the Messiah. It should be noted that throughout Scripture until the very end of His revelation, this "as many as" attitude reflects the Father's heart toward His rebellious creatures, John recording

And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." (Rev 22:17KJV-note)

Pink writes “as many as,” no matter whether they be Jews or Gentiles, rich or poor, illiterate or learned, receive Christ as their own personal Savior, to them is given the power or right to become the sons (better “children”) of God."

MacArthur on received Him...believe in His Name - The second phrase describes the first. To receive Him who is the Word of God means to acknowledge His claims, place one’s faith in Him, and thereby yield allegiance to Him. ((MacArthur Study Bible).)

Utley on as many as received Him - This shows humanity’s part in salvation (cf. v. 16). Humans must respond to God’s offer of grace in Christ (cf. Jn 3:16; Ro 10:9–13; Eph. 2:8–9).

Received is aorist tense (at a moment in time, the moment we believed in Jesus) and active voice which implies that this receiving is a volitional choice, a choice of one's will to believe.

Steven Cole - These verses state the purpose for which this Gospel was written and thus form an inclusio (like “bookends”) with Jn 20:30-31. They also strike the balance between human responsibility (we must receive Christ by believing in His name) and divine sovereignty (those who believe in Him were not born of human decision, but of God). (John 1:6-13 God’s Witness, Your Verdict)

Westcott - The Jews as a nation did not receive Christ as Him for whose advent they had been disciplined (trained) (Jn 1:11); but this national rejection was qualified by the personal belief of some. These (many) however believed as men, so to say, and not as Jews.....The privilege of Israel (Ex. 4:22) was extended to all the faithful.. (The Gospel According to St John)

Vincent on received - The simple verb of the compound paralambano in Jn 1:11. The meaning of the two verbs is substantially the same (according to Alford, De Wette, and apparently Meyer), though some recognize a difference, as Milligan and Moulton, who render paralambano, accepted, and lambano, received, and say that “the former lays emphasis upon the will that consented (or refused) to receive, while the latter brings before us the possession gained: so that the full meaning is, As many as by accepting Him, received Him.” For the use of the simple verb, see Jn 5:43; 13:20; 19:6.

John Piper says "Receiving Jesus means that when Jesus offers Himself to you, you welcome Him into your life for what He is.

• If he comes to you as Savior, you welcome his salvation.

• If he comes to you as Leader, you welcome his leadership.

• If he comes to you as Provider, you welcome his provision.

• If he comes to you as Counselor, you welcome his counsel.

• If he comes to you as Protector, you welcome his protection.

• If he comes to you as Authority, you welcome his authority.

• If he comes to you as King, you welcome his rule.

Receiving Jesus means taking Jesus into your life for what He is. It does not mean a kind of peaceful co-existence with a Christ Who makes no claims—as though He can stay in the house as long as he doesn’t play his music so loud.

As Leon Morris says ""The end of the story is not the tragedy of rejection, but the grace of acceptance." (Ed: Or one might say the tragedy of rejection and the triumph of reception)

A W Pink - Salvation comes to the sinner through “receiving” Christ, that is, by “believing on his name.” There is a slight distinction between these two things, though in substance they are one. Believing, respects Christ as He is exhibited by the Gospel testimony: it is the personal acceptance as truth of what God has said concerning His Son. Receiving, views Christ as presented to us as God’s Gift, presented to us for our acceptance.

As Spurgeon puts it "Faith is described as 'receiving' Jesus. It is the empty cup placed under the flowing stream; the penniless hand held out for heavenly alms."

Received (2983)(lambano-see word study) speaks of a literal taking hold of, obtaining or grasping. John often uses the terms accept/receive (lambano) in a theological sense - (1) Of receiving Jesus, negatively (Jn 3:11, 3:32); positively (Jn 1:12; 3:33; 5:43; 13:20). (2) Of receiving the Spirit, negatively (Jn 14:17), positively (Jn 7:39). (3) Of receiving Jesus’ words, negatively (Jn 12:48), positively (Jn 17:8)

As MacArthur says "To receive Christ involves more than mere intellectual acknowledgment of His claims." (John 1-11 MacArthur New Testament Commentary)

ESV Study Bible says received "implies not merely intellectual agreement with some facts about Jesus but also welcoming and submitting to him in a personal relationship."

John Piper makes an excellent observation on received the right to become children of God - We need to be born. We need to have spiritual life. That is what God does according to John 1:13 without any help from us—“not of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of a man, but of God.” We are born of God by a free act of sovereign grace. He chooses us before we choose him. But when God does that, what we now have is a newborn sinner. The spiritual life is present, but so is sin, and a whole history of sin! In this condition we would have no right to take our place in the house of God—no authority, no empowerment. Except for one thing. God not only provided the regeneration by which we are born again, but also the authorization by which we can lay claim to our inheritance as children, even though we are sinners. And that is precisely where Jesus comes in. The moment you believe in Jesus, the moment you receive him for who he really is, in that moment he gives you not new birth, but the right and authority, as a sinner, to lay claim to your inheritance as a child of God—to become legally, as it were (with due authority), what you are by virtue of new birth—because you were “born of God.” (How to Become a Child of God - Desiring God)

Life is uncertain,
Death is sure;
Sin the cause,
Christ the cure.

Vine on John's selection of lambano instead of paralambano (as used in John 1:11) - lambano, a simple but spontaneous acceptance from individuals, whether Jews or Gentiles, and so a simpler verb than that used before of the Jewish nation.


Believers are receivers of the greatest gift ever offered, the gift of a "second chance," a new birth, a new life, a new destiny, now and forevermore! How tragic that so many men and women spurn this priceless, gracious gift from God! But just as sad are those who have received this gift and yet choose to live in relative ignorance of their elevated status, instead carelessly compromising with the godless world that has been conquered by their King (Jn 16:33, Gal 6:14-note)! Remember, as discussed below right refers to authority.

THOUGHT - Dearly redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, do you grasp what John is saying? We who are blood bought and heaven bound have received the authority from on high to confidently claim the exalted title "Children of God!" If that doesn't make you shout "Hallelujah!" I don't know what will!

He gave (1325)(didomi) means to give and is based on a decision of the will of the giver without any merit of the recipient. The clear implication in this passage is that salvation is a sovereign work of God Who gives the right to become children of God. It is a gift of God's sovereign grace. As Paul explains "by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift (doron from same root as didomi) of God not as a result of works, that no one should boast." (Eph 2:8-9). Compare these other uses of didomi by John which depict God's sovereign bestowal (Jn 5:27; 10:18; 19:10-11; 17:2)

All John's uses of didomi -

John 1:12, 17, 22; 3:16, 27, 34-35; 4:5, 7, 10, 12, 14-15; 5:22, 26-27, 36; Jn 6:27, 31-33, 37, 39, 51-52, 65; Jn 7:19, 22; 9:24; 10:28-29; Jn 11:22, 57; 12:5, 49; Jn 13:3, 15, 26, 29, 34; 14:16, 27; 15:16; Jn 16:23; 17:2, 4, 6-8, 11-12, 14, 22, 24; Jn 18:9, 11, 22; 19:3, 9, 11; 21:13

The right - When we believed in the Word, the true Light, we in turn received the privilege of access to God's family. Paul goes a step further in Romans 5:1-2 explaining what happens when we were justified by faith (received and believed in Jesus) - "Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom also we have obtained our introduction (prosagoge) by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God." (Ro 5:1-2-note)

To become (1096)(ginomai) means to come into existence, to cause to become or come into being and signifies a change of condition, state or place. Ginomai is the root of the verb gennao (used in Jn 1:13-note) which means to beget, to give birth, to produce offspring (cp our English word - "gen"-erate).

Ginomai is in the aorist tense (punctiliar) which describes an instantaneous intervention, decisive and at a moment or point in time. In other words ginomai in this context refers to a historical time in the past, the moment of our new birth when God gave us the privilege to be part of His family.

And so ginomai means to become something (a child of God) that one is not. As Paul said "if any man is in Christ (the result of being born of God - Jn 1:13b-note), he is a new creature (he has become a new creation - ktisis). Behold the old things have passed away. New things have come." (2Cor 5:17-note) James adds that "In the exercise of His will (boulomai - reflecting God's sovereignty in our new birth) He brought us forth (apekueo) by the word of truth, so that (term of purpose) we might be, as it were, the first fruits among His creatures." (James 1:18-note)

Right (1849)(exousia) means the power to do something and was a technical term used in the law courts, of a legal right. "Authority or right is the dominant meaning (of exousia) in the New Testament." (Vincent) Exousía refers to delegated authority and combines the idea of the "right and the might", these attributes having been granted to someone. Sinners saved by grace through faith have been given the authority, the "right and the might," to become members of God's family as His children, those of whom it can now be said they are "beloved of God", and can all God "Father." (Ro 1:7-note, "chosen of God, holy and beloved" = Col 3:12-note, "beloved by God" = 1Th 1:4-note, "See how great a love the Father has bestowed [didomi as in Jn 1:12] upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are." = 1Jn 3:1-note).

THOUGHT - I wonder how often we (I) ponder the profundity of this powerful truth that have been given the right to be in God's family and be called "beloved of God"? What would it do to our fight against sin if we more frequently set our minds on the things above (Col 3:2-note)? Would not the Holy Spirit enable in us a love driven motivation to "push" through those times when we are sorely vexed by afflictions or feel overwhelmed by intense inner temptations to gratify the lust of our flesh (James 1:14-15-note, 1Jn 2:15-16-note)?

Vine on right says "not dunamis, power, but exousia, a right (dunamis expresses the faculty, the capacity, but the right is bestowed to those who receive Him.)"

Exousia is used 6x (out of 102 NT uses) in the Gospel of John with no uses in John's epistles:

(John 1:12) But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,

(John 5:27) and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man.

(John 10:18) “No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”

(John 17:2) even as Thou gavest Him authority over all mankind, that to all whom Thou hast given Him, He may give eternal life.

(John 19:10) Pilate therefore *said to Him, “You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?”

(John 19:11) Jesus answered, “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me up to you has the greater sin.”

Utley on the right (exousia) - This Greek term can mean (1) legal authority or (2) right or privilege (cf. Jn 5:27; 17:2; 19:10, 11). Through Jesus fallen mankind can now know God and acknowledge Him as God and Father.

Westcott on the right - The word (exousia) does not describe mere ability, but legitimate, rightful authority, derived from a competent source which includes the idea of power. Comp. Jn 5:27, 10:18, 17:2, 19:10, 19:11; Rev. 2:26, etc. This right is not inherent in man, but “given” by God to him....As far as we can conceive of “this right to become children,” it lies in the potential union with the Son, whereby those who receive Him are enabled to realize their divine fellowship. They are adopted—placed, if we may so speak, in the position of sons—that so they may become children actually. Cp. 2Pet. 1:3, 1:4; Gal. 4:6. The fruit is not given at once, but the seed. It is of God to give, but man must use His gift, which faith appropriates. It is thus important to observe how throughout the passage the divine and human sides of the realization of Sonship are harmoniously united. The initial act is at once a “begetting” and a “reception”. The growth follows from the use of a gift. The issue is complete on the part of God, but man must bring it to pass by continuous exertion. (Ibid)


Children of God - There is a common misconception that every person born is a "child of God," but that belief is not in keeping with what Scripture teaches. The fact is that only those who believe in Jesus have the right to become God's children and call Him "Father" (and as aside can truly pray the so-called "Lord's Prayer"- "Our Father" = Mt 6:9) There are two families on earth and every human being belongs to one but not the other - the family of God or the family of the devil (cp Jn 8:44).

From time to time it would be good for us to recall what we were before God made us His legitimate children! Paul says before we received Christ we were all (no exceptions) "sons of disobedience" (Eph 2:2-note, Eph 5:6-note) and "by nature children of wrath." (Eph 2:3-note) The writer of Hebrews reminds that we have been given the right to share in "so great a salvation" (Heb 2:3-note) Have you lost that sense of awe that God saved you from eternal death and made you a member of His own family? This is a truth which should continually be on our minds, serving to motivate us to "pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart." (2Ti 2:22-note)

In his first letter John encourages believers to "See (behold, consider) how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him." (1Jn 3:1-note)

Amazing thought! that God in flesh
Would take my place and bear my sin;
That I, a guilty, death-doomed soul,
Eternal life might win!

John minces no words in his first letter writing that "By this (by what? He will tell us in the next clause) the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious (Not maybe or maybe not but "obvious!"): anyone who does not practice (present tense = as one's general practice - NB John is not describing perfection but is speaking of direction, either heavenward or hell-ward - in short our general behavior reveals our eternal destiny. But note that our behavior does not save us, but only serves to demonstrate that we are truly saved. Some twist this verse and say John is speaking only of fellowship or communion and not eternal destiny, but such teaching is deceptive and deadly, especially if it gives one confidence to live like the devil and think they are still going to heaven just because they prayed a prayer to "ask Jesus into their heart.") righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother." (1Jn 3:10-note)

Related Resources:

The phrase children of God is found 11x in 11v and every use describes believers - Jn 1:12; 11:52; Acts 17:29; Ro 8:16, 21; Ro 9:8; Phil 2:15; 1Jn 3:1-2, 1Jn 3:10; 1Jn 5:2 (See also sons of God - Mt 5:9, Lk 20:36, Ro 8:14, 19, Gal 3:26)

Paul says that "The Spirit Himself bears witness (summartureo in the present tense = the Spirit continually bears witness) with our spirit that we are children of God and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him. (Ro 8:16-17-note) Donald Barnhouse explains Ro 8:16 this way - "The assurance of our salvation does not depend entirely upon the external testimony of the Holy Spirit, but there is an inward conviction which belongs to us, ourselves. We know that we have passed from death unto life; we have the inner conviction that we have become children of God. We find something within ourselves that turns outward and upward to God, so that we find ourselves crying, “Abba, Father (Ro 8:15-note, Gal 4:6).”

So notice that when we are supernaturally brought into God's family as His children we also become heirs to all to which Jesus is heir! (Ro 8:17) From rags (Isa 64:6) to riches (Eph 1:3)! We move from a precarious position of being alienated from God to a privileged position of being "accepted in the Beloved" (Eph 1:7KJV).

See related resource discussing Accepted in the Beloved.

Bob Utley on become the children of God - The NT writers constantly use familial metaphors to describe Christianity: (1) Father; (2) Son; (3) children; (4) born again; and (5) adoption. Christianity is analogous to a family, not a product (ticket to heaven, fire insurance policy). It is also interesting that of the two Greek terms for children, one is always used of Jesus (huios) while the other (teknon, tekna) is used for believers. Christians are children of God, but they are not in the same category as the Son of God, Jesus. His relationship is unique, but analogous.

The phrase children of God recalls Old Testament references to Israel as the "sons of Jehovah" (Dt 14:1), of those He said "Israel is My son (Lxx = huios), My first-born (Exodus 4:22)."

John Piper on those who believe in His Name - "He gave authority to become children of God.” This means that those who reject the light are not the children of God. God is not everybody’s Father. He created everybody, and they are His. But Jesus says in John 8:42, “If God were your Father you would love me.” God is not everyone’s Father. And the test of who your Father is, is whether you love his Son....O how I want you to fix in your minds this question: “Not everyone is a child of God; am I?” Ask it to yourself right now, “Not everyone is a child of God. Am I?” The difference it makes to you is this: Jesus said in John 8:34–36, “Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not continue in the house for ever; the son continues for ever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. ”In other words, if we will not be children, we will be slaves. And the slave does not remain in the house forever. The children do. What is at stake in becoming a child of God is eternal life. So we ask ourselves that question again: “Not everyone is a child of God; am I?” And now add: “Not everyone will have eternal life; will I?” (How to Become a Child of God)

Children (5043)(teknon from tikto = bring forth, bear children, be born) is strictly a child produced, male or female, son or daughter. Teknon is thus a child as viewed in relation to his or her parents or family. In the plural, teknon is used generically of descendants, posterity or children. Note that another Greek word huios (5207), translated son, differs from teknon because the latter gives prominence to the fact of birth, whereas huios stresses the dignity and character of the relationship and usually speaks of one who is fully mature. Despite these distinctions, because these words often overlap in meaning and are used seemingly without discrimination, one should not press their semantic differences in every case but allow the context to rule in the interpretation (always a good rule!) Teknon was used in secular Greek writings as a form of familiar, tender or affectionate address to speak of one kindly even if they were adults referring to them as "my son" or "my child". For example Jesus speaking to the paralytic declared "Take courage, My son (teknon), your sins are forgiven." (Mt 9:2)

Tenney observes that "The word children (teknon) is parallel to the Scottish bairns - 'born ones.' It emphasizes vital origin and is used as a term of endearment (cf. Luke 15:31). Believers are God's 'little ones,' related to Him by birth." Glory to our Redeemer!

Vincent adds that teknon "denotes a relation based on community of nature, while huios, Son, may indicate only adoption and heirship. See Gal 4:7. Except in Rev 21:7, which is a quotation, John never uses huios to describe the relation of Christians to God, since he regards their position not as a result of adoption, but of a new life. Paul, on the other hand, regards the relation from the legal standpoint, as adoption, imparting a new dignity and relation (Ro 8:15; Gal. 4:5, 6). See also Jas. 1:18; 1Pet. 1:3, 1Pe 1:23, where the point of view is John’s rather than Paul’s. Teknon indicating the relationship of man to God, occurs in Jn 1:12; 11:52; 1John 3:1, 2, 10; 5:2, and always in the plural.

Related Resources:


Cole - To receive Christ is the opposite of not knowing Him and rejecting Him (1:10-11). It means to welcome Him into your life. John further defines it as believing in His name. “His name” refers to all that Jesus is in His person as the eternal Word made flesh. It refers to all that He did by dying on the cross as the substitute for your sins. Believing in His name means that you stop relying on your own merits and works as the way to approach God and instead you rely totally on what Jesus did for you on the cross. It means that when you stand before God, your only hope for heaven is not your good works, but rather that Jesus died for your sins and you are trusting in Him alone. Often when you share the gospel with people from a Roman Catholic background, they will tell you that they have received Christ, because they think that they are receiving Christ when they eat the communion wafer. But when you question them on why God should let them into heaven, they will say that they have gone to Mass and confession, they have lived a good life, etc. So you need to make it clear to them that receiving Christ means to rely on Him totally as the payment for their sins. Taking communion or going to mass or doing penance can never qualify us for heaven. John says that when we receive Christ or believe in Him, He gives us the right or authority to become children of God. The “right” means a legitimate claim, much like a birth certificate proves that you are the child of your natural father. The fact that those who believe “become children of God” means that all people are not God’s children by natural birth. To become God’s child requires a spiritual new birth (Jn 1:13; 3:1-8). Maybe you’ve daydreamed about what it would be like to be the child of a wealthy family, where you could have everything you ever wanted. Or maybe you never had parents who loved you and you wish that you could have been born into a family where you were loved and cared for. We get all of that and more as God’s children! In 1 John 3:1, the apostle exclaims, “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.” What a wonderful privilege! (John 1:6-13 God’s Witness, Your Verdict)


Even to those who believe in His Name - As discussed above believe parallels received, like two sides of a coin. While not an identical spiritual dynamic, the relationship of receive and believe reminds one of the integral association of repentance and belief (Mk 1:15, cf Acts 19:4, 26:20), both necessary for one to be born again.

Believe (4100)(pisteuo [click detailed discussion of belief] from pistis; pistos; related studies the faith, the obedience of faith) means to consider something to be true and therefore worthy of one’s trust. To accept as true, genuine, or real. To have a firm conviction as to the goodness, efficacy, or ability of something or someone. Pisteuo means to entrust oneself to an entity in complete confidence. To believe in with the implication of total commitment to the one who is trusted. While obviously belief must first have some intellectual apprehension of the truth, "intellectual belief" is absolutely not genuine, soul saving belief! The respected Greek lexicon author W E Vine adds that believe that saves a soul consists of "(1) a firm conviction which produces full acknowledgment of God's revelation of Truth - (2Thes 2:12 -"in order that they all may be judged who did not believe [pisteuo] the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.") (2) a personal surrender to the Truth (Jn 1:12 "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe [pisteuo] in His name") and (3) a conduct inspired by and consistent with that surrender."

NET Note - John uses pisteuo in 4 major ways: (1) of believing facts, reports, etc., 12 times; (2) of believing people (or the scriptures), 19 times; (3) of believing “in” Christ” (pisteuo + eis + acc.), 36 times; (4) used absolutely without any person or object specified, 30 times.

Believe is in the present tense (one does not believe and then cease believing but continues believing) and in the active voice, which signifies that one has made a volitional choice, a choice of their will. While this supernatural birth is initiated by a sovereign work of the Spirit of God (born...of God = Jn 1:13, cf the Spirit of God = Jn 3:3-7), one must still make a conscious, volitional choice to place their faith in the Logos, the Light of the World. To say it another way, God's revelation of the Light, calls for a personal response to the Light.

J Vernon McGee says it this way - Many people ask, “You mean all that I have to do is to say I believe?” Yes, that is all you have to do, but let’s see what that implies. With the verb “to believe” there is always a preposition—sometimes en (in), sometimes eis (into) or sometimes epi (upon). You must believe into, in, or upon Jesus Christ. Let me illustrate with a chair. I am standing beside a chair and I believe it will hold me up, but it is not holding me up. Why? Because I have only a head knowledge. I just say, “Yes, it will hold me up.” Now suppose I believe into the chair by sitting in it. See what I mean? I am committing my entire weight to it and it is holding me up. Is Christ holding you up? Is He your Savior? It is not a question of standing to the side and saying, “Oh, yes, I believe Jesus is the Son of God.” The question is have you trusted Him, have you believed into Him, are you resting in Him? This chair is holding me up completely. And at this moment Christ is my complete Savior. I am depending on Him; I am resting in Him (See Griffith-Thomas' note below).

W H Griffith-Thomas on believe - A very prominent part of the purpose of the writer is shown in the element of believe. He wrote in order to lead his readers to faith in the historical Jesus as at once Messiah and Son of God, and it is perfectly clear that every section of the Gospel bears on this definite aim of eliciting faith and illustrates it. The word believe (pisteuo) occurs in this Gospel no less than ninety-eight times, though it is noteworthy and perhaps significant to see that the substantive faith (pistis) is not once found. When it is remembered that the verb pisteuo occurs only eleven times in Matthew, fifteen times in Mark, and nine times in Luke, it can at once be seen how prominent the thought is in the fourth Gospel. The keynote is struck as early as John 1:7, 12. In John 1 also we have the record of the first members of the apostolic band who were led to faith, among whom was Nathaniel who at once confessed his belief in Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of God (John 1:49). It is noteworthy that in John 20 we have the record of the last of the apostolic band to come to full faith, though when Thomas did believe he went higher than all the rest in his consciousness and confession of Christ as God (John 20:28). In between these two limits there are many aspects of believing brought before us in the Gospel, starting from superficial belief (John 2:23–25) and leading up to genuine trust in Christ as Messiah and Savior (e.g., John 4:42; John 6:69). The various expressions connected with the act and attitude of believing are noteworthy: the act of believing (John 1:7; John 9:38); faith in His word (John 4:21; John 10:38, emoi; John 4:50, to logo); faith in the Scripture or written Word (John 2:22, 46); belief in facts about Him (John 13:19; John 14:11, hoti); faith in Him as the goal and object of life (pisteuo + eis = John 1:12, and passim). This (pisteuein eis) is an expression particularly characteristic of John and, in the constructio pregnans of a verb of rest with a preposition of motion, it shows the idea of the movement of the whole being toward Christ, the outgoing of the soul toward Him (eis) in order to find rest in Him. All this indicates what faith is according to John and what stress he lays on it in relation to Christ. Faith is the only and adequate response of man to our Lord’s divine revelation. It is based on testimony (John 1:7); it is elicited by experience (John 1:50); it rests on words spoken (John 10:38) or written (John 2:22); and it involves the wholehearted surrender of the moral being (eis). When these statements are successively understood, we come to the knowledge of what is meant by faith in Christ. (Ibid) (Bolding added)

Warren Wiersbe on believing - It is not necessary to “see” Jesus Christ in order to believe. Yes, it was a blessing for the early Christians to see their Lord and know that He was alive; but that is not what saved them. They were saved, not by seeing, but by believing. (Ed: As an aside many still think God's order is see and believe, when it fact it is really believe and see!) The emphasis throughout the Gospel of John is on believing. There are nearly 100 references in this Gospel to believing on Jesus Christ. You and I today cannot see Christ, nor can we see Him perform the miracles (signs) that John wrote about in this book. But the record is there, and that is all that we need. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Ro 10:17-note; and note 1John 5:9-13-note). As you read John’s record, you come face to face with Jesus Christ, how He lived, what He said, and what He did. All of the evidence points to the conclusion that He is indeed God come in the flesh, the Saviour of the world. The signs that John selected and described in this book are proof of the deity of Christ. They are important. But sinners are not saved by believing in miracles; they are saved by believing on Jesus Christ. Many of the Jews in Jerusalem believed on Jesus because of His miracles, but He did not believe in them! (John 2:23–25) Great crowds followed Him because of His miracles (John 6:2); but in the end, most of them left Him for good (John 6:66). Even the religious leaders who plotted His death believed that He did miracles, but this “faith” did not save them (John 11:47-49). Faith in His miracles should lead to faith in His Word, and to personal faith in Jesus as Saviour and Lord. Jesus Himself pointed out that faith in His works (miracles) was but the first step toward faith in the Word of God (John 5:36-40). The sinner must “hear” the Word if he is to be saved (John 5:24). (Bible Exposition Commentary) (Bolding added)

In His Name is used two more times by John...

John 2:23 Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name, beholding His signs which He was doing.

Comment: To me this a frightening verse! Why? Because on one hand it suggests salvation, but in the next verse (Jn 2:24) it strongly weighs against that conclusion. What we begin to see in John is that there is a belief which is intellectual and it is in His Name, but that intellectual belief never takes root in their heart and thus never produces genuine new birth.

Warren Wiersbe: These people believed in Jesus, but He did not believe in them! They were “unsaved believers”! It was one thing to respond to a miracle but quite something else to commit oneself to Jesus Christ and continue in His Word (John 8:30–31). John was not discrediting the importance of our Lord’s signs, because he wrote his book to record these signs and to encourage his readers to trust Jesus Christ and receive eternal life (John 20:30–31). However, throughout the book, John makes it clear that it takes more than believing in miracles for a person to be saved. Seeing the signs and believing in them would be a great beginning; in fact, even the disciples started that way and had to grow in their faith (compare John 2:11 and John 2:22).

John 20:31 but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

In (into) (1519)(eis) properly means into or unto and literally speaks of motion into which implies penetration (union) with a particular purpose or result. Figuratively eis marks the object or point toward which anything ends. Eis speaks of a result, effect or consequence and marks that toward which any person or thing inclines or becomes.

W E Vine on believe in His Name - Believers become children of God by faith. Christ did not become the Son of God, He was that in eternal preexistence. The preposition eis expresses more than “on,” it indicates motion toward, and rest upon, the object of belief. It therefore expresses the strongest belief, involving a union with Him. His Name expresses His attributes, character and actings.

John MacArthur on believe in His Name - His name refers to the totality of Christ’s being, all that He is and does. Thus, it is not possible to separate His deity from His humanity, His being Savior from His being Lord, or His person from His redemptive work. Saving faith accepts Jesus Christ in all that Scripture reveals concerning Him. (John 1-11 MacArthur New Testament Commentary)

Timothy Keller on believe in His Name - In ancient times, to believe in somebody’s name … The name represented who you were. Therefore, to believe in His name means, “I put my trust in who he is and what he did.” Most people think to become a Christian is “I believe in his teaching. I follow his teaching. I see the Sermon on the Mount, I see all of his teaching, and I’m going to try my very best to live up.” No, that’s not what it means to become a Christian. To become a Christian means to completely trust in the name of Christ, in what he did for you. When you do, when you say, “Lord, Father God, please accept me not because of what I am going to do, or on the basis of what I can do, or on the basis of what I have done, but on the basis of what Jesus has done”.....When you say that, two things happen to you. Objectively, you’re given rights to become a child of God. That means you’re adopted. That means you’re accepted. It’s so nice to see that, because to be adopted means not just that your sins are pardoned, but that you’re brought into a permanent relationship of love and acceptance. That’s objectively. Subjectively, it says you’re born again. That means God puts his own spiritual DNA in you, and you actually begin to become a new person. It’s really Jn 1:14."

Utley on those who believe - Believe is a present active participle meaning “those who continue to believe.” The etymological background of this term helps establish the contemporary meaning. In Hebrew it originally referred to a person in a stable stance. It came to be used metaphorically for someone who was dependable, loyal or trustworthy. The Greek equivalent is translated into English by the terms (“faith,” “believe,” and “trust.”) Biblical faith or trust is not primarily something we do, but someone in whom we put our trust. It is God’s trustworthiness, not ours, which is the focus. Fallen mankind trusts God’s trustworthiness, faiths His faithfulness, believes in His Beloved. The focus is not on the abundance or intensity of human faith, but the object of that faith.

Vincent amplifies the sense of the phrase believe in (or believe on) - The present participle, believing, indicates the present and continuous activity of faith. The word is used by John, sometimes with the dative case simply, meaning to believe a person or thing; i.e., to believe that they are true or speak the truth. Thus, to believe the Scripture (Jn 2:22); believe me (Jn 4:21); believe Moses, his writings, my words (Jn 5:46). At other times with a preposition, eis, into, which is rendered believe in, or believe on. as in this passage (cp Jn 6:29; 8:30; 1 John 5:10). See the two contrasted in Jn 6:29, 30; 8:30, 31; 1 John 5:10. To believe in, or on, is more than mere acceptance of a statement. It is so to accept a statement or a person as to rest upon them, to trust them practically; to draw upon and avail one’s self of all that is offered to him in them. Hence to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ is not merely to believe the facts of His historic life or of His saving energy as facts, but to accept Him as Saviour, Teacher, Sympathizer, Judge; to rest the soul upon Him for present and future salvation, and to accept and adopt His precepts and example as binding upon the life.

J Vernon McGee illustrates the meaning of believe - Notice that this is for "them that believe on his name." And always with the word "believe" there is a preposition. You see, faith, as the Bible uses it, is not just head knowledge. Many people ask, "You mean all that I have to do is to say I believe?" Yes, that is all you have to do, but let's see what that implies. With the verb "to believe" there is always a preposition -- sometimes en (in), sometimes eis (into), or sometimes epi (upon). You must believe into, in, or upon Jesus Christ. Let me illustrate with a chair. I am standing beside a chair and I believe it will hold me up, but it is not holding me up. Why? Because I have only a head knowledge. I just say, "Yes, it will hold me up." Now suppose I believe into the chair by sitting in it. See what I mean? I am committing my entire weight to it and it is holding me up. Is Christ holding you up? Is He your Savior? It is not a question of standing to the side and saying, "Oh, yes, I believe Jesus is the Son of God." The question is have you trusted Him, have you believed into Him, are you resting in Him? This chair is holding me up completely. And at this moment Christ is my complete Savior. I am depending on Him; I am resting in Him. (Thru The Bible)

On His Name is really "into (eis) His Name" - Vincent comments on the phrase "into His Name" which is the literal rendering of Mt 28:19. Commenting on that verse he says "Baptizing into the name has a twofold meaning. 1. Unto, denoting object or purpose, unto repentance (Mt. 3:11); for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). 2. Into, denoting union or communion with, as Ro 6:3, “baptized into Christ Jesus; into his death;” i.e., we are brought by (Ed: spiritual) baptism into fellowship with His death. Baptizing into the name of the Holy Trinity implies a spiritual and mystical union with Him.

John Phillips on His Name - The name is not mentioned here but there is no doubt as to what that name is: Jesus, the name John more than anyone else uses. Matthew uses that name 151 times, Mark 13 times, Luke 88 times, but John, no less than 247 times. John, more than the other evangelists, confronts us with the Lord's deity, yet keeps his humanity before us from beginning to end. But, while reminding us over and over again of Jesus humanity, John never lets us forget that he was more than human....To believe on his name is to believe in what his name signifies; it is to believe that Jesus can save me from my sins. And that presupposes that I know myself as a sinner in need of a Savior.

David Stern on His Name - The concept of "name" in the Ancient Middle East included everything a person was. We retain the sense today when we say someone speaks "in a person's name," meaning with his authority and expressing his views. To "trust in the name of Yeshua the Messiah" certainly does not mean to attribute magic properties to the name itself. (Jewish New Testament Commentary)

Utley on in His Name - In the OT the name of a person was very important. It was a hopeful/potential prophecy about their character or a description of their character. To believe in the name is to believe and receive the person.

Vincent on His Name - Expressing the sum of the qualities which mark the nature or character of a person. To believe in the name of Jesus Christ the Son of God, is to accept as true the revelation contained in that title. Compare Jn 20:31.

Westcott on His Name - The revealed name gathers up and expresses for man just so much as he can apprehend of the divine nature. Compare Jn 3:18, 20:31. From these passages it is clear that the “name” to the believer is that which describes the Incarnate Word as “the Christ, the Son of God.” For the use of “the name” as applied to the Father in St John, see Jn 5:43, 10:25, 12:13, 12:28, 17:6, 17:11, 17:12, 17:26; Rev. 3:12, 11:18, 13:6, 14:1, 15:4, 15:8, 22:4; as applied to the Son, Jn 2:23, 3:18, 14:13, 14:14, 14:26, 15:16, 16:23, 16:24, 16:26, 20:31; 1 John 2:12, 3:23, 5:13; Rev. 2:3, 2:13, 3:12, 14:1. Cp. 3 John 1:7 (the name). (The Gospel According to St John)

Barclay on believe in His Name - We do accept it through believing in the name of Jesus Christ. What does that mean? Hebrew thought and language had a way of using the name which is strange to us. By that expression, Jewish thought did not so much mean the name by which individuals were called as their nature in so far as it was revealed and known. For instance, in Psalm 9:10 the psalmist says: 'Those who know your name put their trust in you.' Clearly that does not mean that those who know that God is called Yahweh will trust him; it means that those who know God's character, God's nature, who know what God is like, will be ready and willing to trust him for everything. In Psalm 20:7 the psalmist says: 'Some take pride in chariots, and some in horses, but our pride is in the name of the Lord our God.' Clearly that does not mean that we will boast that God is called Yahweh. It means that some people will put their trust in human aids, but we will put our trust in God because we know what he is like. To trust in the name of Jesus therefore means to put our trust in what he is. He was the embodiment of kindness and love and gentleness and service. It is John's great central doctrine that in Jesus we see the very mind of God, the attitude of God to men and women. If we believe that, then we also believe that God is like Jesus, as kind, as loving as Jesus was. To believe in the name of Jesus is to believe that God is like him; and it is only when we believe that, that we can submit ourselves to God and become his children. Unless we had seen in Jesus what God is like, we would never even have dared to think of ourselves as being able to become the children of God. It is what Jesus is that opens to us the possibility of becoming the children of God. (John 1 Commentary - William Barclay's Daily Study Bible)

Name (3686)(onoma) means that by which something or someone is called or known. In the present context name means not what Jesus is called but what His name stands for. His Name Jesus (Iesous) means "Jehovah saves" and this is who He is. Recall that John's primary purpose was clearly stated in John 20:31-note - "these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name."

W H Griffith-Thomas on His Name as used in John 20:31 - The sphere in which life becomes ours and is enjoyed by us is found in the words in His Name. The word name is characteristic of John, and the two prepositions (eis and en) in connection with it are also among the features of this Gospel. The name stands in Holy Scripture for the nature or revealed character of God, and not as a mere label or title. It is found very frequently in the OT as synonymous with God Himself in relation to man; for example: “The name of the Lord is a strong tower” (Pr. 18:10). “In the name of the Lord will I destroy them” (Ps. 118:10); and: “Shall the enemy blaspheme thy name?” (Ps. 74:10). In the NT the same usage is perfectly clear. For example: “In the name of Jesus” (Phil. 2:10), “Baptizing them into the name” (Matt. 28:19). In the fourth Gospel we have “Into the name” (eis) as the object of faith (John 1:12; John 2:23; John 3:18). Then we have “In the name of the Father” (John 5:43; John 10:25), referring to the divine authority and power with which our Lord came. The same phrase occurs no less than nine times in John 14 through John 17. Then our Lord is said to have manifested and made known His Father’s Name to the disciples (John 17:6, 26). These passages clearly show the importance and significance of the name as standing for the revealed character and will of God in Christ. Thus, to have life in His Name is to have it in union with what we know of Him and of His manifested character and revealed will. Life is thus “in Christ” and not outside or apart from Him. (Ibid)

THOUGHT - The Light is still shining (Jn 1:5 - the Light shines = present tense = continues to shine)! Have you personally received the Word, the Light and joined the family of God as a child of God?

IN HIS NAME - What is it about His Name? His Name is 

(1) Jesus (see Mt 1:21+ for meaning of His Name which speaks volumes for what it means to believe in His Name -- to rely fully and forever on His Name). 

(2) His Name speaks of all His attributes as God -- His Name is simply a shorthand so to speak for His omniscience, omnipresence, etc, etc 

(3) His Name is Immanuel - God with us - Mt 1:23+ 

(4) His Name is the Source of hope for the Gentiles - Mt 12:21+

(5) His Name is holy - Lk 1:49+ 

(6) Repentance for forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in  His Name  to all the nations - Lk 24:47+ 

(7) Belief in His Name equates with receiving Him and being brought into God's family as children of God - Jn 1:12

(8) Believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God gives one life in His Name - John 20:31 

(9)  through His Name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins. -- Acts 10:43+

(10) His Name is the Word of God - Rev 19:13+

(11) His Name will be on our foreheads forever in eternity (Rev 22:4+)

It thus becomes easy to see why "at the Name of Jesus EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (AMEN) - Php 2:10-11+

QUESTION - What is the meaning of the name Jesus? What does the name Jesus mean?

ANSWER - If ever a name was packed with significance, it is the name Jesus. Scripture says Jesus has been given “the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow—in heaven and on earth and under the earth” (Philippians 2:9–10, CSB). Why is our Lord’s name so powerful? What does the name Jesus mean?

The name Jesus, announced to Joseph and Mary through the angels (Matthew 1:21; Luke 1:31), means “Yahweh saves” or “Yahweh is salvation.” Transliterated from Hebrew and Aramaic, the name is Yeshua. This word is a combination of Ya, an abbreviation for Yahweh, the name of Israel’s God (Exodus 3:14); and the verb yasha, meaning “rescue,” “deliver,” or “save.”

The English spelling of the Hebrew Yeshua is Joshua. But when translated from Hebrew into Koine Greek, the original language of the New Testament, the name Yeshua becomes Iēsous. In English, Iēsous becomes Jesus. Thus, Yeshua and, correspondingly, Joshua and Jesus mean “Yahweh saves” or “the Lord is salvation.”

The name Jesus was quite popular in first-century Judea. For this reason, our Lord was often called “Jesus of Nazareth,” distinguishing Him by His childhood home, the town of Nazareth in Galilee (Matthew 21:11; Mark 1:24; Luke 18:37; John 1:45; John 19:19; Acts 2:22). Despite its commonness, the name Jesus is remarkably significant. Jesus was sent by God for a particular purpose, and His personal name bears witness to that mission. Just as the Yeshua/Joshua in the Old Testament led his people to victory over the Canaanites, the Yeshua/Jesus in the New Testament led His people to victory over sin and their spiritual enemies.

Galatians 4:4–5 says, “But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.” God sent Jesus to save us (John 3:17). The meaning of Jesus’ name—“Yahweh saves”—reveals His mission (to save and deliver) and His identity as Savior of the world. At the same time, the commonness of Jesus’ name underscores His humanity and humility. The Son of God emptied Himself of His glory to become a humble man (Philippians 2:6–8). The Lexham Survey of Theology eloquently captures this dual significance in the name Jesus: “He was, from one angle, ‘just another Joshua,’ and yet, in another sense, he was the true Joshua—the one who would live up to the meaning of this name in ways that no others could.”

The name of Jesus is important because of its meaning and because of whom it represents. There are power and authority in the person of Christ Jesus, and, of course, the person is designated by the name. More so than with other names, we associate the name of Jesus with His distinctive character, quality, and work, as seen in the following biblical truths:

Salvation is in the name of Jesus alone: “Jesus is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:11–12; see also John 14:6; 20:31; Acts 2:21; Joel 2:32; 1 Corinthians 6:11; 1 John 2:12).

Forgiveness of sins is received through the name of Jesus: “All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name” (Acts 10:43; see also Acts 22:16).

Believers are baptized in the name of Jesus: “Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’” (Acts 2:38; see also Matthew 28:19; Acts 8:12,15–16; 10:48; 19:5).

Healing and miracles were performed in the name of Jesus: “By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see” (Acts 3:16; see also verses 6–8 and 4:30).

Jesus teaches believers to pray in His name; that is, to pray, in His authority, the type of prayer that He would pray: “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” (John 14:13–14; see also 15:16; 16:23–24).

In every way, Jesus lives up to His name. The name Jesus reminds us of the power, presence, and purpose of the risen Christ. It assures us that God’s gracious intention is to save us. Our Lord Jesus brought God to humanity and now brings humans to God through the salvation He purchased. In the Bible, when people spoke or acted in the name of Jesus, they did so as the Lord’s representatives with His authority. The very life of the believer is to be lived in the name of Jesus (Colossians 3:17) and by doing so bring glory to God: “We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:12)


The Apostle John does not point out in this Epistle how regeneration can take place, because that he had already done in his Gospel, particularly John 1:12, 13+, and the whole of chapter 3. Here in his Epistle he points out the proofs whereby we may know we are born from above.

I. Faith is both the condition and the proof of regeneration. “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” (1 John 5:1+).

II. Love. “Every one that loveth is born of God” (1 John 4:7+).

III. Life. “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit (margin, “practice”) sin; or as W., “No one who is a child of God is habitually guilty of sin” (1 John 3:9+). This is to say, one of the clearest proofs of the new birth is to be found in the fact that a new life is begun. Not a life of sin as before, but a life of victory—there may be, there usually is, especially in the early days, lapses into sin, but not a life of sin. By and by we learn the secret of full victory.

IV. Overcomes. “For whosoever is born of God overcometh the world” (1 John 5:4+).

V. Kept. “We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not, but He that was begotten of God (i.e., the Lord Jesus) keepeth him” (1 John 5:18+, R.V.). The begotten one is kept by the only Begotten of the Father. And the result?

VI. Holiness. Personal holiness. “Every one that doeth righteousness is born of Him” (1 John 2:29+).

(James Smith - Handfuls on Purpose)

D L Moody on John 1:12 - Yes, sons of God! Power to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil; power to crucify every besetting sin, passion, lust; power to shout in triumph over every trouble and temptation of life, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me!”....BY receiving Him you get power, and not otherwise. Many persons have tried to be Christians, and have failed. A man may as well try to jump to Europe, as to try to serve God before he is born of God. He has not the power. But when he receives Christ, Christ is the power of God unto salvation. We take Him: and He is our salvation.

"I Will" - An evangelist was trying to help a woman understand John 1:12, and what it means to receive Christ. “Your last name is Franklin, isn’t it?” he asked. “Yes,” she said. “How long has it been that?” “Ever since my husband and I were married 30 years ago.” “Tell me,” he said, “how did you become Mrs. Franklin?”

She paused. “It was at the wedding. The minister asked me, ‘Will you have this man to be your lawful, wedded husband?’ and I said, ‘I will.’ With those words I became his wife.” “Didn’t you say, ‘I hope so,’ or ‘I’ll try to take him as my husband’?” asked the evangelist. “No,” replied the woman. “I said, ‘I will,’ and that’s all there was to it.”

The evangelist explained that God wanted her to receive Christ as her Savior in the same way. Finally she saw the point and exclaimed, “How simple!” Wondering why she hadn’t said “I will” long before, right there she accepted Christ as her Savior, believing what the Bible says about Him—that Christ died for her sins.

Have you ever trusted the Lord Jesus Christ to save you? If not, right now say from your heart, “Lord Jesus, I will turn from my sin and receive You as my personal Savior.” Those are the most important words you’ll ever say. —R W De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Whosoever cometh need not delay,
Now the door is open—enter while you may;
Jesus is the true, the only Living Way:
"Whosoever will may come."

Faith is the hand that must take God's gift of salvation.

Family Privilege - As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God. John 1:12

When I was in primary school in Ghana, I had to live with a loving and caring family away from my parents. One day, all the children assembled for a special family meeting. The first part involved all of us sharing individual experiences. But next, when only “blood children” were required to be present, I was politely excluded. Then the stark reality hit me: I was not a “child of the house.” Despite their love for me, the family required that I should be excused because I was only living with them; I was not a legal part of their family.

This incident reminds me of John 1:11-12. The Son of God came to His own people and they rejected Him. Those who received Him then, and receive Him now, are given the right to become God’s children. When we are adopted into His family, “the Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Rom. 8:16).

Jesus doesn't exclude anyone who is adopted by the Father. Rather, He welcomes us as a permanent part of His family. “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12).

Thank You, Father, for making it possible for me to be Your child. I’m grateful to be Yours and not to have to worry about whether You will remove me from Your family. I am Yours and You are mine. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Assurance of salvation is not in what you know
but who you know.

Who's Going to Heaven? - A poll for U.S. News & World Report asked 1,000 adults their opinion about who would likely make it into heaven. At the top of that list, to no one’s surprise, was a well-known religious figure. Several celebrities were also listed. But it was surprising to me that of the people being surveyed, 87 percent thought they themselves were likely to get into heaven.

I can’t help but wonder what qualifications for admission into heaven they had in mind. People have many erroneous ideas about what God requires. Is it virtuous character? Giving generous contributions to deserving charities? Following an orthodox creed? Attending church and being involved in religious activities? Commendable as these qualities may be, they miss by an eternity the one thing God requires for entrance into heaven—a personal commitment to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord (John 1:12; 1 Timothy 2:5). Although faith in Jesus will no doubt be seen in a person’s actions (James 2:14-20), charitable living or religious activity is not a substitute for trusting in Jesus’ sacrificial death for our sin.

Are you confident that you’re headed for heaven? You can be—but only if you’re trusting in Jesus. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

There aren't many ways into heaven;
The Bible says there's only one:
Confessing Christ Jesus as Savior,
Believing in God's only Son.

Jesus took our place on the cross
to give us a place in heaven.

The Way Made Plain - It was Abraham Lincoln who said, “God must have loved the common people, since He made so many of them.” I would modify that to say, “God must have loved the common people, since He made the way of salvation plain enough to be grasped by all”—yes, even me.

One need not have a high IQ to qualify for God’s favor. Nor does experiencing salvation depend on a person’s ability to understand a complex philosophical presentation of religious truth. If that were necessary, few could be saved!

Receiving salvation is a matter of faith. It’s believing God and accepting His Word about His Son Jesus Christ, His payment for our sins through His death on the cross, and His resurrection. It’s trusting Him completely for salvation. John 1:12 tells us, “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.”

The Bible says that the Gospel “is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes” (Ro 1:16). Whether educated or uneducated, knowledgeable or ignorant, anyone can believe. No one will be able to stand before God and say, “I’m not saved because I couldn’t understand the gospel.” The way has been made plain. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

A ruler once came to Jesus by night
To ask Him the way of salvation and light;
The Master made answer in words true and plain,
"Ye must be born again."

Christ believed is salvation received.

The Best of Gifts - Having trouble selecting that perfect gift for someone? A friend shared with me a few suggestions:

• The gift of listening. No interrupting, no planning your response. Just listening.

• The gift of affection. Being generous with appropriate hugs, kisses, and pats on the back.

• The gift of laughter. Sharing funny stories and jokes. Your gift will say, “I love to laugh with you.”

• The gift of a written note. Expressing in a brief, handwritten note your appreciation or affection.

• The gift of a compliment. Sincerely saying, “You look great today” or “You are special” can bring a smile.

But as we begin this special month of celebration, why not pass on the best gift you’ve ever received? Share the fact that “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 6:23). Or share this verse from John 1:12, “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” Remind others that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

The best gift of all is Jesus Christ. “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Cor. 9:15). (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

The greatest Gift that has ever been given
Is Jesus Christ who was sent down from heaven.
This Gift can be yours if you will believe;
Trust Him as Savior, and new life receive. —Hess

The best gift was found in a manger.

A Know-So Salvation (1Jn 5:13) - Many Christians lack the joy and assurance of their salvation because they will not take God at His word. They do not accept at face value what He says, but rely on their personal feelings instead of on the Scriptures.

Bible teacher H. A. Ironside related a personal experience that helps us understand the importance of believing the Word of God. After he had read to a woman some passages about trusting Christ, she said, “Well, I am trying to believe.”

“Trying to believe whom?” asked Ironside. “It is God who has spoken in His Word. Are you saying you’re trying to believe Him?”

Immediately she saw the light and exclaimed, “Oh, I didn’t realize what I was saying. Yes, I do believe what God has declared.” At last her heart found rest.

If you have placed your trust in the Lord Jesus, stop worrying about your salvation. God has done His part. Believe what the Bible says, and claim as your very own the new life that has been given you through faith in Christ. John 1:12 promises, “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” Take God at His word. Then you too will have a know-so salvation. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

The blood of Christ makes us safe;
the Word of God makes us sure.

The Prospect of Heaven - As I approached my 90th birthday, two emotions surged through my heart. One was certainty, the positive assurance of life to come. And why not? Jesus said, “Because I live, you will live also” (John 14:19).

That assurance, however, is often accompanied by another emotion— curiosity. What will the next world really be like? Even the inspired descriptions of the celestial dwelling that we have in the Bible’s last book are inadequate to convey what awaits us. Yet they do intensify our desire to leave this dark earthly existence and to enter that heavenly reality. We read about “a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God,” “the tree of life,” and “no more curse” (Revelation 22:1-3).

What are your own reactions as you think about the life beyond this life? Perhaps you are not especially curious. But are you blessed with the certainty of heaven, which you can have by faith in Jesus? Think of the words He spoke at the grave of Lazarus: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die” (John 11:25).

Is that promise the foundation of your certainty? You can make it so by believing in Jesus. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

How Can We Have The Assurance Of Heaven?
Recognize our sinfulness (Romans 6:23).
Believe Jesus died for us (Acts 16:31).
Receive Him as Savior (John 1:12).
Trust His promise (John 20:31).

What you do with Jesus now
determines what He will do with you later.

John 1:11 Commentary <> John 1:13 Commentary