‘Accepting Christ’ vs ‘Following Christ’

I received an email the other day asking me to pray for an unbeliever who was in need of a job, and that he would accept Christ. Now at first I got to thinking about what we as believer’s ought to be praying for when it comes to unbelievers. But later my attention was turned toward the word ‘accept.’ A. W. Towzer has written about dead words and words that are alive. I do not know if this was a good word or a bad one, or but I think it may now be dead. If not, at least I think it no longer expresses or communicates the way it should.

We are told to ‘accept’ Christ left and right, and if you have ‘accepted’ Christ then you are good to go, that is all you need and your golden. Now people may start getting in an uproar about this, but I hope not. I strongly feel that we should replace the phrase ‘accept Christ’ with a more biblical one like ‘follow Christ.’ There is a connotation with merely ‘accepting’ that suggests that we only have to mentally do some work, and we’re good. But when you say follow, it is a much stronger word suggesting more then just mere mental work! I think part of the problem in the Church is that there is too much ‘accepting’ and not enough following.


About Daniel Mason

I write from the historic protestant worldview, that is, Reformed. I hope you will be both blessed and challenged by my writings. View all posts by Daniel Mason

5 responses to “‘Accepting Christ’ vs ‘Following Christ’

  • jwswift22

    “Follow Christ really” is a more appropriate term because it puts forth an ongoing living reality rather than referring to a one time mental assent. Towzer did say in one of his sermons that accepting Christ means to accept “”His friends as “My friends” and “Christs enemies” as “My enemies”. In other words you are connected, moving and walking with Him.

    That sermon is here

  • christlovesevenme

    I completely agree with you. I’m not sure if you have ever read the book Holiness by JC Ryle but there is a chapter in it called “The Cost” he speaks thoroughly on this topic in it. So often people proclaim the Gospel and tell others all they have to do is accept Christ. To me this seems backwards. We as sinners are the ones that need Christ to accept us and then we in return follow Him. We are not called to “accept Him”. As it says in Matthew we are called to deny ourselves, pick up our cross and FOLLOW Him.
    Great insight thanks for posting!

    • masondan

      I have the book, but I havn’t gotten around to reading it yet, I am afraid. In fact, I have tons of Ryle books after going on a shopping spree after I read his Thoughts for Young Men one. Great stuff. It seems a lot of the older works are more….beneficial then the more current writings. Thanks for the comments everyone.

  • Arron

    Do you think it’s also possible that we can end up accidentally mis-communicating the gospel if we put too much emphasis on what people have to do once they become Christians, rather than the finished work of Christ? I know that Paul preached a grace so free he was accused to preaching lawlessness (Rom. 3:5-8). I certainly give my “amen” to an aversion to “decisional” conversion, but at the same time, we don’t want to give the impression that salvation is a mix of grace and works.

  • masondan

    Indeed I think it’s possible to mis-communicate very easily by putting too much emphasis on this or that. All the more reason to be slow to speak and quick to hear. I know personally that I have come a long ways on that note but still have miles and miles to go. It seems that with almost everything there is a fine line, and we can find our selves in trouble if we don’t find that fine line.

    This seems to me to apply to the gospel as well. In regards to works and faith, from what I gather from Romans and the letter of James, it is faith that saves and faith alone, but to claim to have faith with out work is likely to mean one is lying or that one’s faith is a dead kind of faith, and therefore completely useless. But in teaching and understanding these things we must be careful as you said, you are quite right. And I think that perhaps that is why we find salvation by faith in the Scriptures several times over, so that we won’t easily miss it.

    I hope that what all I have written does not mis-communicate things, for we can never earn our way into heaven, and the notion of doing so is both horribly and a heresy, and only lessens the mercy and love of God.

    Great post my friend, I appreciate your insight.

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