Many people accept that Christ existed. Many people accept that he died. Still others accept not only that he died but that he rose again and that he is God. Many would accept his existence and the facts about his life much like they accept that the world is round and spins on an axis or that you always lose at least one sock in the dryer to the Abominable Dryer Beast. Is this what it means to accept Christ? How do you accept someone who is invisible? What does it really mean to accept Christ?
There are atheist scholars of religion who can wholeheartedly say that Christ existed as a preacher who roamed first century Palestine and ultimately met an untimely death at the hands of the Roman government. They regard these things as facts, but they can’t believe that Christ was God. To accept only the pieces of the story we find easy to believe is not the same as accepting Christ. Many accept the facts of his death and resurrection, but they still have only scratched the surface of what it means to accept Christ.
The phrase “Accept Christ” is more about accepting the person of Christ. It is a relational phrase that comes from a passage in the Bible. In Revelation 3:20, the apostle John delivers a message to one of the churches in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) that Christ is at the door knocking and it is now their choice whether they will let him in—accept him. It is a rebuke and a challenge, asking whether they will embrace Christ relationally. They must choose whether he will be their master and King. Fast forward to the twentieth century. Preachers began using this phrase to invite people to have a relationship with Christ. To accept him is not just mental assent. It is to allow his reign to permeate every aspect of your life. It is to embrace his teaching, his character, and his directions and guidance in our relationships, finances, vocation, and even our recreation. To accept Christ is to embrace him as Lord.