Recently I was at a conference where there was a large exhibit hall. Security was tight, as it is everywhere these days, and you had to have a special badge to get in. That badge was each person’s authority – their right – to enter and participate in all that was happening.
In the Evangelism Explosion approach to evangelism, Christians are taught to ask a very penetrating and revealing question when they share the Gospel with someone. They are to ask, “When you stand before God someday and He asks, ‘What right do you have that I should let you into my heaven?’ what will be your response?”
Now the answer to that question reveals a whole lot about what the person understands and believes about eternal life, and the basis upon which God accepts or rejects people. If they say, “Well, I think I have been a pretty good person,” or “I am a religious person and go to church regularly,” then the questioner knows that the person to whom they are witnessing has no true understanding of the Gospel of God’s grace. On the other hand, if the person answers, “Christ died for my sins, and I am cleansed by the blood of Christ – because I have received Jesus as my personal Savior,” then we are assured that they have got it right.
The Apostle John put it this way in the prologue of his gospel in John 1:12: “But as many as receive him, to them he gave the right to become the children of God, to those who believe in his name.”
The word “right” (Greek word exousian) has the idea of power and authority. Literally, it expresses the idea of being out in the public and hence, to have public right or public authority.
Now, what John is saying here is that when we receive Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, and believe in His name, then God gives us the right, the authority, to become part of His family and to enter His heaven. “But as many as receive him, to them he gave the right to become the children of God.”
Now you know the real meaning of the word.
Say – When you stand before God, and He asks you, “What right to you have that I should let you into my heaven?” What will be YOUR answer?