The Christian's clarion call to the world is 'Accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior'. The word accept means: To take or receive with approval or favor, to agree or to consent to. You will come to see that the use of the word 'accept' has become the basis of misunderstanding of how salvation really works.
Most Chrisitians have the following viewpoint of God:
God sent his son, Jesus, with a message that if the world would receive it they would be saved from destruction. All day long God has his arms stretched out longing for people to respond favorably to this message of life.
The greatest problem with this line of thought is that the responsibility is placed on the unbeliever, and all he need do is ACCEPT Jesus and he will be saved. This is nonsense, because the scriptures paint a very different picture of salvation. Consider:
When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many AS HAD BEEN APPOINTED to eternal life believed.
The word 'accept' denotes a choice of the accepter. If you ask me to accept something that must mean that I have a choice in the matter. But is salvation a CHOICE?
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, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
John tells us here that those who come to God DO NOT do so by THEIR OWN will but by THE WILL OF GOD. In order to continue on to understanding you must come to see this verse as a GOVERNING principle when dealing with salvation. We are born of God NOT BY OUR WILL but BECAUSE of God's will. We see this again in Galatians:
...who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the WILL OF OUR GOD and Father,
Again, acceptance denotes the will of the accepter. But salvation is not based on our choice. Consider
...just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,
Here we see God doing the choosing AND the predestination. The problem is that when most Christians read this they assume that God does this by his foreknowledge. This is ridiculous because we just read in John where it states that salvation is based on an act of the will of God.
...also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,
Again this act of predestination was ACCORDING to his PURPOSE. Just as a side bar let me try and explain predestination. God wants to build a fence so he FIRST makes a hammer. When the time comes when the job requires the use of a hammer he selects that hammer. The hammer DOES NOT accept him. The hammer was MADE FOR THIS PURPOSE. Consider:
2 Timothy 1:9
...who did save us, and did call with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, that was given to us in Christ Jesus, before the times of the ages,
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
What were the tools used to BRING us to God? Grace and faith, consider:
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
Acceptance? Not hardly! The grace was GOD's and the faith used was GOD's gift.
So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;
Again the choice was God's.
Listen to Paul's description of his salvation:
But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles...
Look at this; God set him apart, God called him through his grace, WHEN IT PLEASED GOD he revealed his son in him. Wow this is amazing. NONE of these things that established the salvation of Paul had ANYTHING to do with him but EVERYTHING to do with God.
1 Thessalonians 1:4
...knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you;
God's choice and NOT your acceptance.
2 Thessalonians 2:13
But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.
This verse again shows that our salvation is BASED NOT ON the foreknowledge of God but the CHOICE OF GOD. So we must conclude that salvation is NOT based on our ACCEPTANCE but on GOD's choice.
What about whosoever believeth?
Let us look at the most famous verse of the entire bible:
16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
Ahhhhhh you say does not this verse denote us choosing and accepting God. Nahhhhhhh it doesn't. There are several 'whosoever believeth' verses throughout the New Testament but does that tell us HOW we are saved or does it allow us to IDENTIFY who is being saved? When we see the phrase 'whoever believes' this is an identification, because we see that belief comes about by faith and we saw earlier that the FAITH THROUGH WHICH WE BELEIEVE IS OF GOD. This therefore is a way of DETERMINING who is born of God. It is like having a bunch of fruit trees in your yard and not knowing which of them is a Mango tree. So I come to you and say 'the tree that produces a mango fruit is a mango tree'. In the same way whosoever believes IS born of God
So do we ACCEPT God into our lives? No, but he CHOOSES us into his. The fallacy that we 'accept Jesus' bears exposing because Christians the world over harbor the SILLY notion that unbelievers RESIST God. We are born of God BY HIS WILL and NO ONE can resist his will.