"Receive" = Accept/Approve?
What is the inner meaning behind "receive" in the Bible? In 1 Corinthians 4:7 we read,
"For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?"
I've looked up some verses which, according to Strong's Concordance, use the same hebrew word lambanō which, if interpreted as accept/approve, make clearly no sense at all.
James 3:1 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive (lambanō) the greater condemnation.
- Fancy an unbeliever, in the court of God on the day of judgment, humbly accepting and approving of his proper condemnation. I doubt you will ever see that.
Matthew 21:22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
- This passage teaches us we can "receive" anything we ask in faith from our heavenly Father. Now, can this "receive" mean accept/approve? Suppose I were to ask my Father in heaven for charity. Surely God would grant this holy petition (in time appropriate to God's plan), but when could I actually accept/approve this gift? Yes, it is the same with our petitions concerning our estate as it is with God's free, regenerating gift of a new heart. We never accepted/approved our new heart BEFORE God implanted it to us. We didn't have the chance. Our heart surgery (circumcision) was totally in God's hands, and we couldn't help but "receive" this loving grace.
Despite the truth proclaimed and the few verses laid down above the Bible is full of verses which DO make sense if the word "receive" is interpreted as accept/approve, and even verses which make no sense, if the hebrew word lambanō is NOT interpreted as accept/approve (A good example of this is Matt. 8:17, where Christ was said to "took (lambanō our infirmities" (we know Christ took our sins on Himself of His own will, not being compelled). But I even found verses which make no sense whether interpreted as gain, or accept/approve (An example: Matt. 10:38 tells us to "take" (lambanō) our crosses and follow Christ).
When Srong's Dictionary goes to define lambanō, it is not surprising to see they give it meanings which could only promote Arminian soteriology...
One interesting thing I found out is that lambanō occurs only in the New Testament, nowhere in the Old.
If you cannot answer my question at the top accurately (and I doubt you can), give me some general thoughts on this issue. Also, I would be interested to know if there has been official debates between Arminians and Calvinists on defining the term "receive" [in the New Testament].
In Christ our Lord,
Without a church
"To doubt God's mercy because our faith is feeble, is rather to rely upon our faith than upon the Lord. It is not the excellency and great measure of faith that makes us righteous before God, but Christ whom faith does receive and apprehend: which a weak faith can do as well as the strongest." ~John Ball (Puritan)