I just read this post from a friend and I am a bit confused. According to him you don't give your life to Christ, you instead receive Christ's life.

I want to deeply understand this. What is the difference? What, according to Bible, is supposed to be said?

3 Answers 3


I'm going to explain these two terms as they are normally used in Christian circles.

When someone talks about "giving their life to Christ" they mainly mean it in the sense of being a completely dedicated follower of Jesus. This is in the same sense that we might say of a dedicated doctor that "she gave her life to curing diseases" - meaning that she spent all her time doing it, made it her number one priority etc. With Jesus, saying that "we give our life to Jesus" is meant in that sense, but also in the sense that we trust Jesus with our life - we hand it over to him for safekeeping, in the same way that a child might "give" a large amount of money to his parents for safekeeping. In both of those senses we can and should "give our lives to Jesus", and there is Biblical support for both.

There is another sense of giving something in which we mean "to make a gift of something to someone for their benefit" - for example to give a car to someone who needs it. In that sense your friend is right, in that we cannot give anything to Jesus that he needs - not even our lives. He is God and has everything he needs.

It is also true that we receive new life from Jesus. This is fundamental to Christian doctrine, and well-attested in the Bible - for example Mark 10:30, Luke 18:30 and 1 Timothy 1:16.

TLDR: Your friend is right about us receiving life from Jesus, but we do also give our lives to Jesus in some ways.

  • Arguably dedicating my life to Christ and telling others about Him does benefit Him.
    – Chipster
    Commented Jan 3, 2020 at 21:47
  • 1
    Mainstream Christian belief would definitely say it does not. That's not to say he doesn't like you dedicating your life to him, ir want you to dedicate your life to him, but there is nothing he needs from you. Commented Jan 4, 2020 at 19:27

Let's start with a quote from a favorite author of mine: Ravi Zacharias

Jesus Christ did not come to make bad people good, but to make dead people alive.

The central tenet of Christianity is that man is a fallen, sinful creature, and thus spiritually dead. Christ sacrificed himself on the cross to pay the price for that sin, and thus made his believers spiritually alive again. This is the free gift of Christ: accept that death as a sacrifice for your own sins. John 3:16 encapsulates this

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Christians commonly call this giving your life to Christ. It is commonly symbolized by most Christian denominations through baptism, the symbolic death of the old, sinful self, and the start of a new life in Christ.

What Christians gain in return is something called the Holy Spirit (referred to by Jesus as The Advocate in this version). John 15:26-27

“When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning."

The Holy Spirit is what aids Christians in their walk as new creations. In addition, Christians are expected to remember Christ's sacrifice and act differently. Galatians 2:20 (emphasis mine)

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

And Jesus himself in Luke 9:23-26

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

The concept here is clear: Christians are expected to live differently than they did before because Christ now lives within them.

  • thank you all I realy learned a lot wwith your awesome answers, I have a clearer idea now and I understand better the point, I will retained that we can say both, we can dedicate our lives to Jesus (give our lives to Jesus), and receive the holy spirit, or receive Jesus life, leave like he wants, accept him as our savior and follow him (receive Jesu's Life). thanks a lot again
    – Desmon
    Commented Dec 31, 2019 at 12:31

People often use the phrase "I gave my life to Christ" to refer to the moment they "got saved". I think this phrase is confusing as a person is saved the moment they believe in Jesus and that He died and rose again for their sins. This is the moment one becomes 'saved' from the penalty of sin, the wrath of God, and eternity separated from God.

I think the book of Romans details in great chronological order going from being without God and in sin 1-3, the moment of faith 3-4, the results of faith 5, the defense, 6, the understanding of the believers struggle 7, the resource and work of the Spirit 8, what about Israel and God's chosen people 9, the requirement of belief 10, all the way to presenting oneself as a living sacrifice (giving your life to Christ)

Romans 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

To be clear, a person becomes a Christian when they accept Jesus' life given for them. Once the person has accepted the free gift then they should give their lives to Jesus as an act of worship and not as a requirement for salvation.


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