The word right means "authority" or "power." This right applies to us, the called of God. Jesus came to give us abundant life and ultimately to save us. We cannot let ourselves feel as though we were behind the door when the gifts of God's Holy Spirit were handed out. He has given all whom He has called—all who have received Him—the power to become a son of God. We have that authority.
God is faithful and true to what Paul writes in I Corinthians 10:13, that He never gives us a trial that is too great for us. He has granted us the power to overcome. We have it, but most of the time, we do not use the gifts He has given. We perhaps lack the patience or the faith, and we back away from the challenge that He has put before us. But He remains faithful to His promise; the power is there. After all, we have the Holy Spirit, the very power that created the earth. Though we do not have it in the measure that we will eventually have it, we have enough to do the job that God has given us to do.
John 1:12 also mentions "those who believe in His name." "Name" to a Hebrew person indicates what the person is, and not the phonetic sound that is attached to this particular person. My name is John; that name identifies me. But to a Hebrew, the name of "Yahshua" or "Jesus" would not just identify the Person of Jesus, but he or she would take the name to indicate what He is—His character.
This principle carries over into English. When someone mentions another individual to us, we immediately think about that person's personality, the way he does things, the way he speaks, his mannerisms, his reputation, etc. If we hear the President's name, we instantly mentally conjure some of his characteristics. They flash before our minds.
Those who believe in Christ's name will be saved. Those who will become sons of God in the fullest sense are those who trust in, rely upon, and conduct their lives according to what God is—what Jesus Christ is. He is Lord. He is Master. He is Savior. He is Healer. He is Creator. He is Shepherd. He is Lawgiver. He is faithful to His promises.
Everything that Jesus Christ reveals to us about His personality and character is wrapped up in His name. So, we have to conduct our lives within the framework of trusting in that name, which. That is what will lead to eternal life. Because we trust and rely on His name, we will obey. We will have certain godly attitudes. We will submit.
John W. Ritenbaugh
John (Part Three)
We will focus on the word translated as "right." The King James Version reads "power." This is exousia (Strong's #1849), which has a variety of usages: "power," "authority," "capability," "ability," "strength," "entrusted," "commissioned." It implies the liberty or power to do something. This Greek word has its roots in exesti. The two of them, exesti and exousia, combine two different ideas, "right" and "might." A person can be given the right to do something and then given the might or power to do it. What does God do here through Jesus Christ? As many as receive Him, to them He gives the right and the power to become children of God.
John W. Ritenbaugh
Faith (Part Five)
Just because we see does not mean that we will believe because there is a spiritual aspect to this sort of seeing and believing. This passage indicates that "His own" showed not even a flash of recognition as to His true identity.
Consider the incongruity of this. We frequently hear of personalities in the public eye affecting some kind of a mode of dress or lifestyle that will set them apart and make them instantly recognizable. In this regard, compare Jesus Christ, the most unique Personality that ever lived in the history of mankind! He was a one-of-a-kind, the only human who ever lived life sinlessly. Yet, even those of His generation who saw Him could not identify Him, God in the flesh!
This suggests that one must be predisposed to believe, to have the ability to "see." It is interesting to note that, to those who exercised this faith, "He gave the power [right, authority, ability] to become the children of God" (verse 12). Only those who "see" and then "receive" Christ can enter into a relationship with God that results in nothing less than the creation of a new being.
John W. Ritenbaugh
Do You See God? (Part One)
Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing John 1:12: