What do those outside of Christ need? Sometimes I get the impression that Christians think those outside of Christ only need to rely upon Christ. At other times, if a disciple perceives that someone is engaged in certain types of sin then I might hear a comment about the need for repentance.
Does anything about all of this strike you as odd? It does me.
What do we discover if we listen to scripture? To rely upon Christ’s death involves us entering into God’s transformation project. God’s power takes us from being spiritually dead to making us alive with Christ. His power raises us up from our watery burial to a new spiritual state as a new creation in Christ. Everything is new. New purpose. New allegiance. New motivations. New lifestyle. New family and community. New guidance.
The point is everyone is changed. Everyone needs to alter how they live. Everyone should approach life differently after trusting in Christ.
For example, perhaps all of his life someone avoided lying because deceiving others undermines trust. Or maybe another person insisted upon telling the truth because of her upbringing.
However, for a disciple of Christ the reason to tell the truth has changed. Lying is jettisoned not just for pragmatic reasons nor heritage. Disciples tell the truth because they serve Christ.
“If you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above …. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you … Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its practices” (Colossians 3:1,5,9). Or as Paul would describe it in Ephesians: it is because of what God’s power has worked in our lives (chapter 2) that we should learn from Christ thus putting away “falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another” (Ephesians 4:20-25).
Yes, some will need to alter their lifestyle more than others. However, everyone needs to live transformed lives. Thus, those listening to the good news also need to hear about repentance (Luke 24:47; Acts 11:18). Otherwise, the presenter does everyone a disfavor.
How can someone comprehend what it means to live worthy of the calling (Ephesians 4:1), unless the presenter explains what it means to follow Jesus?
What type of a new member will the church receive if someone got wet in order for Jesus to be his savior, but he never understood what it means for Jesus to be his Lord?
How can someone count the cost of discipleship, if he or she has never heard about picking up one’s cross to follow Christ? Jesus taught cross-bearing is necessary (Mark 8:34).
Responding to Christ involves more than just getting saved. It is more than just rushing to the water.
It involves relying on Christ and God’s power in order to launch out on a new life. It entails serving new purposes and having a new authority on the throne of our hearts. May the Lord’s church be filled with godly people exclaiming, “May your will, not mine be done.”