If This Doesn’t Compel You, What Virtuous Act Would?

If the life and death of Jesus Christ does not compel you, what virtuous act would? Who can help you? Are people more compelled by their flesh, their egos, and their wealth? Is Jesus’ death not compelling enough to change your life?

Should Christians think so much about Jesus’ death? The first Christians had to be reminded of their death in Christ.

“For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again” (2 Cor. 5:14-15).

Would you say, “Lord, why can I not follow You now? I will lay down my life for Your sake”? Yet, Peter did and also denied Christ (John 13:36-38).

Have you not conformed? You should. Christians are to be so compelled by Christ’s love to be conformed to Christ’s death (Phil. 3:9-11). This is the whole work of a Christian. Most believers don’t even know that their salvation hinges on dying to become a Christian.

This is the whole sum of the Christian faith. This is the Gospel! First Corinthians 15:1-4 says that this is the gospel that saves us is Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection (cf. Rom. 1:16). Someone might say, “Oh, the gospel is much more than the death, burial, andCross Symbol resurrection.” This is true, but let that person understand how all-encompassing the death, burial, and resurrection is. There is not a part of the faith not embedded with this gospel. All of the Truth of the Gospel is within Jesus Christ and within His sacrifice. This does not set aside any doctrine, belief, or practice from Christ and His Apostles and prophets. This does not set aside the Scriptures at all, but rather establishes the power of Christ’s words and those of His Apostles and prophets.

Conforming to the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ means obeying “from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered” (Rom. 6:17). When we obey that Gospel, everything falls in line. What about temptations? Now, we are dead and alive in Christ. What about our past sins? What about forgiving others? What about preferences of church work and worship? We’re dead, and yet alive in Jesus Christ. What about anxiety or covetousness in regards to money? We’re dead to that, but alive in Christ. When our hope is in Christ to seek first the kingdom of God, all such things will be added to us (Matt. 6:33). What about recreation? We’re dead to anything distracting us from Him. Everything is different. Everything falls in line.

Is baptism a work or a conforming to Christ’s death and resurrection? Does any person do the work of baptizing oneself? No. We must be humbly believe to subordinate ourselves to be immersed in Christ’s name. From the very beginning, we were baptized being immersed in water in Jesus’ name that is into Christ’s death and we are alive in His resurrection.

Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we are united, we became the likeness of His death, but we also will be of the resurrection,” (Rom. 6:3-5).

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For He died, He died to sin once for all; but He lives, He lives to God” (Rom. 6:8-10).

Do you really have faith in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection?

“[B]uried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses” (Col. 2:12-13).

Is this saying that we are saved at baptism? How can baptism not be unto salvation?! This is the message of faith in death, burial, and resurrection of Christ!

Within the Gospel is saving grace. “[E]ven when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together” (Eph. 2:5-6). Is God working in your life (Eph. 2:8-10)? It is through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Did you realize that being baptized into Jesus’ death is when a believer is born again?

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” (1 Pet. 1:3).

“Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,” (1 Pet. 1:22-23).

“the forbearance of God waited in the days of Noah building a ship unto which a few, these are eight souls were saved through water. This is also an antitype, baptism now saves us, not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the request of a good conscience unto God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 3:20-21).

We are born again in the water and the Spirit (John 3:5). We are born and regenerated from death.

Now, everything changes. Our thinking changes. Christians are among those to whom is written, “transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom. 12:2).

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Rom. 8:5-6).

“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:1-3).

Our identity changes. Christ now lives in us (Gal. 2:20).

 “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

“[Jesus,] who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness” (1 Pet. 2:24).

“Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God” (Rom. 6:11-13).

Our heart changes (Rom. 6:16-18). Our customs and opinions change (Col. 2:20-22). We are dead to regulations. We are dead to entertainment in worship, but are alive in communion with Christ. We live in the resurrection of Christ. We’re alive in Christ. There is no life outside of Him. Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection puts our focus on Jesus Christ as the authority. Therefore, we turn to His words given to His Apostles and prophets.

We have a clear and simple message. The death, the burial, and the resurrection makes evangelism easier. Love is implied. Obedience is implied. Faith, confession, repentance, baptism, and faithful living are all implied. Commitment is implied. Counting the cost is implied. This is the most compelling event in the history of the world. If this message does compel, then nothing can. There is no other truth than this amazing and beautiful act of love.

Because of our death to world and our life in Christ, we have an aroma. “To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Cor. 2:16).

Let us be motivated and compelled by Christ everyday.

 “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again” (2 Cor. 5:14-15).

Therefore, we can endure unto eternal glory.

“This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him,We shall also live with Him. If we endure,We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us” (2 Tim. 2:11-12).

About Scott J Shifferd

Minister, church of Christ in Jacksonville, FL. Husband and father of four. Email: ScottJon82[at]yahoo.com
This entry was posted in Baptism, Christ, Church of Christ and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to If This Doesn’t Compel You, What Virtuous Act Would?

  1. Pingback: Three Days, Three Nights | Ernie's Musings

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