What does the Bible teach about a Christian's responsibility?
Numerous commands appear in the New Testament regarding a Christian's responsibility, from sharing the gospel (Matthew 28:18–20) to continuing to do good (2 Thessalonians 3:13) to praying (Philippians 4:4–7). However, in 1 Corinthians 15:58, Paul synopsizes our responsibilities in light of the resurrection of Jesus and our hope in eternal life.
He writes, "Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:58). We are called to be steadfast and immovable—spiritually grounded (see also Galatians 5:1 and Ephesians 6:10–18). We are called to be always abounding in the work of the Lord—loving and offering hope to all (see also Galatians 6:9–10). We are called to know our work in the Lord is not in vain—this is solid, unwavering faith.
When we believe Jesus, when we accept His death and resurrection on our behalf, we will begin to allow God to instill in us a desire to obey Him. Our motivations and our responsibilities begin to look like walking with Jesus. John wrote, "Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome." (1 John 5:1–3).
This all hinges on the resurrection. Paul knew that if we tied ourselves to the resurrection, our intentions, motivations, and actions would be eternally focused. Of "first importance" is "that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:3–4).
Colossians 3:2–4 tells us where our focus should be: "Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." When we are focused on God and His ways, we understand and carry out the responsibilities with which He has entrusted us.
God has plans for us, for our relationships with other Christians, for our relationships with others outside the faith, and for the church universal (Ephesians 2:10). "Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love" (Ephesians 4:15–16). It is our responsibility to yield to the work of the Holy Spirit within us (Philippians 2:12–13) and to grow in faith and obedience to Christ.
When we press into our relationship with God, He will direct us (Proverbs 3:5–6). Each facet of our lives, from finances to romance, from talents to our physical health, should continually grow in its submission to God's guidance and direction (James 2:26).
Our responsibility is to learn and understand God's instruction, first from the Bible (such as James 1:27: "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world), and then learning the "unforced rhythms of grace" (Matthew 11:28–30, MSG) from walking with Jesus consistently.
"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ" (Colossians 3:23–24).
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