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No one is obligated to be a Christian, nor can one be forced to become a disciple of Jesus. Someone cannot make you do the things necessary to be saved, or coerce you against your will to obey God’s commands. You must make that decision for yourself. While it is true the Bible teaches we must admonish those who do not obey the commandments of God (2 Thessalonians 3:14-15), He still gives us free will to decide to obey or not (Proverbs 16:9; Joshua 24:15). You have a choice in the matter. Either submit to God, or don’t. One of the first principles every human being must come to realize is each one of us has a personal responsibility toward God.That responsibility involves the salvation of the soul. Quite frankly, there is nothing more important on this earth. If you want to go to heaven, you must do what God has commanded. It is that simple. This means that you bear the sole responsibility for your own soul! It is your choice to obey God and yours alone.
That word responsibility is a “big” word, not because of its number of letters, but because of the meaning it carries. The Oxford Dictionary defines the word as, “The state or fact of being accountable … A moral obligation to behave correctly towards, or in respect of.” Do you see a spiritual application in there? Since Jesus paid the debt of our sins by dying on the cross (Romans 3:23-26, 5:8), then we must be faithful to Him and serve Him. It implies that we have a moral obligation to behave correctly in respect to what He has done for us. In addition, we will, indeed, be held accountable for our actions (Revelation 20:12).
Keep the above points in mind as you read and consider Hebrews 5:12. This verse teaches us a key responsibility we have toward God, it is to grow into spiritual maturity! There are certain characteristics that God desires for us to develop and produce in our lives. Just as any infant must grow, Christians too, must grow. We cannot remain “babes in Christ” forever (1 Corinthians 3:1). No one should be baptized, added to the church (Acts 2:38,40,47) and then just remain stagnant. We must show love and gratitude to God by making our best effort to grow.
Therefore, Christian responsibility extends beyond our obedience to the Gospel call. One does not stop obeying God’s commands once they have been saved, because salvation is not fully complete until we get to heaven (1 Corinthians 15:24). But again, no one is going to force you to obey His commands, nor coerce you into growing in your spirituality, or maturing in the faith. This is something you must do for yourself! It is a personal duty and it should be the most important goal of every Christian. Each Christian bears that responsibility themselves.
Fortunately, spiritual growth can be measured. The scriptures clearly outline what the characteristics of a mature Christian look like. Having such characteristics distinguishes you from the world and establish you as a follower of Jesus. Read John 13:15. Consider the context of that passage and see if you can determine what the goal of every Christian should be. I’ll give you a hint. Paul teaches the same principle in 1 Corinthians 11:1 and Philippians 3:17. Consider also what is said in 3 John 11. Do you see what a Christian’s responsibility is by reading these verses?
New Christians (or even a long-time Christians, for that matter) should read 1 John 2:15-17. Here we learn that we are not to love the world, nor the things in the world. This clearly indicates that we are to leave behind our former behaviors and focus more on spiritual, heavenly things. The bottom line is this, we cannot be baptized and then do absolutely nothing! If you do not put forth your best effort to be pleasing to God, then what does it really matter that you were baptized? “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only,” (James 1:22). The Bible teaches we have a responsibility to not only obey God’s commands, but by doing so, we may also develop into mature Christians. This is God’s will and it is pleasing to Him. Accepting our responsibility toward God causes us to be that shining light and example to others He desires us to be, which brings glory to Him (Matthew 5:16). – TS