November 23

Text: Matthew 28:19

 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,”  (NASB)

A radical change occurred with Jesus’ resurrection.  Prior to Jesus’ resurrection, one belonged to God because he or she physically descended from Abraham through Isaac.  Later, when a non-Jewish person was accepted into Israel (proselytism), the person conformed to Jewish law, Jewish traditions, and Jewish practices.  The person in essence became Jewish—he or she converted to the nation of Israel.

With Jesus’ resurrection, Jesus became (potentially) the world’s Savior.  Now anyone could be a part of God’s family, not by being physically related to Abraham, but by committing himself or herself to the kind of faith Abraham had.  Connection to God was made through faith, not through a physical birth (see Galatians 3:23-29).  Christians are converted to a Savior, not a nation.

Faith in what?  Faith in the fact that Jesus is the Christ, the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:3 (also see Genesis 22:18 and Galatians 3:16).  Faith is in the fact that Jesus is the Christ. 

The person demonstrates faith in two ways.  (1) He or she repents.  He or she begins a continuing process of coming to awareness of how his or her life has opposed God’s ways and purposes.  Repentance is a redirection of who I am and how I live my life.  (2) He or she commits to this new way of life through baptism—a lifestyle determined by God and exemplified in Jesus. 

Repentance is primarily internal seeing and acknowledging to self my need.  Baptism is external as it (a) duplicates Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection and (b) declares a commitment to a new lifestyle determined by God in Jesus.

That new lifestyle is based on obedience.  The purpose of obedience is to declare appreciation for all God does for us in Jesus Christ.  By obeying, we say, “Thank you!”

Note that disciples are made—disciples are not the result of physical kinship based on physical birth.

Suggestion for reflection: How did you become a Christian?  (Read Ephesians 4:17-32.)

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