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Obeying Whatever the Penalties

Obeying Whatever the Penalties

By Jim Nieman 

In an article* for Christian Normal from 1967, Christian church theologian Jack Cottrell, who died in September 2022, contended that—and this can be a paraphrase—the worry that one thing dangerous will occur to you when you do one thing flawed, or the expectation that one thing good will occur to you when you don’t do one thing flawed (or when you do one thing proper), just isn’t the way in which a Christian ought to dwell.  

He referred to this way of living because the “motivation of consequence.”  

Cottrell wrote, “To obey the legislation merely out of regard for the implications [of our actions] is legalistic self-love,” and that it successfully “reverses Romans 3:28.”  

After all, Romans 3:28 says, “For we keep that an individual is justified by religion aside from the works of the legislation.” 

A Christian is—or ought to be—motivated by gratitude and love, not by worry or greed. A Christian delights within the legislation and desires to obey it (or, a minimum of, they need to).  

One line from Cottrell’s essay stands out: “The final word check of Christian religion and love is the willingness to obey whatever the penalties.” 

That’s why we’re all right here, round this desk—as a result of Christ liked his Father and obeyed him in dying on the cross. 

Within the backyard, simply previous to his arrest, on the eve of his crucifixion, Jesus prayed, “Father, if You might be keen, take away this cup from Me; but not My will, however Yours be completed” (Luke 22:42, New American Normal Bible). 

Jesus was motivated to obey due to his love for his Father. And he was motivated by his love for us.  

Jesus set an instance for all of us—not simply in his demise on the cross, but in addition by the way in which he lived his whole life.  

We bear in mind Jesus Christ—his life, his demise, his resurrection, and the promise we’ve of everlasting life—simply now as we partake of those emblems: the bread representing his physique, and the fruit of the vine representing his blood shed for our sins. 

And why can we do that? We’re not motivated by the consequence of doing it or not doing it. As a substitute, we do it as a result of we love our Savior and our God. 

Prayer: Assist us chorus from selfishness, however to dwell our lives in devoted obedience born of your love for us and our love for you. 

Jim Nieman serves as managing editor of Christian Normal. 

*Jack Cottrell, “In Protection of the Gospel,” Christian Normal, January 21, 1967, pp. 7-8. 

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