I want to take a stab at why Christians don’t get this, and possibly why there is a lack of Christians pursuing the righteousness we are called to. To answer both of those in one fell swoop, I would blame the pulpit. Too many pastors in too many pulpits toe the line because they have fear of man, or because they do not know what Authority they are truly under. Pastors are to deliver to the sheep the whole counsel of God, every bit of it (Acts 20:27-28). Pastors are to deliver this counsel as one with authority because of the One with all authority has commissioned pastors to deliver it. Pastors are to do this despite opposition, even more so because of opposition (Jeremiah 42:6; Acts 4:19-20). Enough lambasting your pastor.
Addressing these issues to the members of the body of Christ, what is preventing a Christian from pursuing the these clear commands for fruitful righteousness? My best guess is ignorance. I don’t mean this in a demeaning way, I mean it in the simple way. The I-had-no-idea kind of ignorance. The hyper-grace-antinomian-brainwashing kind of ignorance. The kind of ignorance that believes John 3:16 without Romans 6:1-14. The kind of ignorance that doesn’t know that a changed heart leads to a changed life. The kind of ignorance that does not recognize being raised from the dead is significant.
For example, Colossians 1:9-14 says, “9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood,the forgiveness of sins.”
Lookie here. Paul prays that the Christians in Colossae would be filled with the knowledge of God, wisdom, and spiritual understanding. Paul does not want any Christian to be labeled ignorant. He wants each person baptized in to Christ to know Christ. He wants each of us to be fruitful in good works and to be increasing in the knowledge of God.
Why does Paul desire (command) this for each Christian? So that we may live a life worthy of the Lord. But hey, that’s legalism! No, it is Gospel. You have been saved, lived like it.
This is the same pattern we find throughout all of Scripture. Abraham is called out of the land of darkness (redeemed) and he is called to believe the promises of God and live like it. Israel is brought out of bondage in Egypt (redeemed) and given commandments to live like it. Oh, and if you notice in Israel’s history, they are punished by failing to obey the covenant of grace they were brought in to. There are consequences against the redeemed for not living like the redeemed.