Knowing, loving, following and becoming like Jesus Christ is a lifelong pursuit, which means that change must be intentionally and continually taking place. We aren’t going to become godly by accident.A more important truth is this: We aren’t’ going to become godly at all if we’re relying on our own strength and wisdom. In fact, we won’t even desire to become godly if something more foundational hasn’t first taken place in our lives.
That “foundational something” is new life in Christ… what Jesus meant by being born again. We must first become something new… new creatures, the Apostle Paul calls it. A fundamental, radical, and utterly transformational spiritual change must first take place. We need new hearts. That will require drastic measures. It will require the acknowledgement that because of sin, rebellion, brokenness, lostness, pride, self-centeredness and more, that we aren’t who God has called us to be and we aren’t where God wants us to be. This “agreement” with God’s assessment of us and our condition should lead to great grief and sorrow and the devastating realization of deserved wrath.
Yet it’s more than just a sorrowful acknowledgement of guilt. It’s also the recognition of helplessness… that a person cannot lift himself or herself up out of the proverbial pit. We can’t save ourselves. Not only should this lead people to see their complete need for redemption, restoration, re-creation, and renovation, but it should also cause them to understand that it’s not something they can achieve or earn themselves . They need outside help. They need grace. They need a foreign and pure righteousness. They need their sin atoned for. Only by trusting in the Person and Work of the perfect godly man (the God-man), Jesus Christ, can a person be rightly related to God and then grow toward becoming all that God has called them to be. So, not only must a person flee from their self-deception, self-dependence and rebellion and all the sin that flows from it, but they must also, in and through the power of God’s Spirit, pursue the “Christlikeness” that God has purposed for them. To be sure, they must die to sin, but they must also be raised to newness of life.
I’ve written all of that to say this: If you want to become the godly person God wants you to be… alone, at home, at work, at church, in your community, in every sphere of life, then you’ve first got to do business with God by trusting in his provision alone… the Lord Jesus Christ. Becoming a godly person is not about “cleaning up your act” and simply being “more moral.” It’s about the Lord Jesus Christ living his life in you and through you. It’s about living according to and in the power of his Spirit, which dwells in you. A genuine and lasting change of character and conduct will take place, but only as the fruit of your relationship with God. Only by grace.
Soli Deo Gloria,