Godly Living

Galatians 5:22-25 (NASB)
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit."

The Bible calls on Christians to live godly lives. But what does it mean to live a godly life? Is it keeping the Ten Commandments? Is it keeping a set of precepts or guidelines handed down by whatever church one happens to attend? Is it living by one's own understanding of Biblical morality? Or is it just being charitable to others?

As Christians, we are saved solely by the grace of God and faith in Jesus Christ. As a result of acceptance of this grace by faith, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit as a guarantor of our salvation (Ephesians 1:13-14).

"Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, or me His prisoner; but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher." (2 Timothy 1:8-11)

"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus; who gave Himself for us, that HE MIGHT REDEEM US FROM EVERY LAWLESS DEED and PURIFY FOR HIMSELF A PEOPLE FOR HIS OWN POSSESSION, zealous for good deeds." (Titus 2:11-14)

Living according to the grace of God means loving and serving one another (Galatians 5:13). It is a call to walk in the Spirit, allowing the Spirit to transform us into the kind of people God wants us to be. Accordingly, being led by the Spirit bears fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Following the Spirit's lead fulfills the purpose for which Jesus died, to redeem us from sin and enable us to truly love and serve each other as He commanded us in John 13:34-35.

A godly life is lived by continually looking to Christ, who is the Spirit, and not to ourselves. For in beholding the glory of Christ we become changed into His likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18) and do naturally what is pleasing to Him.

"Therefore, however you want people to treat you, so treat them, for this is the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 7:12)

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35)

"Beloved, if our hearts does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight. And this is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. And the one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And we know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit which He has given us." (1 John 3:21-24)

"Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for He who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, 'YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET,' and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' Love does no wrong to a neighbor; love therefore is the fulfillment of the law." (Romans 13:8-10)

"Bear one another's burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ." (Galatians 6:2)

So the things that we do in life and whatever motives we have for doing them, falling within the commandment of Jesus Christ to us to love one another as he loves us, constitute godly living. Not following a set of rules and regulations which cannot change the heart or our motives, but following the lead of the Holy Spirit and allowing Him to transform our lives so that we can be truly altruistic in dealings with our fellow human beings. No set of rules or laws can make us truly love one another. Change comes from within, and it is brought about only by Christ working in us. The change that enables us to truly love one another (1 Corinthians 13), to love and pray for our enemies (Matthew 5:43-45), to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9), to see to the needs of our fellow human beings (1 John 3:17), to show hospitality to strangers (Hebrews 13:2), to be faithful in our marriages (Hebrews 13:4), to be of comfort to those in sadness or grief (2 Corinthians 1:3-4), to encourage one another in the faith (1 Thessalonians 5:11; Hebrews 10:23-25), and to turn away from anything that would hinder our relationship with Christ (Matthew 5:29-30; 2 Timothy 2:19). All these are part of a living, Christian life. Performance of good works as a result of true faith and the inner working of the Holy Spirit, in accordance with the Gospel of Christ and for His glory.

And by faith as we behold Christ, as we follow the Spirit's lead, we can experience the transformation of our lives into His likeness. We can experience the joy of living a godly life, and from the light that shines from such a life so others may be drawn to Jesus.

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