Throughout history and in every other religion on Earth, mankind strives to be worthy of God. Every man-made religion teaches how to become good enough to merit God’s approval. That is the opposite of Christianity. Jesus Christ did all the work. It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God: our righteousness, holiness, and redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30). He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification (Romans 4:23). As a result, you can be born again, created anew, as a new creature, who has been created in God’s image.
Once this has happened, the believer in Jesus Christ has a daily choice. They can choose to live in a way that pleases God. Or, they can live in a way that grieves God. In the Old Testament Law, this can be summarized in a single passage of infinite depth and meaning…
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
Likewise, all of the New Testament instruction to Christians can be summarized in a single passage, which replaces all the rules and regulations of all the man-made religions of the world…
As you know, we dealt with each one of you like a father with his children, urging and encouraging you and pleading that you lead a life worthy[516 aksíōs] of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. (1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 NRSV)
- 516 aksíōs (an adverb)
- worthily (viewed as “becoming”); suitable because recognized as fitting (having worth that “matches” actual value).
This accurately characterizes all of the Apostle Paul’s teaching. The good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ restores your relationship with God. As a result, you have his righteousness put to your credit. Now live that way. Let your life be worthy of the actual value you now have as a child of God.
Here we have the whole law of Christian conduct in a nutshell. There may be many detailed commandments, but they can all be deduced from this one. We are lifted up above the region of petty prescriptions, and breathe a bracing mountain air. Instead of regulations, very many and very dry, we have a principle which needs thought and sympathy in order to apply it, and is to be carried out by the free action of our own judgments.
Now it is to be noticed that there are a good many other passages in the New Testament in which, in similar fashion, the whole sum of Christian conduct is reduced to a ‘walking worthy’ of some certain thing or other, and I have thought that it might aid in appreciating the many-sidedness and all-sufficiency of the great principles into which Christianity crystallises the law of our life, if we just gather these together and set them before you consecutively.
They are these: we are told in our text to ‘walk worthy of God.’ Then again, we are enjoined, in other places, to ‘walk worthy of the Lord,’ who is Christ. Or again, ‘of the Gospel of Christ.’ Or again, ‘of the calling wherewith we were called.’ Or again, of the name of ‘saints.’ And if you put all these together, you will get many sides of one thought, the rule of Christian life as gathered into a single expression–correspondence with, and conformity to, a certain standard.–MacLaren’s Expositions