When it comes to godly living, who you are determines how you’ll act. Jesus teaches us, “Every good tree bears good fruit” (Matt. 7:17), and the power of the resurrection is that all those who have trusted in Christ alone for their salvation have been raised with Christ. We have been made alive in Christ. We have been recreated. No longer are we unhealthy trees, but we are fruitful. We are now like the tree the psalmist describes in Psalm 1 that is “planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in season, and its leaf does not wither.”
Godly living is a result of God’s grace. The Lord has made his people alive with Christ. He has raised us, transforming us from dead and fruitless trees to those that yield an abundant harvest of good works. These good works are not a requirement for receiving God’s grace but are the result of having been made alive by his grace. You cannot will yourself to transformation. Being raised with Christ is an act of God’s resurrecting grace. The Lord freely offers this grace to all who would look to Christ in faith for the forgiveness of their sins and the hope of eternal life.
Bearing good fruit is a process. Christian, you have been made alive with Christ (Eph. 2:5), but there is also a sense in which God is continuing to make you alive by his grace. It is an ongoing process. There are twin realities at play. You are at once raised with Christ, and yet God is still raising you in Christ. Our resurrection in Christ is at the same time an objective reality and an ongoing process.
God accomplishes this ongoing process of making us more like Christ through his Word and by the power of his Holy Spirit. The Lord works through his Word, and so if we would be transformed, if we would become more like Christ, we must consume his Word. Alongside his Word, God works by his Spirit to apply the Word to you life. God is working in you to transform you.
As Christians who have been made alive with Christ, we can confidently seek to follow the commands of Scripture, knowing that it is God who works in us (Phil. 2:12-13). We need not fear that we will fall short of his standard, for we know that by grace and through faith we have been adopted as his children. God has forgiven us, and he is transforming us. He is continuing to work in us to make us like Christ. Godly living is a response to the grace already received that we accomplish by the grace he continues to supply.
John is a member of Lakewood who is a PhD candidate in Church History and Historical Theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. While awaiting graduation, he is serving with Lakewood’s Missions Ministry.