Alive in Christ

by Mike Ratliff

Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. (1 Timothy 4:7-8 ESV)

In the passage above (1 Timothy 4:7-8) the Apostle Paul used the Greek word ευσεβεια in v8, which is translated here as “godliness.” What is godliness? The word ευσεβεια in this context describes the condition of devotion and piety toward God. Godliness is a good translation, though it could also have been rendered as “holiness.” Godliness is a word which encapsulates the whole of true religion and is is called “godliness” because piety toward God is the foundation and the principal part of it. In the Greek, when this word is used to describe a devout worshipper of God, it also carries with it the general sense of a pious life or a life which is morally good. My brethren, this is the description of those who are truly alive in Christ because this is also the description of Christlikeness when it is applied to to genuine believers belonging to the Lord Jesus.

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. (Colossians 2:6-7 ESV)

6ως ουν παρελαβετε τον χριστον ιησουν τον κυριον εν αυτω περιπατειτε 7ερριζωμενοι και εποικοδομουμενοι εν αυτω και βεβαιουμενοι τη πιστει καθως εδιδαχθητε περισσευοντες [εν αυτη] εν ευχαριστια (Colossians 2:6-7 WHNU)

Before we exegete these two verses let us remember the definition of godliness from above, which is the foundation for Christlikeness. Now let us look at what it really means to be alive in Christ. Carefully read vv6-7. What is Paul exhorting us to do? Notice first that this is a message intended for those who have actually received (παρελαβετε) Christ Jesus as their Lord. This word describes the action of associating oneself in a familiar, intimate act. This verb is in aorist tense, indicative mood, and active voice in v6. This describes action that the subject has done already. We don’t continually receive (παρελαβετε) Christ as Lord. It is once for all. However, Paul is telling us that we must walk (περιπατειτε) in Christ the same way we received (παρελαβετε) Him. However, περιπατειτε in v6 is in present tense, imperative mode, and active voice. This describes a command which involves continuous or repeated action, therefore, we are to walk in Christ as a way of life a certain way.

Those who truly receive Christ as Lord and Saviour do so the same way and it is described here for us as the same way we are to walk (περιπατειτε) in Him as a way of life. We are to walk (περιπατειτε) in Him, rooted (ερριζωμενοι) and built up (εποικοδομουμενοι) in Him and established (βεβαιουμενοι) in the faith (πιστει), just as we were taught (εδιδαχθητε), abounding (περισσευοντες ) in thanksgiving (ευχαριστια).

Before we define these words remember the term walk in Him or walk in Christ is the familiar New Testament term denoting our daily conduct. To walk in Christ is to live a life patterned after His. It is not as the Emergents say “a way of life called a ‘missional discipleship of spiritual formation that guides people to follow “Jesus” in his mission of restoration and reconciliation.’” None of these terms refer to anything we are discussing here. Instead they refer to integrating mysticism and new age philosophy into a “church” environment, but the end product is anything but Christian and the fruit of it will not be the same either. The “Jesus” thy profess to follow is not Jesus Christ, but another Jesus who denounces the Word of God as the truth, despising the good doctrines of Penal Substitution, and the coming Final Judgment.

That said, those who are truly alive in Christ actually walk in Him and are able to do this because they are rooted (ερριζωμενοι) and built up (εποικοδομουμενοι) in Him. The word ερριζωμενοι refers to becoming stable in Christ. This word is a perfect participle in passive voice. This is an action that is the result of the main verb and it is done to the subject; he or she does not do it to themselves. However, the word εποικοδομουμενοι is a present passive/middle participle, which describes continuous or repeated action that is contemporaneous with the main verb. This word describes the action of building up or edifying. Christians are also established (βεβαιουμενοι) in the faith (πιστει). The usage of the word βεβαιουμενοι here refers to the action of making firm or reliable so as to warrant security and inspire confidence, to make true, to fulfill. In the New Testament when used in reference to Christians personally, it signifies confirming his or her salvation or their preservation in a state of grace. This establishment of Christian authenticity is made in the faith (πιστει). The sense here is objective, referring to the truth of Christian doctrine. Spiritual maturity develops upward from the foundation of biblical truth as taught and recorded by the apostles. This rooting, building, and establishing is in sound doctrine.

Paul then tells us that all of this was the fruit of the teaching they had received from him abounding (περισσευοντες ) in thanksgiving (ευχαριστια). This describes the worship of God from a grateful heart that knows the truth that without the grace of God we would still be in our sins, ignorant of our lost condition, and bound for Hell. True worship of our omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent and immutable God is done correctly only by those who are truly alive in Christ and know that without Him they can do nothing.

To all reading this, are you truly alive in Christ? If you believe that you are, but your “relationship” with Jesus Christ is in any way different or established differently than what we have looked at in Colossians 2:6-7 then you are not truly alive in Him so you cannot walk in Him. If you are truly in Christ, are you truly walking in Him as we saw in these verses? If you are not then more than likely you have a huge problem. I saw a video today of an interview with a man who claimed to be Christian, but who saw nothing wrong with being drunk, fornicating, stealing, lying, et cetera. Why? Because he had recognized these as sins and knew that they were so and so He was forgiven of them. He never read His Bible. He lived and looked just like the world, but he was a Christian because of a profession of faith he made as a child even though he did not walk in Christ in any way whatsoever. His life was totally devoid of any piety or devotion towards God. Is he truly alive in Christ? Are you?

Soli Deo Gloria!

10 thoughts on “Alive in Christ

  1. Hi Mike,
    This was so good. I am sure finding, in my talking with others who state they are Christian and those who are not, a belief that God will “work it all out in the end” and our differences in interpreting the bible or our lifestyles etc. will all be forgotten/forgiven because God is love and does not wish for any to go to hell. Incredible, isn’t it, the ease by which man assumes to speak for God.
    In my bible study yesterday a friend told me her mother in law sees no reason to become a Christian because….”they are no different from anyone else I see.” People are looking at us, to us, for God and whether they should or not is not the point.
    We do need to live in the manner you described above and a true Christian will want to. God gives us the desire to be a fragrance for Him.
    God richly bless you today and may you know He is keeping His eye on you as you go about your day.

  2. Thank you Diane. Yes, it makes a huge difference how we live. The enemy of our souls is a liar and he is working overtime to fill this world with his lies about the Gospel and true Christianity. I rejoice, however, that God is sovereign and He will save His children regardless.

  3. Amen, Mike! That is exactly how He saved me! I was not looking for salvation but His Sovereign Hand did it anyway.

  4. Hi Mike,

    Sometimes it seems as though the church has watered down God so much that others can’t see how Majestic and Awesome He really is. HE IS NOT HUMAN, HE IS NOT YOUR LITTLE BUDDY. We couldn’t even see His glory with out falling over dead!

    The church really needs to understand how truly big God is. ….only then will He get the respect that he truly deserves.

    Other wise as Diane said in her post about her friends mother in law,
    “In my bible study yesterday a friend told me her mother in law sees no reason to become a Christian because….”they are no different from anyone else I see.”

    We should be the ones showing and telling about our Majestic and Awesome God that we serve.

    Thanks again for your insight.

    Dennis

  5. I knew the true gospel, and always thought that I had to ‘make a decision’ and effect the changes on my own somehow. I spent years saying the sinner’s prayer over and over, and it wasn’t until something very serious happened (death in the family) that I saw that I wasn’t ‘right’ with Him and cried out to Him to remove the ‘barrier’ that kept me from understanding the true message of salvation, that HE does the saving, and without Him I can do nothing. :D

  6. Thank you MIke for all your research you do….I know each time I come to this site I am going to get deep teachings.
    Continue to let the Lord use you in this wonderful way.

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