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Grace Notes

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A GODLY PERSON WALKS WITH GOD
by Philip Owen

 

            God is the root of the word godliness. There can be no godliness apart from God. Neither goodness, nor morality, nor ethics, nor religion furnishes an appropriate synonym. Godliness has God, not man as its focus. The latter would be manliness. But believers are not called upon to be just good, or moral, or ethical, or religious men: they are called to godliness. “Exercise thyself rather unto godliness,” Paul told Timothy (I Tim. 4:7). Thomas Watson has observed that a chief attribute of godliness is that the godly walk with God. Certainly, he must have had that unique man, Enoch, in mind when he penned those words.
 
            Genesis provides this thumbnail biography of Enoch. “And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him” (5:21-24). This genealogy differs from the others recorded in this chapter in that God gives double record to the fact that this man walked with Him! God passed over centuries of human history involving millions of human lives and innumerable human accomplishments. But he paused at the life of Enoch to note that the two had walked together. Godliness—walking with God—is worthy of God’s note. To “walk” means “to go on habitually” with. Enoch shared unceasingly in the fellowship of God: what God wanted him to be, he was; what God wanted him to do, he did; where God wanted him to go, he went. The New Testament sheds additional light on what it meant for Enoch to walk with God. To walk with God means:
 
            To please God.  “Before his [Enoch’s] translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God” (Heb. 11:5). What a testimony! In order to walk with God we must please Him. Our wills must be yielded to His will, our love must be toward Him, our strength must be devoted to obeying the Word. He must have first place in our lives and be our All in All. We must habitually shun sin and promptly confess and forsake it when we fall.
 
            To proclaim Christ’s return. “And Enoch . . . prophesied of these saying, Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints” (Jude 14). The return of which Enoch spoke was not the rapture of the church but Christ’s return in glory to set up His earthly kingdom. Nevertheless, we see in this something significant respecting the meaning of walking with God, namely, that, like Enoch, the godly will believe the promises and prophecies of the Word of God, live their lives in the expectation of their fulfillment, and proclaim the truth of them to others.
 
            To preach against sin. Jude continues his brief portrait of Enoch by explaining that Enoch declared that the purpose of the coming of the Lord was “to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him” (v. 15). Enoch deplored and denounced sin while looking and longing for the coming of the Messiah to judge sinners and reign in righteousness.
 
            Though by no means an exhaustive explanation of what it means to walk with God, these two New Testament passages make clear that a godly walk withGod includes (1) doing what pleases Him; (2) believing, obeying, and proclaiming God’s Word; (3) focusing on Christ and anticipating His return; and (4) shunning sin and denouncing unrepentant sinners.

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