The Cycle of Godliness
In Romans 1:18-32 Paul manifests the cycle of depravity that embraces man in his sinful and unregenerate state. Man is born with the sense to understand that there is an eternal God in the heavens worthy of worship. But because of his sinful condition, he suppresses this knowledge thereby further darkening his mind. As he plunges deeper into sin and self-worship, his mind only becomes darker. At some point, God may give the man over to his darkness as a fitting punishment for his sin. And so you see the cycle of such sin leading to ever greater darkness until a man is utterly swallowed up in his own depraved condition.
Well, godliness is likewise. Paul prays that the Colossians “may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” But why is this? That they may “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” Note that it all begins with knowledge of the Lord’s will, which leads to spiritual wisdom, which leads to behavior, which leads to fruit-bearing, which leads to increasing in the knowledge of God. As the spiral in sin is downward leading to greater darkness and depravity, the spiral in purity is heavenward leading to greater light and godliness.
Paul then prays that they may “be strengthened with all power according to His glorious might for all endurance and patience.” So even this knowledge that Christians must have of His will and way must also be accompanied by the strength that only God can provide—a supernatural strength which can endure the fiery trial which is coming upon the world and even in our own nation. Christians will have to be endued from on high with patience and endurance to run the difficult race set before us.
But besides this power given us by the Holy One, there is one more asset we have to endure the fiery trial, and that is gratitude that we have been “qualified to share in the inheritance of the saints in light,” and “delivered from the domain of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Thus, we return to the place we began, speaking of darkness and light, depravity and godliness, damnation and redemption. And we’ve nothing to boast of; such is the gift of God. Let us join Paul in fervent prayer for God’s Church, that she grow in the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, and by His strength, walk in a manner worthy of Him.