“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called.”
God calls you to excellence. He calls you personally and decisively to a Path that reflects His character. The Lord calls you to excellence according to His standards, not according to the world’s standards.
This is what Jesus meant when He said to Peter (and us): Follow me.
It is what scripture means when it admonishes us to “live a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called.” The word for “worthy” is the Greek axios, a word we studied in the Ephesians series. Axios means “weighing as much as, of like value, worth as much.” A good picture of axios is a set of scales that balance so that the weight of the item on one side corresponds to the weight of the standard on the other side.
When the item on one side of the scale meets the standard—that is, corresponds to the weight—on the other side of the scale, it is said to be axios, or worthy. We could translate Ephesians 4.1 this way: “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life that meets the standards of the calling to which you have been called.”
The Path to which the Lord called Peter is an axios path. It is a life lived in alignment with the character of Christ. It is living and working in a way that corresponds to God’s standards. Before we say something or do something, we should stop and ask, “Is this axios? Does it align with God’s standards? Is it worthy of the life to which God calls me?”
It is worth noting that the axios path—the call to the excellence of God’s way—is repeated in several books of the bible.
“Let your manner of life be worthy (axios) of the gospel of Christ.” (Philippians 1:27)
“Walk in a manner worthy (axios) of the Lord.” (Colossians 1:10)
“Repent and turn to God, performing deeds worthy (axios) of repentance.” (Acts 26:20)
“Walk in a manner worthy (axios) of God.” (1 Thessalonians 2:12)
It is critical to understand that for those who believe in Jesus Christ, “the scale of salvation” has already been balanced by God’s grace in Christ. The truth is that none of us are worthy of God’s saving work on our behalf—not any part of it. We have worth because we are created in God’s image and likeness, but because of our sin, which is a condition or disposition and not merely an individual act, we are unworthy of God’s mercy and grace.
Any righteousness we have before God or even within ourselves from God, is a gift of grace. It is not something of which we are worthy. As Romans 3.23 says, we have fallen short of God’s standards of righteousness. We have missed the mark.
There is no work we can do that can compensate for or equal the “weight” of our sin. The wages of sin is death (Rom. 6.23), and the payment for sin has been made by Christ’s death on the cross. As Paul teaches in Ephesians 2.8-9, our salvation is by grace through faith and not the result of works. God calls us to receive the gift of salvation by faith.
The Path, on the other hand, focuses on how you respond to the gift of salvation that God has given and that you have received by faith. It is the call of Christ to a life that reflects the reality of your salvation, aligns with the standards of his character, and flows from the presence of his grace and power in your life.