Axios is a greek word found in the New Testament; most recently to myself in Colossians 1:10.
“so that you may live a life worthy (axios) of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,” (emphasis added).
The definitions, as I’ve found them here (http://www.searchgodsword.org/lex/grk/view.cgi?number=514) are as follows…
- weighing, having weight, having the weight of another thing of like value, worth as much
- befitting, congruous, corresponding to a thing
- of one who has merited anything worthy
- both in a good and a bad sense
Having listened to a sermon by Greg Boyd on the passage I tend to agree that the third definition is incompatible with what is commonly known about salvation; that it is a free gift and nothing we do can deserve it. Pastor Boyd also made a reference to paying back a credit card that I am quite fond of. Illustrating that Jesus did not die for our sins so that he could extend us a line of credit to be paid back over time. Righteousness, salvation, and justification are all unearned; making the third definition (in this passage) obsolete.
During the sermon Greg expands on the second definition found here. He hammers home the point of living our lives in congruence with who we truly are in Christ. It pleases both God and ourselves when we find who we truly are in the righteousness of Christ. Jesus said it himself in the Gospel of John; he came (and would die) that we may have life abundantly and also that our joy would be made complete in him. When we live in a way that corresponds to that, joy and life are found.
When I heard that sermon I found it both enlightening and informative, increasing my understanding. However, when I read the first definition found above I was again thrown into the flames of thought. I was curious if there was more to what Pastor Boyd had shared. At first I had written it off, misunderstanding the definition as another encouraging a works based faith, much like the third. As I read it over again and pondered its meaning/how it fit into the Colossians passage I began to see that it wasn’t a works based answer, but perhaps a works incorporated answer.
While reading it a 7th, 8th, possibly 9th time the passage that I was reminded of was Jesus’ call in the Sermon on the Mount to be perfect as our heavenly father is perfect (Matt. 5:48). It is another impossible feat, like earning salvation, that we have apparently been called to do. As I reflected on the meaning of that in correlation with the definition of the word and the passage from Colossians I was reminded of the parable of the talents; and when I think of the talents I think of God’s promise to Abraham to bless him and for Abraham to be a blessing in return. Abraham did not earn that blessing, as we do not earn the blessings that we have. However, that does not mean we cannot live in a way that our actions bear equal weight or value for others, to the blessings which God has given us.
In fact I think that was the point all along.
As it relates to this passage in Colossians, I cannot earn or interpret God’s will for my life on my own, it must be revealed or given to me by God; but I should not be deterred from living the exact way that it has been revealed to me; bearing like value or equal weight.