Christian Universe ™
Life And Godliness
November 14, 2010
The apostle Peter wrote that we must add virtue to our basic faith in Jesus Christ. To virtue, we must then add knowledge, and to knowledge, we must add temperance, and to temperance, we must add patience, and to that we must add godliness. To be godly means to be like God, or to adopt the attributes of God. We "partake of the divine nature". "Be ye holy as I am holy" says our Lord. Our lives must be lives of righteousness. Those who observe our lives should be able to see God in us!
Life And Godliness
By Bernie Parsons
Presented to Globe church of Christ on 11-14-2010
Presented to Load church of Christ on 11-21-2010
We have been studying from 2 Peter 1, how that upon a firm foundation of faith we are to add virtue, knowledge, temperance and patience. The apostle Peter wrote that we must next add godliness to our patience.
Godliness is a word, according to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, that is a noun taken from the word godly, which means divine, or pious, devout. In other words, it tells us that we must be like God. How so? By devoutly serving him. How is this done? By serving one another.
Having a strong faith, and the moral strength to take a stand, we must become knowledgeable about God, balancing our faith, strength and knowledge so that we are just and equitable, and develop patience through our experiences. All of this prepares us to be like God.
1 Peter 1:14 "As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:
15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy."
1 John 3:7 "Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous."
1 John 3:2 "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure."
“In all manner of conversation”, or in every aspect of our daily lives, we are to be holy as God is holy. We already studied that we are to become knowledgeable of God’s will, but godliness goes beyond the learning and takes us into the realm of doing the will of God.
The apostle Peter made it very plain in his lead-in to the very scriptures that we are studying in this series of lessons.
2 Peter 1:2 "Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."
Some argue that it is demeaning to God to state that we can be like Him. That is not to say that we are all-powerful, and in charge of the universe! What godliness means is that we are to adopt the attributes of God. Peter wrote that by learning what God has said in the past, and what He revealed in the words and teaching of Jesus, we have the knowledge necessary to achieve life and godliness. In verse 4, he states that we are “partakers of the divine nature”, and he had just said that we gain godliness through knowledge of God and Christ.
We also see this verified by what we read in:
1 Timothy 2:8 "I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.
9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works."
As we see from verses 9 and 10 regarding women, that dressing modestly and doing good works bear out the claim of godliness. The proof of godliness is in the way that we Christians conduct ourselves on a consistent and regular basis.
It all comes back to the two greatest commandments: Loving God with every aspect of our being, and loving our neighbors as ourselves.
Luke 11:42 "But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone."
If we get so caught up in doing religious activities that we forget to love one another, then we are not living godly lives. If our religious activities result from our love for one another, then we are godly.
1 Timothy 4:7 "But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.
8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come."
The apostle Paul told Timothy that godliness not only leads to the promise of a future life, but it is profitable in this life, as well.
1 Timothy 1:4 "Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.
5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:"
We can get bogged down in religious arguments that raise questions and cause strife and turmoil, which is destructive. Or, we can engage in study of the scriptures with the goal of building each other up, which Paul calls “godly edifying”. What should be our goal, or the end to which we aspire, as we contemplate the scriptures? Paul said that it is charity out of a pure heart, a good conscience, and unpretentious faith.
Titus 2:11 "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."
Paul reminded Titus that we are to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and should live soberly, righteously, and godly. Again, we see that godliness points to living a spiritual life on a daily basis. Having been redeemed from all iniquity, the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross has purified us, making us a peculiar people, one that has an enthusiasm for good works. It comes back to loving our neighbor as ourselves.
Our lives are not to be driven by our personal lusts, but a desire to serve one another in love. As Paul says, that is what it all comes down to in the end. John also bears this out.
1 John 1:5 "This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."
How do we know that we walk in Him?
1 John 4:15 "Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
19 We love him, because he first loved us."
As always, there is the opposite situation.
1 John 4:20 "If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also."
It comes full circle. What does it mean to be godly? God is love. To be godly is to love.