- Preaching the Living WORD through the Written WORD - 2 Tim 4:2 -
REFINEMENTS OF CHRISTIAN VIRTUE: GODLINESS
(2Pe 1:3-10) 9-16-12
Grace Bible Church, Gillette, Wyoming
Pastor Daryl Hilbert
I. ADD MORAL EXCELLENCE
II. ADD KNOWLEDGE
III. ADD SELF-CONTROL
IV. ADD PERSEVERANCE
V. ADD GODLINESS
A. DEFINITION OF GODLINESS
1. Practical Obligation Toward God
a) Godliness, though spoken of by many, is a Christian Virtue that may not be understood. The Greek word for “godliness” is euse,beia from eusebęs which literally means to “worship well.”
b) True worship itself is often misunderstood or not fully comprehended. Often times worship is limited to church and even singing praises unto God. There is no question that the believer worships when going to church and singing praises unto God, but worship encompasses much more that those two aspects. In fact, a true concept of worship includes all aspects of the believer’s life. Worship is giving God praise for His worthiness in every aspect of life by living accordingly. When a believer does this consistently and thoroughly, he is “worshipping well” and thus living in godliness.
c) Godliness can be described as man’s practical obligation in obedience to God. It could even be called the believer’s “religious duties” and would include synonyms such as pious, devout, reverent, or God fearing. Godliness is having a proper attitude toward God leading to a pious, devout, reverent, and God fearing life in every area and practical obligation.
2. Not Necessarily God-likeness
a) Though the English translation may lead us to believe that “godliness” is “god-likeness,” it could better be called “god-wardness.”
b) Rather than attempting to imitate the character of God, godliness is concerned with fulfilling its religious duties to God.
B. THE GENERAL SCOPE OF THE WORD GODLINESS
1. Religious Godliness (Act 10:2, 7)
a) The Scriptural use of godliness is broad enough to include an individual who is sincerely devoted to religion.
b) Cornelius is described as a “devout” (eusebęs) God-fearing man (Act 10:2). Though he converted to Judaism (proselyte) and rejected Gentile paganism, he does not receive Jesus as Messiah until Act 10:44.
c) Here the use of godliness can refer to a sincere religious person because he is sincere about religious duties (though it does not mean he is saved).
2. Pseudo Godliness (2Ti 3:5)
a) Godliness can also be broad enough to describe the spiritual devotion of unbelievers in a negative sense.
b) Paul wrote to Timothy concerning the character of unbelievers in the “last days” (2Ti 3:1). Unbelievers are described as having a “form” (mo,rphōsis - outward form) of “godliness” (euse,beia) but denying its power (2Ti 3:5).
c) Here the use of godliness can refer to a pseudo spiritual person in a negative sense because he rejects Christ.
3. True Christian Godliness (1Ti 3:16)
a) So then the meaning of godliness has to do with outward devotion and obedience to religious duties. Godliness finds its truest fulfillment in a true believer who is devoted to his practical obligation to God out of a true worshipful heart.
b) Godliness finds its ultimate fulfillment in Christ who would have been perfect and righteous in His religious duties to God as a man. In an early creed of the church, the great “mystery of godliness” was Christ who was revealed in the flesh, becoming the perfect man, and fulfilled His religious duties to God, especially the redemption of sinful man (1Ti 3:16).
C. THE BELIEVER’S APPLICATION OF GODLINESS
1. Godliness: A Christian Virtue (2Pe 1:3)
a) As with all Christian Virtues, God is the agent who powerfully provides them for the believer through His new nature.
b) This includes the virtue of godliness, in which the believer fulfills his practical obligations and obedience to God. The believer is able to do this in “everything pertaining to life and godliness.”
2. Doctrine that Conforms to Godliness (1Ti 6:3)
a) Paul taught that the goal of biblical teaching is love (1Ti 1:5). But he also teaches that doctrinal teaching has the goal of conforming the believer to godliness.
b) Correct doctrine is necessary for correct duty. Devotion to correct Christian duty is godliness.
c) How does a believer know what is godly behavior or not? By following the teaching of the Word of God and applying its principles to every aspect of life (in relation to: worship, church, personal devotion, Bible, prayer, evangelism, edification, service, citizenship, employment, personal behavior and speech).
3. Holy Conduct of Godliness (2Pe 3:11)
a) Christ is not only the believer’s Lord; He is Lord over all the universe. As Lord, He will judge the world’s sinfulness and destroy the heavens and the earth (2Pe 3:10).
b) Such power demands true worship (worthship) by His people. True worship affects the believer’s conduct in all holiness in every practical aspect of life.
4. Dignified Liberty of Godliness (1Ti 2:2)
a) The believer’s desires and prayers are to have the freedom to carry out his religious duties (godliness) within society.
b) There is no guarantee that government will not oppose Christianity. In some areas the believer’s godliness (religious duty) is to carry out obedience to God in spite of opposition from government (Prayer - Dan 6:10; Evangelism - Act 5:28-32; Assembling - Heb 10:25; Beliefs - religious liberties, sanctity of life, biblical marriage etc.).
5. Godliness with Contentment (1Ti 6:6, 11)
a) Godliness is one of the themes in 1 Timothy (9 times), seconded by 2 Peter (5 times). Four of the eight uses are found in chapter six of 1Timothy (1Ti 6:3, 5, 6, 11).
b) Some false teachers see godliness (i.e. religion) as an opportunity for lucrative gain (1Ti 6:5). But true godliness sees godliness itself as great gain (1Ti 6:6) especially with contentment. Contentment is being thankful for what God has provided and not discontent with what you don’t have.
c) Godliness and love of money are such opposite extremes that the believer is to flee such evil, while pursuing godly virtues (1Ti 6:11).
D. OBSERVATIONS AND APPLICATIONS
1. Connection of worship and practical godliness
2. Pursue worshipping well in life (1Ti 4:7)
3. Ask the question “Is this (thought, wordy, deedy, activity) worshipful?”