At our church we are going through 2 Peter together on Sunday evenings, and the past several weeks we have been studying the character qualities that Peter wrote about in 2 Peter 1:5-7.
This past week I had the opportunity to give a message about godliness, and I am sharing those thoughts again on here in the form of a short series of posts.
To start with, it is important that we understand biblical godliness.
When you see the word godly, what do you think of? Do you think of a preacher wearing an old-fashioned suit and carrying a big KJV bible? A painting of a saint with a halo around his head? Do you think of tithing, or "attending church," or some other religious image?
Godliness may be defined as "piety or reverence toward God. Godliness means more than religious profession and godly conduct; it also means the reality and power of a vital union with God." (Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary) Note that biblical godliness is more than mere outward expression - it stems from an inner relationship to the Creator. A heart that is in a posture of worship towards God produces the outward signs of godliness, but outward signs alone are not enough to qualify as "godliness."
Synonymous with godliness is the idea of piety. When we look at the definition of pious, the distinction between internal and external again comes into view. Pious may be understood as either
a. marked by or showing reverence for deity and devotion to divine worship
b. marked by conspicuous religiosityThe former is the mark of a true worshiper of God. The latter is the mark of a hypocrite. The challenge is that the difference may not always be easily discernible, even to (especially to?) the owner of the heart in question.
But as we look at Five Things You Should Know about Godliness, let our working definition of godliness be "a lifestyle of holy devotion flowing from a heart postured in worship before God."
"Godliness is a lifestyle of holy devotion flowing from a heart postured in worship before God."
Here are the five things that we will see about godliness:
- Godliness doesn't happen by accident.
- Godliness is empowered by grace.
- Godliness goes hand-in-hand with perseverance.
- Godliness distinguishes true believers from false teachers.
- Godliness is vital to our witness.