Kingdom Godliness

"Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence," 1 Timothy 2'1-2.


Godliness is a great thing. The one foremost statement about it is was inspired by the Holy Spirit and written in a letter the apostle Paul sent to Timothy:

"... without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory, 1 Timothy 3'16.

Together, these aspects ratify the man Jesus as God and go together to reveal the great mystery, from His birth by the Holy Spirit to the virgin woman, Mary, to His being received up into glory. And the writer to the Hebrew Saints said that Christ entered ...

"... into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us," Hebrews 9'24 (my emphasis).

On His appearance in the presence of the Father Jesus was first glorified. And He sealed everything He promised in His Good News of the Kingdom, especially this one He had made to His Disciples:

“... when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me," John 15'26.

After Pentecost His followers, men and woman, needed the help of the Holy Spirit then, and it's the same now. The mystery of godliness would be revealed. Godliness is everything that Jesus is. Whoever receives Christ receives the godliness that is in  Him.

So it is a foremost characteristic of Christ's New Covenant Kingdom People. Interestingly, even a google dictionary search described it as being "the quality or practice of conforming to the laws and wishes of God; devoutness and moral uprightness" - "reflecting the nature of the kingdom of God in the course of everyday life".

Wow! Whoever wrote that described Christ's New Covenant Kingdom People well. Godliness was part of the lives and vocabulary of the early followers, "those who were of  The Way" (Acts 9'2).

What is significant about them is that they were grounded in the understandings, and the experiences, they gained from the teachings of the first principles of the oracles of God, the elementary principles of Christ, taught by the apostles (Hebrews 5'12; 6'1).

Those Saints had the spiritual understanding of the elementary principle of being immersed in water so they knew what Paul was talking about when he said:

"Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.
Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord," Romans 6'8-11.

And Jesus showed that being immersed in water is an act of righteousness. He was the example. Although He didn't have to, He did it "to fulfill al righteousness,” He said.

One notable understanding that is foremost in being immersed in water is doing what could be called a self- reckoning. Paul says to all who have been immersed: "reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord". For some these words seem to be unrealistic. Nevertheless, he tells, even commands, those who hear his words to take the step, do it: "reckon yourselves alive to God".

Jesus was always alive to His Father. And by the Holy Spirit we can be alive to our heavenly Father especially through having the Word of Christ dwelling in us.

Part of being alive to God is doing what Paul told Timothy to do:

"... exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come," 1 Timothy 4'7-8.

Perhaps there was a lot made of bodily exercise in his time as it is these days but, of course, he's not writing it off. After all, it contributes to having a healthy body. It appears Paul is saying that as various physical exercises go toward bodily fitness, certain spiritual exercises go toward godliness. And it has effect in this life as well as the next ("... godliness with contentment is great gain," 1 Timothy 6'6).

They could be called Kingdom exercises, because that's what they really are, all done in serving Christ and therefore acts of righteousness acceptable to God whatever they are (Romans 14'17-18).

Here's what the Apostle John recorded a great heavenly multitude say:

"Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.'
And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints," Revelation 19'7-8.

There it is. Acts of righteousness are exercises toward godliness. And what's more, godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.


It's significant that the word godliness does not appear in the Old Testament at all. But in the New it appears 16 times, all after Pentecost (Acts 3 to 2 Peter). And base word godly appears in the OT only four times (Psalms 3, Malachi 1), but in the New Testament 12 times, again all after Pentecost (2 Corinthians to 2 Peter). That's according to Strong's Concordance.

After Pentecost is when Jesus said the Holy Spirit would be the Believers' helper. Peter, one of the foremost of all Believers, says this:

"To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ:
2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust," 2 Peter 1'1-3.

The blessing is that, on the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came bringing power with Him for all things that pertain to life and godliness, conveying great and precious promises that we might partake of the divine nature.


But there are those who mistake what godliness is. Peter recognised this in the watchers' response when he and John had prayed for the lame man at the Temple Gate:

“Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?" Acts 3'12.

Paul and Barnabus the same. Ministering in Lystra, they had to say to men who wanted to worship them: “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you," Acts 14'15.

But, although such things as healings, etc, are godly acts of righteousness, there are acts of righteousness that are expressed by the Saints every day in various ways.

Sadly, Paul has to refer to men "having a form of godliness but denying its power" (2 Timothy 3'2-7). He said: "from such people turn away" (2 Timothy 3'5). Apparently, by denying the power of godliness, people like these  are attempting to justify their ungodly ways of living by pretending. He says they are "always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth". Their anti-God dispositions blinded them, as it always has done.

In his second letter Peter says, "... the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations," (2'9) to encourage godly people. Nevertheless, Paul forewarns that "... all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution," 2 Timothy 3'12.


Behaviour was always at the forefront of Paul's thinking. One of his missions included Crete, and Titus, "a true son in our common faith" as he called him, had been a part of it. Although the good news of the Kingdom had been preached, Christ received and congregations formed, nevertheless there were some things that still needed to be put in place. Consequently, he had left Titus to attend to them. Sometime later he wrote a letter to him giving him some very important instructions about conduct:

"Exhort bondservants to be obedient to their own masters, to be well pleasing in all things, not answering back, not pilfering, but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works," Titus 2'9-14.

In the light of the Lord's coming and the end of all things Peter says, "... since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness," 2 Peter 3'11.

For those Believers who want to live godly in Christ Jesus the present age, that Paul spoke to Titus about, is always today which makes his inspired words always relevant.