(BEING ALIVE TO GOD)
"The mystery of godliness ...
was manifested in the flesh."
What a marvellous revelation those words bring! Godliness has been revealed. There is no more mystery surrounding it. Jesus demonstrated it here on earth.
The reality of it is unknown to the world, of course, but it appears to be vague among Believers confusing it with holiness. But godliness and holiness are distinct from one another.
In brief, the distinction is that:
Godliness is the disposition of being alive to God (living in the awareness that God is present)
and holiness is living differently (in accordance with the word of Christ).
The apostle Peter emphasised the difference. In 2:3'11 he asked:
"... what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness ...?.
For Saints, godliness is their inner disposition and holiness is their outward way of live.
As Jesus Himself manifested godliness, so Adam and Eve, in their innocence, lived in godliness.
Tragically, they forfeited this living, loving relationship with God and godliness became a mystery: to every other human born after them.
The Good News for every human being is, the mystery of godliness is no longer.
1 Timothy 3'16 proclaims:
"... 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".
Godliness came with the man, Jesus: walking, talking, looking, serving, living in the awareness of His Father and the Holy Spirit.
Now it is the Father's intention that those He has redeemed also live in godliness. And be blessed, because:
"... godliness with contentment is great gain," 1 Timothy 6'6.
THE DISPOSITION OF GODLINESS
From the moment we received Christ, and perhaps even before, Believers become aware of the presence of God in various ways.
The unknown far off "god" has become the God who is nearer to us than we are to ourselves. By the facilitation of the Holy Spirit a new Believer has awareness of, and a relationship with, Him.
He has become our "Abba, Father".
Through Christ, godliness can be an ever-growing part of everyday living: "... exercise yourself toward godliness" (1 Timothy 4'5). [For more click Your Kingdom Foundation on the Menu.]
Paul goes on to say that bodily exercise does profit a little. In order to be active witnesses there can be no doubt that the Lord wants His Saints to look after their bodies.
But first and foremost:
"... godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.
This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance," 1 Timothy 4'7-9.
Jesus' time of prayer-fellowship with His Father in John 17 is a precious insight into His godliness.
Godliness in difficult times
Around the world godly Believers are enduring persecutions more today that ever before.
Also, at a lesser level perhaps, in the western world godly Believers suffer some antagonisms and some inflicted adversities, too.
Paul found, as did Believers before him, that although God calls them to peace, the enemy calls those who are under his influence to wage war.
"... what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.
But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them," 2 Timothy 3'11-14.
LET US REMEMBER
Successful Kingdom living means not to trying to live it in our own strength. Striving hinders the Holy Spirit. When striving is replaced with trusting God, we are free to realise that:
"... 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," 2 Peter 1'3.
"... we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken", so "let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear," Hebrews 12'28.
These are marvellous words of promise of power and blessing. But be warned, there are those whose teachings are not the Spirit's Kingdom words of godliness.
They may come from someone on a tv screen, a neighbour, a close friend or even someone in the congregation.
Scripture says the person will be someone whose teaching:
"... does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ and to the doctrine which accords with godliness ..," 1 Timothy 6'3.
"Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him,
'If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.
And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free'," John 8'31-32.
DEAD YET ALIVE!
Be Jesus' Disciples indeed - and know the truth. Oppositely, to go one's own way results in ignorance. This robs Believers of experiencing a living relationship with the Father.
There are phrases like "Don't you know" in Scripture, or words like it, that aim to challenge the early Believers.
Paul urges those who have been immersed in water, as Jesus was, to fully know about immersion in water. One of the understandings is:
"... reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord," Romans 6'11.
This reckoning is a very powerful part of exercising "yourself toward godliness".
It's an opportunity in a quiet time to repeat this scripture back to the Father as a personal intention. Then begin living in the life and godliness that His divine power gives.
[Find out more in the messages in Your Kingdom Foundation on the Menu.]
Prayer. Heavenly Father, thank you for everything you have done for me.
And thank you, too, for the wonder of godliness, of being able to live in the awareness of you.
In Jesus' name. Amen.