Text: 1 Tim 4:7-8
There is a doctrinal controversy that exists within the evangelical community today. One which I believe poses a real threat to the Biblical teaching of salvation. And it widespread. It is a doctrine that is given the name " No-Lordship Salvation ."
What this doctrine essentially says is that since salvation is experienced on the basis of grace through faith apart from works, works is unnecessary even after the new birth takes place. In other words, a person may come to Christ, experience salvation on the basis of their faith, but never experience any real change in their life.
I strongly disagree with this teaching. I believe the Bible teaches otherwise; that when someone truly comes to Christ, "old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new" (II Cor 5:17).
When Paul writes to Timothy, he commands Timothy, by the Holy Spirit, to exercise godliness. (See Text) Godliness is not an option , it is the Mark of a true Christian.
As we look to the Bible for our guidance, I want to touch upon four aspects of godliness:
1. The Meaning of Godliness
2. The Mystery of Godliness
3. The Manifestation of Godliness
4. The Measure of Godliness
I. THE MEANING OF GODLINESS
A. Godliness means very simply " to be like God." Now in order to be like God we must first understand the person and character of God. God's person and character, along with His will and purposes, are revealed to us in His holy word, the Bible. Therefore, if we are to be like God we must first of all understand what the Bible teaches about His nature and person. This we can know both directly and indirectly. Directly because of what the Bible teaches forthrightly about His person and character. Indirectly, because of what we can deduce about His character and nature through His acts in history, and through His law in general.
Let me explain:
1. God's law emanates from His character. His law is not an arbitrary set of rules and regulations devised merely for the governing of human behavior. It is an extension of His absolutely holy character.
2. The greatest revelation God gives us concerning His character is that of love. The Bible says God is love (I Jn 4:8,16)
3. The greatest expression of love is humility (cf. Phil 5:3-8) "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13)
4. The two greatest commandments God gives to us are... (Matt. 22:37-40)
a) Love God
b) Love your neighbor
5. When I love by prefering others before myself, i.e. humbling myself, I am most like God. This is the true meaning of godliness.
II. THE MYSTERY OF GODLINESS
A. In his first letter to Timothy, Paul refers to the entire spectrum of salvation as the "mystery of godliness".
1 Tim 3:16
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
B. It is a mystery in the sense that the world does not, nor cannot understand it, because it is spiritually discerned.
C. Paul also states that true truth is after godliness.
Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;
III. THE MANIFESTATION OF GODLINESS
A. Each person that names the name of Chirst must depart from iniquity .
2 Timothy 2:19
Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
B. Godliness should be and will be exhibited in the life of every true believer .
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
2 Pet 1:3
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: (KJV)
IV. THE MEASURE OF GODLINESS
A. Even though the Christian life is one of godliness, it is not a perfect God-likeness. We do not measure up completely. Which means some may measure up more while others may measure up less. We are to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. And this includes the area of holiness.
2 Pet 1:5-9
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
The Bible teaches unambiguiously that holiness is the standard for those who are in Christ .
Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
John writes in his epistle:
1 John 2:29
If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.
Do not be deceived by those who say that a person's life may be no different after coming to Christ than before. It is a lie! And not the truth of what the Bible teaches concerning the life of the "Believer"!