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What is Godliness?

Posted by appolus on September 5, 2022

I would like to discuss a word that is not used very often. It is the word Godliness. It is rather a mysterious word really. What is Godliness? Are you Godly? Who decides? Can it be measured or quantified? In 2 Pet 1:3 we see that the Divine power of Jesus has given us all things that “pertain” to life and Godliness through the knowledge of Him. Now, that word pertain means to bring us close to, or nearness to. And so we could say that the power of God, through knowing Him in an intimate way, directs us to life and this thing called Godliness. It is the tightest and most succinct three words in all of Scripture that alludes to our calling, “life and Godliness.” No life, no Godliness, one must be born again in order to have the life that will enable Godliness.

I would argue that Godliness is an awareness of God in our everyday life. A constant awareness of God. Now this is not to be confused with the manifest presence of God. The manifest presence of God is the awareness of Gods actual presence. It is always dramatic, no matter how it comes. The manifest presence of God cannot be conjured up. No one controls God. It is not normative in the Christian life but it is vital that we have “encountered God,” at some point or many points along the way. Yet Godliness can be pursued. We are told in 1 Tim 4:7 that we have to train ourselves in the way of Godliness. It is up to us to constantly bring to mind the things of God in our daily lives. The Godly man has an attitude towards God that forms the core of who he is and it can be visibly seen in every aspect of his life.

We see in 2 Pet 1:5-9 that in the pursuit of a Godly life we must be diligent to add to our trust in God, excellence in everything we do for His name sake. We must be just men and women. And to that we must exercise the knowledge that we have been given and have experienced through God. We must exercise patience in everything that we do and continue on no matter what comes our way. We are those who persevere through trial and flood. Out of that comes our Godliness. We are exercised in the ways of God. His honor and His glory will be the most important thing in our lives and when we walk in this fashion then we shall be known for our love for one another. If we walk in the awareness of God then we shall never be barren, indeed we shall be fruitful all the days of our lives no matter the circumstances. In fact the circumstances will only prove the genuineness of our Godliness.

Those who walk in the awareness of God do so out of devotion to Him. What do we mean by that? We all know someone or maybe many people who are devoted to their wives or husbands. We hear the phrase “he is so devoted to his wife.” It carries all the more weight when the wife is bedridden or dying. The husband in this case spends every waking hour attending to her needs. Even although he himself maybe very tired, no matter, he is bound and determined to serve his wife to the best of his abilities with everything he has. Brothers and sisters, this is Godliness. Are you bound and determined to serve God with a love and devotion greater than we could ever have for another human being? Is He at the center of all of your thoughts? Are you constantly aware of His presence in your life day by day, hour by hour? This is Godliness and out of of this Godliness, this devotion, flows rivers of life. You must train yourself in these matters brothers and sisters. It takes diligence and a dogged desire to walk with God.

Walking with God is our daily life. Its our interactions with everyone we come into contact with. Its our first thoughts in the morning. Its our drive to work, its our grocery shopping. It is our lunch with a friend. It is everything and when He is everything to us, and in everything that we do, then we know that we are truly “walking with Jesus.” There is a great power that comes from this walk called Godliness. The power to love, the power to forgive, the power to never take up the offense. This is no mere fantasy brothers and sisters, this is our calling. When we desire to live in Godliness then everything that is in our lives that is not Godly has to go. I think this is why so few of us walk in Godliness. Godliness is to continually pray if you like. A constant awareness of His nearness that will transform your life. It is not for the lazy Christian. You wont get it by going forward in a service. No charlatan will lay his hands on you and suddenly you are Godly. No, it belongs to the diligent, the genuine devotee of God, and it will show. You cannot measure it yourself, it is something that is seen in you by others. Yet brothers and sisters, when you walk in Godliness you will realize the goal of “being anxious for nothing.” The peace of God which surpasses all understanding will rest upon your life.

9 Responses to “What is Godliness?”

  1. Anonymous said

    Amen..thank you…

  2. Lisa said

    What a wonderful instruction, brother Frank. And what a wonderful topic of choice. Godliness is piety. I believe that godliness is the evidence of real genuine fruit in a believer’s life. It’s the outward expression, or the overflow of Jesus being our everything. This is something that seems to be obviously lacking in the lives of so many professing Christians. Whether they just be immature or carnal, or just not true and genuine converts. But throughout my life I have even seen evidence of fruits, or signs of godliness if you will, even in the life of a young believer. It’s harder to detect in some more than others. And some, like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, were just hypocrites. Whitewashed tombs. Actors. Really good pretenders. “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”

    “But understand this, that in the last days there will come difficult times / perilous times. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the APPEARANCE OF GODLINESS, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”
    2 Timothy 3:1‭-‬5 ESV

    When I first read this early in my conversion, I thought Paul was telling us how people in the world would be. But he’s really not. He’s telling us how people in THE CHURCH will be. These are all characteristics of the world. And we are there. Have been for quite some time. The vast majority of the modern-day church is no different than the world. If anybody has ever done a deep dive study on these verses here about the characteristics of these kinds of people Paul writes and warns us about, we will find them in the church. We will see them in our former pastors, our elders, family members, our former friends, and if we’re humble and honest we even might see a few of these characteristics in ourselves on occassion. I can say that I do. And it breaks my heart and makes me sad, as it should.

    When Paul says, “in the last days there will come difficult times, perilous times…” he meant it. It’s not a light matter. It is a very serious one. We have all been, or are currently even still, while we are still alive in this world, victims of these kinds of people and this kind of behavior. And what is perhaps most disgraceful of all is that those who bear themselves the label “Christian” try and make these characteristics appear as if it is godly character. That those who behave this way try to appear as if they are somehow supreme in their spirituality, and superior even to others. It’s narcissism cloaked in religion. I really do think that this is what Paul meant when he said, “having a form of godliness, but denying it’s power.” It really is disgusting to watch them in action or to be on the receiving end of it. And so then Paul tells us to “avoid such people.” Stay away from them. Have nothing to do with them. They are in all of the churches. They are all over social media. Even in Christian circles. Just brutal. Absolutely brutal.

    Here is an example of my latest run-in or clash, with these kinds of people. The other day John Piper put out a video about a woman who wrote in who was married for 20 years to a man who had a porn addiction problem (no it was not me who wrote in). The woman was asking for help, seeking counsel on what she should do. I was appalled that John Piper never addressed the “sin” issue. He never seemed to say anything about that fact at all. He seemed in my opinion, to sympathize more with the man than with the woman. Seems to be a common theme these days. Treat the man as if he’s some sort of delicate flower. The only advice he gave her was to try and get him to go to counseling together. I felt really bad for the woman. I thought, “That’s it? That’s all you’ve got?”

    So I wrote a comment and said, oh how timely. I am going through the same things as this dear woman has and I have just decided to call it quits and walk away from my own marriage. I said this woman’s husband has been doing this to her for 20 years, he’s not gonna change. I said my husband is 50 years old. I’ve been going through this my entire narriage as well. He doesn’t want to change. And I’m not going to live like this to a man like this anymore.

    Then here comes the 2 Timothy 3:1‐5 super-christian calvary to the rescue. I had one woman really tell me that the problems in my marriage was because of my own sins. Yep. Not his. Mine. And then went on to make a speech trying to appear spiritual and make a show of how holy and righteous she was and that she wanted to “help me” by telling me that. The woman knew nothing about me, or about the problems in my marriage other than what very little I revealed.

    Next comes two different men. Telling me they are sorry about what I just shared. And that if I were to divorce him for that, that it would be biblically legally permissible to do so. But!!! Wouldn’t you know it they were so spiritual, and cared so much that they just had to reach out to me to give me their “godly” counsel and advice. They both pretty much parroted one another and then sort of ended up teaming up together in ganging up on me to the point where I felt like they were making me out to be a villain and I became so disgusted with all of them that I just deleted my whole entire comment, deleting everything. And then I unsubscribed from John Piper’s channel. My experience there was evil. What they did to me, I’m not exaggerating, it was evil.

    They counseled me and told me that I should stay with my husband for the sake of his salvation. They scolded me for even saying that he won’t change, saying he could change at 70 or 100 years old! That I am wrong to say that he won’t.

    Now, brother Frank, you know even from your own parents that mine staying is not going to convert him. The only chance your father had, brother Frank, from what you shared previously, was your dear mother leaving and losing everything. But if your dear mother had stayed there and continued to endure that life with him, he probably may never have converted. I have heard many stories like that my whole life.

    But these two men were quoting 1 Peter 3 telling me that I should do what Peter says and just submit to my husband in quietness submission in reverence, and if I were to do that I could win over my husband for the Lord. They told me that God hates divorce and that if I were to divorce my husband that I would be breaking God’s heart. They never said anything about how my husband’s immorality and sins might have broken God’s heart, just my decision to leave the marriage would be breaking God’s heart. They then told me in their hyper-Calvinism that the problems in my marriage were actually personally designed by God for ME. Yes, ME. So according to these men, it was God’s perfect omnipotent design for me to be married to a sexually immoral adulterer, in order to bring about trials and afflictions that would then sanctify me of my own sins. They said it was God’s plan for me, and that I should not run away from that. (So the command that, “there should not even be a hint of sexual immorality among you,” apparently doesn’t apply to Christians and Christian househods anymore.) According to these men, it’s all part of “God’s plan.”

    Just absolutely disgusting. The word disgust is the only word in the english vocabulary that can accurately describe the feelings I had during my encounter with these people and the UNgodly fleshly counsel they dished out at me. Just disgusting.

    So yes. A life of godliness, the true form of godliness, is very crucial to not only the individual believer, but the corporate body of believers as a whole as well. And I can’t speak for others, but I know that I myself certainly has not seen much genuine evidence these days. So whenever I do see it on platforms like this, it brings joy to my soul. It revives my heart a little bit. And I rejoice.

    Sorry this was so long. I just thought that it might be good that I shared that. God bless anybody who took the time to read this. Love, joy, and peace to all the brethren 💛✝️

    • appolus said

      Well I took the time to read it and I believe you are spot on Lisa in your assessments on Godliness. Just a point about my mother Lisa. She did separate from my father, and I believe she was right to do that. He told her that she was the one creating all the problems ( the mind boggles) and that she should go. So, the Lord told her to go. She had no resources whatsoever and went into a homeless shelter for battered women with my kid brother. Here’s the thing my mom would say to you Lisa if she were speaking to you, and she would live to speak to you. She had no interest in divorce. She had no plans in ever being remarried. And my father had been unfaithful to her on manly occasions. He was actually living with a woman in Canada where he was working. I remember well the time shortly after he came home from working overseas. My mother was several months pregnant and he actually showed her pictures of the woman, and him sitting on her bed. It broke my own heart as an 11 year old boy. I felt betrayed, so I cannot imagine what it did to my mother’s heart. Yet, my mother mat have been beaten countless times and cheated in, but she was no doormat. The devil himself was trying to break my mother’s spirit. It did not happen. Now, it was quite a few years after that that she separated from him. Many would say that because he had broken the marriage vows that she had the “legal right “to divorce him and remarry. She would not agree with that. I disagree with my mother on this point. Yet, what I love about my mom’s position was that she was never looking for a legal loophole, so to speak. She was at all times following the Lord and the Holy Spirit, not her personal feelings. This is why I would categorize my mother as a Godly woman. She is 81 now, but the trust if her life has never changed. The desire of her heart has always been “what does the Lord want.” This is why it’s an honor for me not just to have her as my mother, but also as my sister in the Lord. My own desire is to be in the place where my own feelings are not a part of the equation, but at all times wanting to follow the will of the Lord as expressed not only in His Word but in his still small voice. I cannot say I have arrived. The battle against the flesh has been savage. It desires what it desires and most of all it desires justice for itself and my greatest battles in my own life, especially being married to someone who is not saved, has been my flesh crying out to me, often times day and night, screaming “don’t you know you’ve been wronged.”And my own spirit thinking so many times over the years, will I ever be free of this body of death. And now, at 57, and having been saved just over 30 years, my flesh has grown somewhat silent. It still raises up, no doubt, but I think it comes down to the fact that we must mortify the flesh. We must seek to train this body without mercy. It cannot be allowed to master us especially when we are wri ged and continue to be wronged. So my dear sister in the Lord. Follow the Lord and the leading if Hos Spirit and you will not go wrong. I love you in the Lord and you have my prayers…….bro Frank

      • Lisa said

        Thank you for your response, brother Frank. God bless your mama. I would love to be able to have godly counsel from a godly woman. But that’s just not possible for me. I did seek out counseling from a professional “christian counselor”, who was referred by my hairdresser after her husband cheated on her with her church friends. It helped her, but that didn’t help me at all. We had one session together as a couple with him, where I ended up getting up and walking out. Hubby didn’t want to be there. He wouldn’t talk or answer questions. Acted like he was there against his will. Just sat there angry with a scowl on his face and his fists balled up. The counselor was intimidated by him. Kept asking me to do all the talking and the work. It was a waste of time. After about 20 minutes I said just forget it and stood up and walked out.

        I’m not looking for legal loopholes because I want a divorce. This is the last thing I ever wanted. I take my marriage vows seriously. I love my husband. I gave him everything I had. All of me. I just want to be with him. But he don’t want me. I just want to love him. But he pushes me away. He rejects me. Our whole marriage. He doesn’t want to fight for the purity of our marriage. Lord knows the many prayers and bitter tears I’ve prayed and labored throughout all the years. The Lord gave me a dream once about him early in our marriage and showed me his heart is hard. That he loves me with his mind, but not with his heart. His heart is hard, dark and cold, unfeeling. Like in Timothy — unloving.

        I’ve been quiet and submissive. I’ve tried talking to him. He doesn’t want to talk. Never. He thinks everything is fine. No intimacy, zero. No love. No affection. Not ever. Nothing. He’s fine. He wasn’t like this before we married. He was very loving and affectionate before. As soon as we got married, everything changed immediately like a switch. If that’s all it was, as hard as that is I could deal with that. With the grace of God I could do it. But I can’t deal with pornography. And I won’t do it anymore. I don’t want to get married again. That thought doesn’t even come into my mind. I cried all day long yesterday, telling Jesus I don’t want to live. Begging, please, I just want to die. I just want to come home now. Please let me come home now. I’m ruined.

        If others who are more spiritual than me who are reading what I wrote and think my sharing my pain and my experiences with rejection and disappointment and pain and being honest about the battles I have fought and am fighting is nothing? Or that I’m just feeling pity for myself because I make myself vulnerable with other saints and share my sufferings and am open and transparent about my life being in ruins right now and I try to be encouraging to any others who may be struggling or suffering also in some way now or in the future? If some find that offensive, I don’t know what to say. Except maybe it’s time I shove off.

        To all the rest, do not be ashamed about your weaknesses, or your pain, or your trials in life. Remember, Paul boasted often in his weaknesses. There is no shame in that. God gives grace to the humble. He knows the proud from afar. He knows that we are wesk. And his power is made perfect in weakness, not in strength. So don’t fake it. Run to the arms of Jesus. Peace.

  3. belovedlittlelamb said

    It is a great miracle when we put our emotions aside – no matter the event of being rejected or dismissed by another – and choose instead to by faith believe and rehearse all that God says we are in His Son. No matter the failure, frustration, temptation we have fallen under time and time again…if I do not believe His love toward me is only based upon what Christ has done on my behalf, I will move into self-pity. And we all know where self-pity gets us – depressed.

    I do not believe that most Christians know we have this key to be able to learn contentment no matter what our circumstance is. It is evident in the many ways the body of Christ is still looking to numb out from life because “we been done wrong.” Who hasn’t ever been done wrong and who of us hasn’t done wrong to others?

    The unsaved world does not have the word of God to be able to study and see and learn from the Holy Spirit’s teaching what God’s desire and will is for them. We as Christians do not have that excuse, yet often times(most times) we are not taught that our one track back to sanity when we’ve been done wrong or have done wrong to another is to mine the word of God for Truth and choosing to believe it. The more I do this, the sense of knowing He is present is with me through the peace that comes within.

    I would have to disagree with your thinking we all need a big God encounter. If I never ever have any major encounter, I choose to believe in His words of Life given in the scriptures to me and place all my faith and trust in all they say to me. In this my soul lives in peace and satisfaction. The present day church seems to be enamored in having someone somewhere “give them a word” or they believe they must have a “God encounter” to really get their relationship with God kick-started. I say that this is still the sin of the flesh trying to get from God what only obedience to living by faith can and does. Oh His words of Life through the scriptures (believed) are dynamite blowing up all the I-I-I, me, me, me moans and groans.

    I believe that godliness is that beautiful byproduct that comes through the course of time of being diligent to keep putting aside the stinkin’ thinkin’ of the mind 9and all the emotions that arise as a result) and investing time and study into what is always true of us in Christ written to us in His Holy Word. What a treasure chest lies there waiting for us to know, believe, and ultimately find God’s grace in us working out of our lives. Beautiful subject this godliness!

    • appolus said

      We can agree to disagree on encountering the Lord’s manifest presence sister. If I never encountered the Lord’s manifest presence ever again, it would not change my walk. Yet we see Stephen having a wonderful encounter even as he is being stoned. There are untold testimonies down through the ages testifying of martyrs encountering the presence of the Lord. Jesus says in John chapter 17 that the glory God had given Him, He has now given to us, that we may be one. There is glory in the encounter that ruins us for this life. There was glory when the prophet Isaiah found Himself before the throne. He was undoubtedly a prophet before this, but after, having been touched by coals of fire from the alter, he was then “sent.” Now, we have the baptism of the Holy Spirit to endue us with power from on high. The Spirit of the Lord speaks to His people, primarily through His word but also through the still small voice. We must know the “voice,’ of the Spirit. A.B.Simpson at the turn of the last century spoke of the glorious manifest presence of God where people dare not even whisper or lift there heads because of “the glory.” Tozer also spoke much about this. I am sure you would agree that simply because has not experienced such an event, that this does not mean that it does not exist. While it is not normative, as I stated, it is very real and it changes men and women. God always calls His sons and daughters deeper into His heart. Now, one can stop right where they are and not diligently pursue Him as the deer panteth after the waterbrooks, that would be up to them, but the Lord our God is a rewarder of those who “diligently,” seek Him. And of course by the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, words of knowledge are spoken and words of wisdom and exhortations and so on. Stephen was ordained because the people recognized that he was a man “full of the Holy Spirit.” This was his qualification. Quite aside from all of that. I believe and agree with what you say………… “godliness is that beautiful byproduct that comes through the course of time of being diligent to keep putting aside the stinkin’ thinkin’ of the mind 9and all the emotions that arise as a result) and investing time and study into what is always true of us in Christ written to us in His Holy Word. What a treasure chest lies there waiting for us to know, believe, and ultimately find God’s grace in us working out of our lives. Beautiful subject this godliness!

      • Re: Godliness – only God is good.

        Christ in us, and our truly knowing this doctrine of Christ in us in our inner man is the source of godliness in the New Creature (He alone working Himself out of us – Gal. 2:20).

        Unless we come back to the simplicity of the gospel given to the body of Christ being 100% given as a gift by Grace with absolutely no works of our filthy rags mixed in, we shall not see the body capable of exuding godliness. Lest our minds be continually renewed to know this truth, we can not expect to have Him living His life through our unbelieving vessels.

        Any teaching that muddies the 100% grace gospel given (by the risen Jesus Christ to Paul) for the Body frustrates the grace of God.
        Galatians 2:21
        “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”
        No mind renewal according to our foundations of the doctrine given us laid in the book of Romans, no godliness.

        • appolus said

          2 Peter 1:5-9. We are called to pursue Godliness, not to be confused with “being good.” The Scriptures are plain enough and of the utmost simplicity. Heb 11:6 Heb 11:6  But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Some may just sit there and do nothing, others will diligently seek Him and pursue Him as the deer panteth for the waterbrooks. Of course we are not talking about salvation, we are talking about those already saved, oftentimes the spiritually immature confuse these issues. He is found and yet to be pursued, a most wonderful paradox…….bro Frank

  4. kimberlysharyllmcbride said

    Lisa, you are being loved and held up before our Lord. He Himself fell to the ground with great drops of blood crying out! Hold fast dearly beloved and He will guide and keep you. Psalm 116:15

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