Should we strive to be godly people? What does it mean to be godly? Why is godliness an important part of the Christian life? How does one go about being godly? These questions have been, and still are, neglected in modern Biblical teaching. Below I will show a few passages from Scripture about godliness, as well as try to encourage you to pursue godliness.
11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,14 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.
2 Timothy 3:1-5
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
2 Peter 2:10-12
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?
One way to identify a godly person is to look at his or her character. Look at how they act. We see from Paul’s writings to Timothy that a godly person will NOT: be a lover of them self, a lover of money, a boaster, proud, a blasphemer, disobedient to their parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving or irreconcilable, a slanderer, without self-control, brutal, a despiser of good, a traitor, headstrong, haughty, or a lover of pleasure rather than a lover of God. The characteristics above will never be found in a godly person. The Apostle Paul saw these ungodly people who claimed to be Christians and he told the true believers to turn away from these people.
How is it that a Christian can remain ungodly after having been saved? In short, one can’t These people deny the power of godliness. By using the word “deny” Paul is implying that the Holy Ghost is attempting to make you into a godly person. We are to use the grace that has been given us to turn away from sin and ungodliness. In his letter to the church at Philippi the Apostle Paul wrote, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12-13) Obtaining a godly life takes work. We have to use the grace given to us to work out our salvation. (Click Here to read more on that) Godliness does not happen by accident. You must be intentional about working towards it.
Why is it important to have godliness and holiness? Because you won’t see God without it. The writer of Hebrews writes, “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God.” (Hebrews 12:14-15) You must be active in pursuing holiness and godliness. The Author of Hebrews also writes, “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation…” (Hebrews 2:3)
How does one obtain godliness and holiness? Through Jesus Christ and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. As unpopular as it is, repentance is still an essential part of salvation. To repent is to turn away from sin and ungodliness all the while turning to Jesus and placing faith in Him. But let there be no mistake about it, one must turn from their sin. While turning from sin, we can then lay hold of godliness and holiness.
As simple as it may sound, prayer and the reading of God’s word is still an important part of the Christian life. It takes self-control to discipline yourself to read Gods word regularly and to pray and commune with God. It also doesn’t happen by accident. It takes hours in prayer communing with God. It takes meditating on His word regularly. Not a passive reading but an active reading that thinks about every word in the Bible. It takes working with the Holy Spirit, so that you are obedient to the Word of God, conforming to His will.
Lastly in obtaining godliness and holiness, one must take up their cross and follow Jesus. The cross is an instrument of death. It is a way of killing someone or something. The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans,”For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” (Romans 8:13) When Jesus told everyone to take up their cross He was telling them to die to themselves. To put to death, in their lives, sin and ungodliness. I’ll leave you with a short quote.
The only cure for our worldliness is the cross. We cannot put ourselves on the cross. We cannot choose the cross on which we will be crucified. Fenelon speaks of the various kinds of crosses- gold, silver, brass, wood, paper. The one thing they all have in common is that they crucify. How the cross will be used in your life is at the discretion of the Holy Spirit. - A.W. Tozer in The Crucified Life