Thursday, July 29, 2010

Beyond the Appearance of Godliness

Paul instructed his protege Timothy to pursue godliness (1 Tim. 6:11), to train himself for godliness (1 Tim. 4:7). to teach according to godliness (1 Tim. 6:3), and told him that there is great gain in godliness with contentment (1 Tim.6:6).  So what is godliness, anyway?

In a post entitled A Theology of Godliness, Joe Thorn makes the following three points:
  • Legalism kills Godliness
  • License Kills Godliness
  • The Gospel Gives Lift to Godliness
He concludes (and I agree):
It is inappropriate to think of godliness as the stuff we do (or can’t do). Godliness is not behavior. Godliness is the result of the gospel taking root in our hearts, producing the fruit of Godward love and obedience through an attitude of joy and gratitude. True godliness in the life of a sinner-saint is an imperfect experience, but an experience of grace nonetheless. We need a theology of godliness that understands it is much more than will-power and performance, but the sanctifying work of the Spirit and true affection that leads to the joyful work of denying self and following Jesus.
We need to move beyond the mere appearance of godliness (2 Tim 3:5) to the reality of living by and out of grace.