Mar 17

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The word “godliness’ is a Bible word that is greatly misunderstood! This is hard to grasp as it is so important to one’s standing with God. If a person has no or only little “godliness” in their lives, they have no favorite standing with God. Of course, one of the reasons for this problem is that people have failed through the years to give the necessary time to a study of the word “godliness.”
Now, it is possible for a person to have the qualities of “godliness” without understanding the meaning of the word itself. It is that one may use another word, which has the same meaning as does “godliness.” However, it is good for our education, as it is also good for our relationship with God, to gain the best knowledge we can of the word “godliness.” Therefore, we shall engage in a study of the word “godliness!”
Generally, people believe the word “godliness” means being like God. This is understandable because of the English word itself. The word having the ending of “ness,” which means “the state of being” and in the case of the “godliness” there is the word “god” at the beginning; thus, many have concluded that the word means: being like God. Taking this meaning, a person reads John 1:18: “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:18). Here the question that comes to mind, why did God, the Father, have Jesus “declared him?” Is it because God desired that we know him in order that we might become like him? This does not mean getting the power of God, doing what God did with his power, but if not these, then what? If is the holiness of God that Jesus revealed in his own life on this earth; wherein he was revealing God to all. First, personally and second, through the written word, the New Testament. Here let us note the words of Hebrews: “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14). Thayer gives the meaning of the Greek word “hagiasmos,” which is: “1) consecration, purification.” Just looking at the word “consecration,” which means: “the action of making or declaring something sacred.” Have you ever thought of yourself as being “sacred?” If a thing, a person, is one who is “following holiness,” then, this person is “sacred!” This person belongs to God! In our case, we have been redeemed to God by “the precious blood of Christ!” (1 Pet. 1:19). With this understanding before us, it is easy to see why many have taken the word “godliness” to mean that we are to be like God!
However, when looking at the Greek word from which “godliness” is translated from, we get something somewhat different. “Godliness” comes from the Greek word “eusebeia” and Thayer gives the meaning as: “1) reverence, respect, 2) piety towards God, godliness.” You can see that at person maybe one who reverences God, one who has piety towards God; therefore, such a person has “godliness” without knowing the meaning of the word itself. For having obeyed the gospel and thereby becoming a servant of God; as Paul wrote: “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Rom. 6:16). It was because of one’s “godliness” that he obeys the gospel! He “reverences” God, as he has yielded to God’s will and is a servant of God! All these things being true, we can see the importance, the necessity of having “godliness” running through the entirety of our being, but we may not have known the true meaning of the word “godliness!”
People who are religious, like to see “piety” in others! Nevertheless, they may not know the true meaning of the word “godliness.” It is because of one’s reverence toward God, it is because of one’s piety toward God, that a person yields his will to God’s will. There is piety! How many times have we thrilled in just reading his words, as Jesus prayed: “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matt. 26:39)? However, did we see the “godliness” of Jesus in the words he prayed? Have we ever even thought that Jesus had piety, reverence toward God, the Father? Maybe not, but there it is in the words Jesus prayed: “not as I will, but as thou wilt.” How beautiful is Jesus and Paul wrote: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5).

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: https://okcsbs.com/godliness/