Faith and Godliness
Regarding godliness, if how we act in our faith is just as important as our faith, then faith and godliness go hand in hand. 2 Peter 1:5-7 tells us, “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.” Peter tells us that we need to add to our faith. James 2:18 tells us, “But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” If we are supposed to work out our salvation (Philippians 2:12), then we too must work out our faith. It is all part of walking on the path of godliness. The first thing we must do is add goodness to our faith. We must choose to be good because God is good. Psalm 136:1 tells us, “Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His lovingkindness is everlasting.” Goodness is one of the fruits of the Spirit, and we must bear fruit in our lives by sowing the seeds of God’s Word. John 15:1-4 tells us, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.” When we let God take His Word and change our ways through the knowledge of Him who leads us by sowing His seeds in our hearts, He then leads us in all goodness. As the Psalmist writes in Psalm 23, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
God takes us from our sinfulness and He leads us to Him who is Light, as we read in Ephesians 5:8-10, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.” Yeshua tells us in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” This is just another work of faith, to be light in the darkness and to do good works. Paul tells the Thessalonians in 2 Thessalonians 1:11, “To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power.” The power of godliness is what so many deny, and that is because they have not added knowledge to their faith. 2 Corinthians 4:6 says, “For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Messiah.” God’s Word is light, and if we do not have the Word of God in us we can not live by it, and if we do not live by God’s Word then we will not have the knowledge of who God is. It’s this knowledge that helps us to walk on the path of godliness. Colossians 1:9-10 tells us, “For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” We see after knowledge that we are to add self-control. Self-control is also a fruit of the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 9:25 says, “Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.” We are running a race, and we are running to win. You only get one chance in life, and how we run the race is important to how we finish it. 1 Corinthians 9:24 tells, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.” Hebrews 12:1 tells us, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Self-control is saying, “I will no longer run with the world, for I have been transformed by the renewing of my mind.” 1 Peter 4:3-5 tells us this about our past: “For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you; but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.” To self-control we add perseverance to our faith. Hebrews 11:1 says this: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” If this is what faith is, and we are to add perseverance to it, then we can not give up hope. Romans 8:25 tells us, “But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.” We have seen so far that we are to add goodness and knowledge and self-control, all building up our faith, one step at a time.
And we now reach that plateau which may be the hardest, and that is to keep going when our trials and tribulations tell us to quit. Perseverance is what makes us strong in our faith. It is the glue that holds us to our faith. Living a godly life requires us to persevere in faith, for there is a reward at the end of the journey. Romans 2:7 says, “To those who persevere in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, He will give eternal life.” We see all of this must come before godliness. We must live a godly life, and to do that we must have goodness (a heart change) and knowledge of who God is and what He requires of us, and then we can have the self-control to say “NO” to sin and the world, which then we now have the strength to persevere through, and after all of that we can add godliness. We have conquered our sins and they no longer have a hold on us. We are set free and are free to live for God. Godliness has great value for this world and the world to come. We have disciplined our bodies (1 Timothy 4:8). We are running the race as one who is disciplined and focused on winning. And now we are able to add mutual affection, or in other words, kindness. This is also one of the fruits of the Spirit. Proverbs 3:3 says, “Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.” Kindness is one of the attributes of God, and so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. We are now children of God and we must be as He is, showing kindness and mercy with compassion, walking in humility and gentleness and patience.
This now takes us to love, also a fruit of the Spirit. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love: yes, even greater than faith, because God is love and He loves us so much that He gave His only begotten Son (John 3:16). And the mystery of godliness lies in Yeshua our Messiah (1 Timothy 3:16). Paul writes in Ephesians 3:16-19, “I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Messiah and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
We have seen how godliness plays a part in our walk of faith and that through the work of the Holy Spirit who sows the seeds we bear the fruit in our lives so that we can be godly people. “To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power, so that the name of our Lord Yeshua will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah” (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12).