Thursday, February 5, 2015

Godliness Is Profitable For All

All scripture references, unless otherwise noted, are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible. The Hebrew and Greek meaning of the words mentioned are from Strong's Hebrew Greek Dictionary.
The Apostle Paul told Timothy, his son in the gospel, to "refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." (See 1st Timothy 4:7-8) Good advice from a man who loved his son in the gospel. But what is godliness? Strong's Hebrew Greek dictionary defines godliness as follows; "εὐσέβεια eusebeia yoo-seb'-i-ah From G2152; piety; specifically the gospel scheme: - godliness, holiness." I want to look at that last word in Dr. Strong's definition, holiness.

There are 43 instances in the King James Version of the Bible where the term "holiness" is used. The first instance is found in the Book of Exodus. The term holiness is in Exodus 15:11 where Moses and the children of Israel sang to the Lord after the destruction of the Egyptian army in the Red Sea. "Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?"  In every instance in the Old Testament the word has the same meaning (according to Dr. Strong) "קדשׁ qôdesh ko'-desh From H6942; a sacred place or thing; rarely abstractly sanctity: - consecrated (thing), dedicated (thing), hallowed (thing), holiness, (X most) holy (X day, portion, thing), saint, sanctuary." 

In the New Testament the first instance of the word "holiness," is found in Luke 1:74-75 when God opened the mouth of Zacharias after John the Baptist was born. "That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life." Again, according to Strong's Hebrew and Greek dictionary the word is translated from "G3742 ὁσιότης hosiotēs (pronounced) hos-ee-ot'-ace From G3741; piety: - holiness." If one looks at the root word from which the word 'holiness" is derived one would find that the New Testament term has pretty much the same meaning as the Old Testament. 

The question comes to my mind, for whom are we to live holy. In 1st Peter 1:15-16 the Bible says, "But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy." (The word "conversation" in the Greek does not mean what you say but what you do). Is it for the Apostle Peter that we are to be holy? How about the Apostle Paul? Perhaps it is because our church organization demands it. No, none of the above are good enough. It is solely for the Lord Jesus! Can holiness save us? Not unless it is for the Lord Jesus that we are living a holy lifestyle. 

In the Old Testament, Isaiah the prophet was told by the Lord to go naked and barefoot to make a point to Israel. (See Isaiah 20:2) That would hardly be considered a holy lifestyle in our day. but if you were told by the Lord to do some outlandish thing, would you do it? If you read in the Bible about how you were to conduct your manner of life, even if no one else was living that way, would you obey? To me, that is being holy.

You may excuse your manner of life and conduct and think that God doesn't care how you live. But know this, the Lord Jesus did not come to save you in your sins but to save you from them. The Apostle Paul said in Romans 5:20b-21 and 6:1a, "But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid." 

The Bible says in 1st John 2:1, "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous..." As I used to tell the church I pastored in Tigard, Oregon, "the Bible doesn't say when any man sins rather, "...if any man sin..." So my advice to you today is to give heed to what the Lord  said in Leviticus 19:2b, "Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy."

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