Week 6: Godliness

paumcSummer Study

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Written by Brooks Mooneyham

“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. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
– 2 Peter 1:5-8

Devotional

Godliness is defined on dictionary.com as “the quality or practice of conforming to the laws of God; and (my favorite wording) reflecting the nature of the kingdom of God in the course of everyday life. Wow!

If we have surrendered our life to Jesus, and follow Him, then we have been reborn by the Spirit of God into His kingdom. This kingdom is a whole different way of living than the life we knew previously. It’s so different in fact that we have to learn it. Thankfully Jesus has sent us the Holy Spirit to teach us all things concerning His kingdom (John 16:13).  We should put off our old self and put on our new self that is being renewed in knowledge after the image of our Creator (Colossians 3:9-10)

So now that we are here in this kingdom what do we do? How do we act? How does it work?

The short answer is Godliness. The long answer is understanding Godliness. If Godliness is a practice of the things of God, his nature, then how do we define God? Yikes! Can we do that? No and yes. We cannot know the totality of God.  Creation (us) using creation (language and thought) to define its creator will always be incomplete. However, God gives us distinct attributes about Himself that we can define. These attributes give us a clear picture of who God describes Himself to be. When we understand those things, then we can know what Godliness for us looks like. Let’s take a quick look at 2 attributes:

God is mercy: Mercy is not just a New Testament attribute. There are over four times as many references to God being merciful in the Old Testament than in the New. Here is an Old Testament verse and a New Testament verse:

Read Isaiah 30:18 and Romans 15:8-9 

Here are some things we can glean about God’s mercy from these two scriptures. God cannot show mercy without being merciful. His mercy is born out of graciousness. It is something that, when experienced, brings us to glorify and praise God. It pleases Him to show us mercy.

So, when we show mercy out of grace, we exalt God, we please God with our behavior, and those who receive it see God in us. This should lead to worship of Him, and it brings us closer to God.

Let’s look at God’s justice: For God to be just and dole out justice He has to be a judge, the authority on all matters of His kingdom, and he has to uphold the laws of His kingdom perfectly. Otherwise, He would be a hypocrite, and God is not a hypocrite! To be justified is to be judged by the Law of God and be found innocent or clear of any wrongdoing. Remember it is Christ who justifies us, not us!

Read Deuteronomy 32:3-4 and Romans 2:12-13

Here are some things we see about God being just. God always acts fairly and reasonably to His law. He cannot be bribed or manipulated. He always administers His authority perfectly. God’s law is the truth you will be judged by, whether you know it or not. It’s something we shouldn’t only know, but it is something we should also do.

So, to act justly we must first know God’s law, then we must act on God’s law by being reasonable and treating everyone fairly and with integrity; protecting those that need it and confronting those that need it as well.

Discussion Questions

  • If our mercy is born out of grace, what is our grace born out of? (1 Timothy 1:14)
  • For us to carry out God’s justice, we have to know his laws. What is the law that Jesus summarized for us? (Luke 10:26-28)
  • God is not half justice and half mercy. He is 100% justice and 100% mercy. How does the mercy and justice of God work together. (Luke 10:25-37)
  • What are some other attributes of God that you can explore?