TOPIC: The Secret to Godliness
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Scripture: 2 Peter 1:5–9
. . . add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.
Have you been told you have to exhibit more Christian character, more self-control, more godliness, and more brotherly kindness? Like a thousand times, perhaps? I certainly was as a young believer. My friend, I totally agree that all these qualities are good and necessary, but the question is, how do we develop them? How should we preachers help believers to exhibit more Christian character?
When asked for the solution, most people would say, “Discipline! We need to focus more on the Ten Commandments and develop discipline, and then self-control, godliness, and brotherly kindness will come.” While all that sounds very good (to the flesh), that is not what the Word of God says in today’s scripture. Read it again, focusing especially on the last sentence.
It is clear that if a Christian lacks the qualities mentioned in today’s scripture, it is not because he lacks discipline, but because he “has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins”—the main clause of the new covenant. He has forgotten that the blood of Jesus has purchased for him the forgiveness of all his sins.
Beloved, if you remind yourself daily that you have been cleansed from all your sins, not only will it produce a genuine love for the Lord, but you will also exhibit more and more Christ-like qualities. Your heart will overflow with faith, self-control, godliness, perseverance, brotherly kindness, and love.
Let me share with you a wonderful praise report from a precious couple who experienced this very truth in their marriage and family. Andy (the husband) had discovered the gospel of grace through one of my books. Prior to this, he was a believer who loved the Lord, his family, and the church he attended. But Andy always experienced a struggle within himself where he would go through cycles of feeling up and down.
His wife, Danielle, who supported him through these cycles, described it this way: “One month he’d be fine. The next two weeks, not so much. Life was like a roller-coaster ride. . . these ups and downs became so regular that I could almost tell when things were going good and when they were going to swing downward again.” Needless to say, this negatively affected those closest to him—his wife and daughters.
However, as Andy began to learn about God’s grace, he came to see how he could rest in Jesus’ finished work. He explained the changes this brought: “The revelation that I’ve been forgiven through Christ and made righteous in Him made me Son-conscious instead of sin-conscious.
Now, when the accuser of the brethren tries to accuse me, the Spirit of truth convicts me of Jesus’ finished work! I still feel down at times of course, but I don’t sink to those depths as before and I’m not down as long as I used to be. I can’t explain it, but I’m so much more joyful now, and I’m just in love with Jesus all over again!”
You might like to hear how Danielle eloquently sums up how the revelation of Jesus’ forgiveness and grace has radically changed her husband:
I saw major changes in him! He’s become much calmer in handling frustrating situations. We’ve always had a good marriage, but now he treats me with so much more love and care and our marriage is even better! He also treats our girls better, showing much more patience with them. He spends much more time with them now and I can also see him really enjoying the time he spends with them.
The secret behind every godly man and woman is their belief in the truth that they have been forgiven. Their godliness stems from a revelation of their forgiveness. They are believers who believe and honor God’s Word. When God says that He is merciful and that He has forgiven all their sins, they take Him at His Word.
All day long, they are forgiveness-conscious. Even when they say the wrong thing, do the wrong thing, or have a wrong thought, they continue to be forgiveness-conscious. They see the blood of Jesus continually washing them. They see God in His mercy and grace. And because of their forgiveness-consciousness, they experience victory over sin.
I encourage you to meditate on the forgiveness and righteousness you have in Christ. This is the key to enjoying your relationship with God and experiencing His love manifesting in and through you! Beloved, the more you are anchored in Jesus’ grace and finished work, the more you will reign in life through Him!