On being godly
I am reading a book right now called “The Godly Man’s Picture”. On page 12 the puritan Thomas Watson defines what godliness is. He says “Godliness is the sacred impression and workmanship of God in a man, whereby from being carnal he is made spiritual.” We experience this sacred and workmanship in many ways as God transforms us into Jesus’ image. Hopefully each day we go to bed a little more like Jesus than we were when we woke up this morning. The Bible says that this hope purifies us. 1 John 3:3 “And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” So how does God do this work in us?
Here is just one way. In Philippians 2:12-13 God commands us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling but then God says that He is the one who works in us the desire and the ability to do what He commands of us. This working out your own salvation is not working for your salvation. You already have salvation and now you need to work it out. Like I work out my body to stay healthy. I run, try to eat right, and get the rest my body needs. Like maintaining a healthy body, we must work out our salvation in order to grow in godliness. How we do this is by obeying what the Bible says to do. For example The Bible says in Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” This verse teaches us that we should not speak in a way that is negative and tearing others down, instead we should look to Jesus and see how He talked to people and speak in a way that builds up. I work out my salvation by being mindful of this verse and making a conscious effort to do what it says.
But there is more to this working out my salvation than just sheer will power. Philippians 2:13 said that God is the one who gives us the desire to obey His word and also the strength through the Holy Spirit accomplish what He asks of me. Paul understood this when he said “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” No matter what place we find ourselves in we can do all that He asks of us because He cares so much for us that He will finish the work that He began in us. So read what the Bible says and do it trusting God to give you the strength to obey.
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