What Makes a Godly Person Godly?
There is a four-fold truth in why Jesus came. First, He came to give us Himself. Secondly, He came to destroy the works of the devil. Thirdly, He came to separate a people for Himself. And fourthly, He came to give His people one heart together. All four purposes can revolve around the word 'godly.' Let's talk about it.
This is Bible Study DU031 - What Makes a Godly Person, Godly?
The simple answer for what makes a person godly, is God Himself. The word for godly in the Hebrew language speaks of those who reflect the character of God in their actions and personality. In this case it speaks of those who have a personal relationship with God.
This is why we have to take the term godly away from the term religious. Sometimes God's people flounder around looking for the best religion, or even a better religion. The problem is that Jesus did not come to give us another religion, or a better religion, or even the best religion. He came to give us a wonderful relationship with heaven.
Jesus settled the argument about religion in His conversation with the lady at the well. Listen:
Lady - "Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet, our fathers worshipped in this mountain, but you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship."
Jesus - "Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father."
The Lord goes on to say, "But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshippers." (Cf. John 4:19-23)
Jesus is saying that in the new covenant true worship will never be about the place. It will be about a heart alignment with God. This is why God's people should never confuse the place we worship with worship itself. True worship is deeply personal. It is in worship that we experience oneness with God and with one another.
Why is it so important to understand this? It is important because it dismantles the very heart of religious division. Many sectarian groups do better at attacking other Christians than anything else. (Sectarianism speaks of the narrow-mindedness of a particular sect or party or denomination.)
This brings us back to the word 'godly.' The Greek term for 'godliness' in simple terms simply means 'good worship.' (God-towardness.) Godly people have a true heart of worship and reverence towards God. This is why godly people cannot simply be religious.
A point to be made is that we must never credit a denomination for making a person godly. A good godly Baptist would make a good godly Methodist, or a good godly Pentecostal, or a good godly Presbyterian. While our Christian traditions may differ, godliness will always be a thing of the heart.
Jesus said that the true worshippers would worship the Father in spirit and in truth. Truth means realness in contrast to appearances. Think about it --- If godly people live in tune with heaven, then they will also be in tune with one another. Godly people have no problem recognizing one another. They speak the same language. Their desires are one and the same. Their worship comes from the same spirit of truth.
Are godly people hard to find? Not really. Godly people have the Spirit of God in them. They all share the same love for Jesus. This is why Paul instructed young Timothy to find those worshippers who have a pure heart towards the Lord.
Listen: "Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart." (2Ti 2:22)
True worshippers are to gather with other true worshippers. We are to be cautious about sectarianism or any group that supposes 'they are the way' group. Every 'we are the way' group is divisive at its very core.
Paul defines these 'we are the way' groups as self-made religion. Hear what he wrote: "If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!"
He goes on to say, "These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence."
Paul's entire contention in Colossians has to do not getting caught up in sectarianism. He earlier said, "Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day--things which are a mere shadow of what is to come, but the substance belongs to Christ." (Cf. Col 2)
Paul also warned the Corinthians in the matter -- "But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ." (2Co 11:3)
So - Did Jesus come to give us a religion? I think not. He came to give us Himself. He came to give us the reality of the Father, and a purity of worship and devotion to Him. He came to give us one heart together. He came to give us Christian love, a love than transcends all boundaries of the Christian groupings. He came to make us one with Himself and with heaven.
We are to gather with those who see true worship as relational to Jesus and to the heavenly Father, and not with some group who sees themselves as being the truth. Jesus alone is the truth. Jesus Himself said that there would be tares among the wheat.
It is not a matter of finding a church with no flaws. As long as the human element is involved, there will be human issues to deal with. However, we should seek to gather with those believers who recognize that there are true believers among all who gather in His name.
One other point I need to make -- I believe that a great sign of the end times is sometimes overlooked. (In my opinion.) The great sign of the end time church is the division between the godly and the simply religious.
Listen carefully to this prophetic Psalm -- "He summons the heavens above, and the earth, to judge His people: 'Gather My godly ones to Me, those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice.'" (Ps 50:4,5 - The judging here is the separating of His godly ones from all others. The sacrifice speaks to the those who have come through the cross.)
Is this greater sign happening in the church today? Yes. I am seeing it take place in groups like the Women of Faith Conferences, missions groups by the hundreds such as Christians Sharing Christ, in youth programs such as Awana, in untold para-church organizations. I'm speaking of gatherings that are wholly for Jesus and not for some sectarian idea.
Godly people are gathering all over this planet to join in true worship, and they are recognizing one another as true worshippers together.
Not long ago Betty and I went on a Gaither Home-Coming Cruise with several thousand people from all Christian backgrounds. What made the cruise so awesome is that there were no religious distinctions to be found. The worship was like a flowing river. It did not matter who you sat with at the breakfast table, you instantly fell into sweet fellowship.
Does this mean we should forsake our home churches? Never. Our home churches are our personal family-gathering places of worship. The Lord has always flocked His people into groupings. He gives us under-shepherds to help teach us His ways.
What we should forsake, however, is any notion that our denomination or our church or our group is exclusive to God. Nor should we set about to try and create a unity. God gave us a unity. The unity we are to keep is our unity in Jesus Christ. Jesus came to give us oneness with the heavenly Father. Let's keep that oneness.
Just something to think about.
"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission."
This study was originally shared on April 3, 2007. It was written by Pastor Buddy Martin, a former United Pentecostal Church minister, who founded Christian Challenge International. Writings are the copyright of Buddy Martin and reprinted on this site by permission.
Page added April 3, 2007
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