The source of these articles: While the law of Moses is death (2 Cor. 3:7, Heb. 8:13), Jesus said that His words are spirit and life (John 6:63), and He said that His words would never pass away (Matt. 24:35). Jesus gave those words to His Apostles and prophets by the Holy Spirit (John 15:20, 17:8, Acts 1:1-3), and these words were written in the New Testament of the Bible (1 Cor. 2:13, 14:37, Eph. 3:3-5). The New Testament is written that you may know that you have eternal life (1 John 5:13) and that you can be complete and equipped to do every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
Are spiritual people okay for just being spiritual? Will being spiritual save you? Will claiming to believe in Jesus save you? Will going to any church get you into heaven? Post-modern tolerance says, “Yes”. What does the Spirit of Jesus say? Will having a form of godliness save you? Will it save your friends and family? Does it make everybody okay? Could we say, “You’re okay. You have a form of godliness”? Let’s look at having a form of godliness. What would that look like? Is there a difference between the godliness of the world and the godliness of Christ?
What is the World’s Form of Godliness? The Spirit of Christ says in 2 Timothy 3:1-5,
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying the power. And from such people turn away!”
Were these spiritual people? Yes. Does being spiritual get you into Heaven? No. Did these people do evil? Yes. Let’s look at little closer at this passage. The Greek word for “godliness” is easebeo, which means “to do what is holy, reverent, honorable”. This passage speaks about about the past, present, and future. Remember that Hebrews 1:2 shows that since Christ, we have been in the last days.
To apply this Scripture, we must first ask, “Does this form of godliness describe us?” Do we have a form of godliness and yet we are lovers of ourselves, lovers of money, and lovers of pleasure? Are we unloving and do not love God? That is a form of “godliness”. Are we proud, boastful, and haughty? That is a form of godliness that denies the power. Do we blaspheme, revile [curse], and slander [gossip]? This is also of a form of godliness. Are we without self-control and despise what is good? This is a form of godliness. Let us repent and pray to God to forgive us if this describes us. All of these sins describe a form of godliness that denies the power. We live in this kind of world now. In other words, we live in a world of its own self-righteousness. The world has its own godliness, and it is not going to save them.
Now, what is this power that is being denied? Evidently, this power has to do with living a life free of sin. Using the words of Christ, there are 3 passages that stand out, and all being related to the Word of God. Romans 1:16 shows that the power of God unto salvation is the Gospel. Luke 24:49 refers to the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Thess. 5:19-20). These come together even more so in 2 Peter 1:3, “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue”. These are times for which we must be careful in claiming to follow Christ, then we should realize the power of His words and observe these words given by the apostles and prophets through Christ’s Spirit. The application of the God’s Word is at the heart and core of all named divisions even outside of Christendom. There is a foreseeable corruption of godliness in those who do not completely submit to Christ.
Looking at the context of 2 Timothy 3:1-5. This scripture is applied to the Church, and those who are associated with the Church who have a form of godliness and yet deny its power. Now is certainly a time of relativism and referred to as “post-denominational”, because everybody has their own form of godliness. Can those professing Christianity and their churches meet the description of godliness without power? Yes, these meet the description and even more so. The Spirit is speaking to the Church here, and instructing them to turn away from such people who are associated with the Church. Didn’t Jesus eat with sinners? This is certainly true, but only for the purpose of instruction and to save them, and not for casual recreation. We must remember 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15, “And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.” In the completion of this instruction, our friends and family must first be those who are God’s friends and family in the Church.
Let’s continue this study in two more parts looking at the context of 2 Timothy 3:1-5. Let’s see why we need to be aware of this powerless form of godliness, and then see what we can and must do about this.