Sunday, October 19, 2014

Add to Perseverance Godliness

2 Peter 1:5–9 (NKJV)
5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.

Thus far in Peter’s exhortation we have learned to employ all diligence as we add to our faith virtue, to our virtue knowledge, to our knowledge self-control, and to our self-control perseverance. Today we consider Peter’s admonition to add to our perseverance godliness.

Webster defines godliness as “the quality or state of being spiritually pure or virtuous; devoutness, piety, sanctity.” We might define it more simply as the quality or state of becoming more like God – reflecting the moral character of God in our lives.

Jesus instructs us in the Sermon on the Mount that we are to be perfect even as our Heavenly Father is perfect. We are to become like our Lord – an observation we will consider at length in the sermon this morning. To be godly, therefore, is to enjoy the sum of all virtues – it is the goal of our sanctification: becoming like God. We persevere not for perseverance sake but that we might reflect the character of God.

Godliness is often set in opposition to worldliness – becoming increasingly like the world. Paul reminds us in Titus 2:11–12:
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,

God’s grace teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and to live soberly, righteously and godly in the present age. This is one of God’s purposes in salvation. So how do we grow in godliness? As with all graces, we grow in godliness only by the grace and mercy of God. As Paul said, it is the grace of God that teaches us to be godly in this present age. Peter likewise reminds us God’s divine power has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness. God is the One who teaches us to be more like Him; He holds us by the hand and shapes us into His image.

One of the primary means God uses to cultivate godliness in our lives is worship. We worship God and as we worship Him we become more like Him, we become godly. Worship fixes our eyes on the Lord and shapes the trajectory of our lives. Just like driving – where you fix your gaze determines where you go.

This is one reason God has given us an extensive collection of psalms in the biblical canon – psalms that we can sing so that we become more like God; psalms that we can imitate as we compose new songs to the praise and worship of the Lord. We are to grow in godliness and God has given us the psalms to help accomplish this.

So how intentional have you been to memorize the psalms, to sing them in times of temptation and struggle, and to use them as you labor against the Evil One? One of the reasons we have psalm sings as a congregation is to enable us to fight more effectively. We don’t sing the psalms just so we can sound pretty or edgy or manly – we sing the psalms so that we can become more godly.

So reminded of our calling to become more like God by worshiping Him, let us confess that we have often taken our eyes off the Lord and drifted toward worldliness. Let us kneel as we confess together.