“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness” ~1 Timothy 3:16a
It was probably the first reference to religion I can remember, hearing my Mother’s defense in her claim that it’s important to be clean. “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”, my first thought was “it must be a sin to be dirty”.
Now, my Mother’s motives to get me to wash up may have been a little sewed and you won’t find this verse in the Bible but it’s not that far off. In Jesus’ day the reference to being clean was an important status to hold, mainly because you were a Gentile or had a disease. It meant that God was not with you or even worse, you had a curse. In Mark 10:1 we read “And when He (Jesus) had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease”. It was a matter of being clean spiritually that Jesus dealt with first.
Then we come to this phrase “godliness”, it’s a term used by the Apostle Paul 9 times in his first letter to Timothy in the NKJV. It seems to be an important role for Timothy to play out in his ministry. In chapter 2 it says “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence”.
Are you godly, do you lead a godly life? I believe this is a quest for all of us to attain and pursue. Peter opens his second letter by saying, “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as 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”.
This pursuit of godliness seems to pertain to our standing before God as a people who, when closely examined can be found to be devoted and trusting in the words of the Bible. Paul writes to Timothy in 3:16
“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:
God was manifested in the flesh,
Justified in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Preached among the Gentiles,
Believed on in the world,
Received up in glory”.
This verse has to become our creed by which we live. We have been made clean by the divine power of the Holy Spirit which was given to us free of charge at salvation but the act of staying clean is only obtained by the faith that was also given to us as we practice and commit ourselves daily to the Lordship of Christ. It would appear that the purpose of Paul’s letters to Timothy was to convince this young man to, first “keep” himself clean and then to protect those who he was ordained to watch over.
So, you can try to scrub a little harder to make yourself clean and keep Mom happy but I recommend the thoughts of Jude “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life”. Amen!
Written by Rob Russomano: Rob is married to Terri, he is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy and a full time staff member. He is also available as a speaker of the grace of God with a message of Hope for church events
Daily Quote: “God bestows His blessings without discrimination. The followers of Jesus are children of God, and they should manifest the family likeness by doing good to all, even to those who deserve the opposite.” ~F. F. Bruce
This Week’s Verse to Memorize:
11 He will feed His flock like a shepherd;
He will gather the lambs with His arm,
And carry them in His bosom,
And gently lead those who are with young. ~Isaiah 40:11