“Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness.” 1 Timothy 3:16
The early church faced oppression in a way many of us, thankfully, will never have to. They lived through Nero’s torture and the humiliation that forced them to hide in caves. But they had hope, hope that they were godly through the work of Christ. They focused on the finished work of Jesus to get through the day and no check-list of behaviors could make them godly. We live in a different time but the mystery of godliness remains.
“What do you think I would hear if I asked the average person on the street how to become godly? What do you suppose he would say? My guess is that most people (after I explained what godly means) would answer that one needs to obey the Ten Commandments or the Golden Rule. Other might talk about being nice,m reading the Bible, or attending church. Perhaps serious Christians would explain how to avoid sin and embrace holy living. But the mysterious truth that motivated and enflamed the early church was that godliness wasn’t about what they could or should do; it was about what Jesus had already done. It was about the incarnation, the resurrection, the ascension…”
“Through the gospel, the Father set our normal way of doing things on its head. Do you want true godliness? Stop working and believe in the incarnation, resurrection, and ascension. Understand realities as they truly are: you won’t ever be able to accrue godliness by putting your trust in your ability to be good enough…”
“The gospel shatters our glory-seeking and self-confidence and tells us that the godliness that pleases the Father is a mystery. If you sincerely want to be godly, stop working and believe. Believe that the gospel declares that we are all the same – helpless and yet so loved. We’re all part of the same body and “partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (Eph. 3:6).”
Lenten devotion from Comforts from the Cross by Elyse Fitzpatrick. Day 25.