By Forrest D. Moyer
II. Godliness Is Profitable In All Ways
1. Godliness is profitable physically. The wise man pointed out the need of keeping this teaching by saying, “For length of days and years of life, and peace they will add to you” (Prov. 3:2). Wisdom says, “For by me your days will be multiplied, and years of life will be added to you” (9:11). One way by which godliness helps to prolong life is that it keeps us from dissipating morals and habits. Drugs, alcohol and immorality work to destroy the physical body. Godliness regulates our behavior so that we do not engage in “sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousals, drinking parties and abominable idolatries . . . excess of dissipation” (1 Pet. 4:34). Godliness bids us to “flee fornication” and youthful lusts.” It teaches me that my body is “a temple of the Holy Spirit” and that I must “glorify God in my body” (1 Cor. 6:18-20). 1 must present my body “as a living sacrifice” (Rom. 12:1). Thus, I will refrain from habits that are destructive to this body which belongs to God.
May I make an earnest plea to my brothers who use tobacco? It has been shown most emphatically that cigarette smoking is linked to lung cancer and heart disease. With every cigarette you are shortening your life by some fourteen minutes. Why do that which is taking precious minutes of service to God away from him? You will agree that suicide is sinful – it destroys God’s temple. But destroying the body by degrees is accomplishing the same thing over a period of time. If we can do something that will help us have longer time to serve him, let us do so. Remember, God does not demand anything of us in our serving him that will destroy our bodies. Godliness truly is profitable.
2. Godliness is profitable mentally. One of the outstanding benefits of Christ’s way is that it demands the use of the mind. He demands that we think, reason, understand, and believe. He teaches that our thought process controls our actions (Matt. 15:19-20). The reason so many are bound for Hell is that they “walk in the futility of their mind, being darkened in the understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of , their heart” (Eph. 4:17-18). Please observe the power of the mind in binding man in sin through this negative thinking. On the other hand the Christian is to program his thinking in a positive way: “. . . true . . . honorable . . . right . . . pure . . . lovely . . . good repute . . . let your mind dwell on these things” (Phil. 4:8). This is genuine “positive thinking” and it leads us to say with Paul, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (v. 13).
The proper use of our minds will lead us to search, to study his word, and to believe God. The Christian is one so “who by reason of use has his senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Heb. 5:14). For this reason “though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16). The intellect is a vital part of our service to him because service demands faith, and faith is a function of the intellect. Our faith grows by our hearing God’s word, and this, too, is a function of the mind. Therefore, we can say most emphatically that godliness is profitable mentally.
3. Godliness is profitable emotionally. Each one of us from time to time must face circumstances that tax us emotionally. That such is a national problem is seen in the large number of counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists who are constantly busy with emotionally disturbed people. This is not to suggest that qualified counselors do not serve a vital and needed purpose – they do. However, Jesus Christ offers to us an emotionally stable form of life. Godliness offers that which is psychologically sound from every standpoint. It offers a faith to sustain us. Jesus said to the apostles, “Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me” (Jn. 14:1). He can help eliminate the troubled heart that we all have from time to time. I have sometimes bogged down in the slough of despondency. I have been at that low point where one feels that the world is against him. I have felt the sorrow of severed relationships that once were precious. I have cried out in anxiety because of my own sins. But “thanks be to God for his wonderful gift!” I can be free from all these fiery darts of Satan. He lifts me up from the pit!
a. Jesus can eliminate the guilty conscience. He urges us to come with confidence to the throne of mercy that we may find grace to help in time of need (Heb. 4:14-16). He tells us that the blood of Jesus is constantly there for the Christian so that as he repents and confesses his sins, he will have a continuing relationship with the Father (1 John 1:7-9). How precious it is to know that every sin of our past lives has been hidden in the depth of the sea of God’s forgetfulness. We do not have to lie down on our pillow at night with the guilt of any sin upon us. We can take all our sins to him and he will abundantly pardon.
b. Godliness also helps to eliminate worry from our lives. We have, perhaps, all worried about where the rent or the next bag of groceries would come from. We have worried about our health. We have worried about our children, and quite often, about myriads of insignificant things. Paul wrote, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7). As Jesus spoke in the Sermon on the Mount, he said, “Do not be anxious then, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink? or ‘With what shall we clothe ourselves?’ (Matt. 6:31) Instead, seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and I ‘do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (v. 34). Only by a deep, abiding faith in God can we develop this armor against worry. John wrote, “this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith” (1 John 5:4). Certainly we can say that godliness is profitable emotionally.
c. Above all, we can say that godliness is profitable spiritually. As we have seen, godliness is profitable because it gives to us a faith to sustain us and the forgiveness of all sins. Godliness gives to us a God to serve. Jesus said, “Man Should not live by bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). When man’s stomach is filled with food, when his body is enraptured with pleasure, there is still a longing of soul that nothing physical can satisfy. As Paul expressed it in our opening text, godliness “holds promise for the present life.” It is promise of the abundant life of which Jesus spoke, “I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly” (John 10:10). You can live an abundant life! But, friend, that life is only in Jesus Christ.
III. Godliness Is Profitable At All Times
1. Godliness is profitable for the everyday living of this present life. “But godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (1 Tim. 4:8). In writing to the Philippians, Paul spoke of three great attributes that every Christian ought to possess: joy, peace, and contentment. He tells us how to have all these traits. He tells us to “rejoice.” But he does not stop there. He tells us of the only relationship in which we can rejoice – “in the Lord.” There can be no genuine joy elsewhere. Nehemiah expressed it centuries ago when he said, “For the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Neh. 8:10). When we have the joy of the Lord in our lives, we are strong. Satan cannot rob us of our spirituality when it is guarded by joy. Just as a husband and wife who are truly happy with each other will not seek love elsewhere, even so one who knows the joy of Jesus will not seek the companionship of the devil.
He tells us how to have peace. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayers and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7). We pray with sincere faith in Jesus’ promises to us. Because we believe him, we believe that he will hear us. We believe that our sins are forgiven. We believe that he will never leave us nor forsake us so that we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid” (Heb. 13:5-6). In godliness we have “peace like a river.”
Paul tells us how to have contentment. He said, “For I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.
I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need” (Phil. 4:1112). What was the secret that Paul had learned? “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (v. 13). He had contentment through Jesus because he knew that “my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (v. 19). He knew that “if God be for us, who can be against us?”, and that ‘,all things work together for good to those who love God” (Rom. 8). Godliness brings joy, peace, and contentment into our lives. It is profitable for this present life.
2. Godliness is profitable for the life which is to come. It is only by godliness that I can be with God eternally. He has made it possible by his grace for me to have a right standing with him. I have the responsibility of maintaining that right standing by walking in the light and allowing the blood of Jesus to cleanse me of my sins. This “walking in the light” can be equated with godliness – the right attitude to God and to things divine. By God’s love and power, I can have eternal fellowship with him in Heaven. Peter describes our new dwelling place in 2 Peter 3:11-13. He shows that this present world is to be destroyed. Since it is to be destroyed, “what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God?” Please observe the demand for holy conduct and godliness on our part. By this kind of living in fellowship with him “according to his promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.” Our new dwelling place beyond this earth is “an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Pet. 1:4-5). Therefore, godliness- will carry us through life and will help see us through the valley of the shadow of death. God will lead us safely through to the other side where we can hymn his praises forever while eternity rolls on and on.
After Paul had spoken of the need of godliness and that it is profitable in all ways, he said, “It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance” (1 Tim. 4:9). Let us rely on it; let us live by it. We will have a better life now and eternal life with Jesus in the new heavens and new earth. Our prayer is that the Father will grant us to live in all godliness before him all the days of our lives.
Guardian of Truth XXXII: 16, pp. 491-492
August 18, 1988