By J. S. Grinstead
The “graces” of 2 Pet. 1, necessary to an entrance into the everlasting kingdom, are too little known and practiced. Based upon the great truth of verses 1-4, we are instructed to add diligence to the promises of God in exercising faith to develop virtue (moral courage). Each succeeding “grace” is to be exercised to develop another. Possibly a failure to develop the “divine nature” results from not understanding the full meaning of the “grace” and the need of putting each one to work in developing others.
This short article does not allow a discussion of all the “graces.” Let us look at one grace, which I believe lacks practice and appreciation-godliness. This does not mean Godlike (ness) or to be like God. Yes, we are to be holy as he is holy. We seek to perfect the divine attributes in our life. When tempted to steal, lie, commit an immoral act, neglect the assembly, violate God’s authority, etc., we through faith and power of the Word in our life may overcome’. However, all the “graces” add up to Godlikeness. Therefore, godliness alone does not carry that meaning. Believing it does, some fail under fear. After all, what man can be like God? “Godwardness” would be a better translation. Paraphrased it means, relate all things to God. Indeed it takes much developing of faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, and steadfastness to direct every thought, word, and deed toward God. Sufficient diligence however is possible to relate our entire life to God.
Godwardness In Authority
A man desires to use mechanical instruments in worship unto God and seeks to justify his action on human element or benefit. “We like it.” “It makes the singing so much better.” Godward action looks for divine authority. Possibly those who use the instrument with spiritual songs at times other than the assembly lack the grace of godliness. Why? They can sing -How Great Thou Art”… “My God, He Is Alive”… “I Am Thine, “0 Lord,” “Nearer My God To Thee,” and not direct such toward God, or relate the spiritual message to God, but do so for self-pleasure or entertainment. It would seem “godliness” demands songs with such spiritual message be directed toward (related to) God. We should worship (pay reverence to God) when we sing.
Godwardness In Life
When brethren wrong one another and disagree, godliness (Godwardness) exercised supplies brotherly kindness and love. Christians have no problem with modesty when they relate their apparel to God. Godward action results in attendance at all assemblies (even Gospel Meetings). Godly people do not conform to the world, or become worldly (Rom. 12:1-2; 1 John 2:15-17) just because “everybody is doing it,” “it is the popular thing to do… It is socially acceptable,” but they become transformed, and walk in newness of life because Godwardness has been developed. Godliness cures worldliness (Titus 2:11-14).
A godly Bible student does not study and meditate just to have something to tell others, but to learn how to develop the principles of the Sacred Volume in his life, and relate them to God. Having so done, he is able to teach what he has learned to practice. Godwardness purifies the heart. When the heart is pure, all of life will be clean, God-oriented and God-related. Have you developed godliness?
TRUTH MAGAZINE XVII: 32, pp. 6-7
June 14, 1973