Sunday, June 18, 2017

A Form of Godliness versus Substance and Evidence

In Hebrews we read...

Heb 11:1  Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

It was by faith that Abel offered a sacrifice that testified that he was righteous, it was his best and there was no selfish motive in his heart. We know this because Abel's sacrifice is contrasted with that of Cain...

Jud 1:11  Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.

Yet take note that Cain still did offer a sacrifice to God. Cain's sacrifice was not of substance and evidence, rather it was a form of godliness, all form but no substance.

Ti 3:5  Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
2Ti 3:6  For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
2Ti 3:7  Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
2Ti 3:8  Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.

Paul refers to a people of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. He then contrasts this description by speaking of himself...

2Ti 3:10  But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,

Take note that Paul was indued with purpose, faith, long-suffering, charity (love) and patience, all of which comprised the manner of his life and that of sound doctrine.

We ought all carefully examine our own hearts to ascertain if we are like Paul or do only have form and no substance.

A false faith can be very deceiving but if we carefully reflect upon the truths revealed in Scripture then such deception can be exposed and dealt with.

A good example, I think, of a "form of godliness" or a "faith without substance" is described by Paul as the ministering of questions which have nothing to do with godly edifying.

1Ti 1:4  Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.

In other words an individual can become puffed up with knowledge, the pride of intellectualism, and completely miss the purpose of our communication which ought be...

1Ti 1:5  Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:

Reflect upon that for a moment.

It is very easy to swerve aside the purpose of the commandment and be caught up in what Paul calls "vain jangling."

1Ti 1:6  From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;

Here is another interesting comment of Paul...

1Ti 6:3  If any man teach otherwise (pertaining to service), and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;
1Ti 6:4  He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,
1Ti 6:5  Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
1Ti 6:6  But godliness with contentment is great gain.
1Ti 6:7  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
1Ti 6:8  And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

The focus of Paul in the above passage is godliness and he makes reference to people who bring questions and strifes of words, obviously set apart from godliness.

Do we strive for details or questions that are distinctly set apart from godly edification unto godliness. This is well worth considering and I think we all ought be circumspect in all that we do. Is what we are doing in the interest of edifying fellow souls unto godliness as espoused by the doctrine of Christ.

Faith is the substance and evidence of things hoped for because it encompasses a heart totally yielded to God through we intimately abide with God in His love. It is through a faith that is substantial that we fervently love one another with pure hearts (1Pet 1:22) and thus our sacrifice is like Abel's, simply our best with no ulterior motive.

God has been so gracious to provide us with all that we need. Let us walk in that provision and let all our actions be done always with an outcome of godliness kept first.

Please consider.

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