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Grace Notes

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A GODLY PERSON IS GOOD IN HIS RELATIONSHIPS
by Philip Owen

 

The very term godliness conjures in the minds of some images of stone walls, cloistered halls, cold little rooms, long robes, vows of silence and of seclusion from society. But the Word of God knows nothing of such things. And while there is an essential spiritual and internal element to godliness, nothing is more practical than true godliness. In fact, the impractical, the merely academic, or theoretical is inimical to godliness as today’s attribute of godliness from Thomas Watson’s list suggests. Watson observed that a godly person is one who is good in his relationships.
 
Being good in relationships as an expression of godliness entails more than being a sociable person, being perceived as a nice guy, or at ease in a crowd, or always ready with the right turn of phrase or quick wit. At the root of this aspect of godliness is a godlike realization that “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son” (John 3:16) and that “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). God places infinite value on a human soul, and the godly person appreciates the fact that He is glorified in the lives of His saints when we honor the value He places on each life.
 
The New Testament addresses virtually every type of human relationship in order that believers might realize that godliness affects every human association.
 
Godliness involves family relationships. In order to be godly, a wife is instructed to submit to her husband, but a husband is instructed to love his wife as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. Parents have the responsibility to avoid provoking their children and to raise them in discipline and instruction in the Lord. Children are first to obey and then to honor their parents (See:   Eph. 5; Col. 3 for more).
 
Godliness involves church relationships, that is, relations with other believers. Believers are to show devotion to one another; they are to give preference to one another. They are to be diligent in serving others, to contribute to needy saints, to be hospitable. They are to submit to one another, to exhort one another, to consider one another in order to encourage them to love and good works. They are to discipline, reprove, and even censure when necessary (See: Eph. 5; Rom. 12; Heb. 10; II Tim. 3; II Thes. 3 for more).
 
Godliness involves relationships with the world. Believers are not instructed to withdraw from society on the one hand, but neither are they to behave like the world on the other. As much as possible, believers are to live peaceably with all men. They are not to seek vengeance; they are to love their neighbors and to overcome evil with good. And they are always to be ready to tell anyone about the salvation that they have experienced personally (See: Rom. 12, 13; I Pet. 3 for more).
 
Godliness involves occupational relationships. Employees are to do what their employers require, and they are to serve them heartily as service to the Lord. Employers are not to threaten employees but to treat them justly and fairly (See: Eph. 6; Col. 3, 4 for more). 
 
Godliness involves civic relationships. Believers are to honor those who govern, to obey all laws that do not violate Scripture, and to pay their taxes (See: Rom. 13; I Pet. 2 for more).
 
The godly realize that no relationship should be left to chance, whim, or convenience. They know that God has a will in every relationship in life, which is their precious duty and privilege to know and fulfill. Godly behavior is not confined to the people we know and love nor exhibited only to those we deem to be important or able to advance us in our careers or other opportunities. In His Word, God has revealed a holy way for believers to deal with everyone, including the poor, the rebel, the needy, the stranger, even the oppressor. And the godly do so.
 

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