Bible Study

Pursuing Godliness in an Ungodly Age

Michael Beck

Only those who are living in the presence of God and worshipping Him in spirit and in truth will be kept from the “fall” of multitudes around them in the apostasy of these last days.

A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. (Psalm 91:7,8)

Only those who are worshipping God have His promise of deliverance from the day of judgment that is coming upon the wicked.

The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished (2 Peter 2:9)

godly > Greek – eusebes > eu > good + sebomai > worship

Man’s worship of God is not optional. His failure to worship God as he ought incurs God’s wrath.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18)

One of the preeminent designations of people in the last days is that of ungodly (i.e., those not worshipping God.)

But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. (Jude 1:17,18)

The book of 2 Peter is a warning to the church against living in an ungodly way (i.e., a life without true worship.)

For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly (2 Peter 2:4-6)

A form of worship that lacks the power and essence of true worship will characterize many last days believers.

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. (2 Timothy 3:5)

Those hardest against God have always been those that are not worshipping Him in their hearts.

And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. (Jude 1:14,15)

Paul foretold a last days “peril” because of those who would be “despisers of those that are good.”

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be… despisers of those that are good (2 Timothy 3:1,3)

Contention was predicted not only between believers and unbelievers, but even more severely between true and false worshippers.

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. (2 Timothy 3:12)

Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. (Philippians 3:2,3)

But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. (Galatians 4:29)

For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. (1 John 3:11-13)

Paul identified himself as an apostle whose message brought to light the “truth” concerning true worship (i.e. godliness.)

Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness (Titus 1:1)

Paul preached that the work of Christ was to justify or realign with God those who were not truly worshipping Him.

But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. (Romans 4:5)

Paul explained that the saving ministry of the Messiah as one that would remove from God’s people any false worship.

And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob (Romans 11:26)

Paul implored Timothy to flee a life of idolatry, and purposefully pursue a life of true worship.

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. (1 Timothy 6:10,11)

Paul was careful to distinguish between teaching that advanced the false idolatry found in covetousness and a doctrine that was “according to godliness” (i.e., the true worship of God.)

If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. (1 Timothy 6:3-5)

Paul declared that the pursuit and gain of godliness (i.e., true worship) should be our true “covetousness.”

But godliness with contentment is great gain. (1 Timothy 6:3-6)

Paul taught that real spiritual profit that benefits the believer in this life and in the next is directly tied to our “exercising” ourselves toward the true worship of God.

But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. (1 Timothy 4:7,8)

While we think of church as the usual setting for the worship of God, Paul exhorts that the worship of God should be worked out first in our home setting.

But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God. (1 Timothy 5:4)

to show piety > Greek – eusebeo > worship

The expression of worship should not only be in church, by way of the lifting of hands, it should be through the adorning of our life with “good works” as we learn the “art” of true worship.

I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. (1 Timothy 2:8-10)

professing > Greek – epaggello
– to announce that one is about to do or furnish something
– to profess an art
– to profess one’s skill in something

Paul taught that Jesus died for those who were failing in the art of God’s worship. But to those formerly ungodly people who are now realigned with God, he speaks of their being “without strength” to worship as being in the past tense.

For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. (Romans 5:6)

Peter is just as emphatic that Christ has now made possible a life of godliness (i.e., true worship.)

Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue (2 Peter 1:2,3)

Although Peter insists that God has given us all we need for “life and godliness,” he goes on to tell us that to learn the “art” of worship requires a serious, diligent, life long commitment.

And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. (2 Peter 1:5-7)

Peter promises that if this dedicated life of worship is increasing in us it will not leave us “barren” or “unfruitful” in our knowledge of Christ.

For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:8)

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.