IS THE GRACE OF GOD AND PRACTICAL GODLINESS INCOMPATIBLE?
There are those today who have been taught and are teaching, that old, long-held, biblically based principles and practices of godliness are no longer of any importance to Christians. They say these things, such as pertain to a Christian’s lifestyle – the way they act, attire and amuse themselves, etc. – no longer matter and are of no real consequence. They say that, in this day and age, for all practical purposes, not much if any difference needs to be recognized between the way the unsaved of the world live and the way that children of God should live. (See Isa. 5:20; Ezek. 22:26). These people, too “wise in their own sight” for their own or anyone else’s good, deceive themselves and lead others astray with their worldly influence and teaching. Their spirits are too closely identified with those spoken of in Jude 4:
“For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old
ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our
God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our
Lord Jesus Christ.”
Today’s pulpits and pews are full of people who, because of their distaste for practical holiness, and in order to accommodate their own worldly propensities, have no problem wresting the Scriptures to suit themselves or dismissing them as either being “irrelevant” or “inapplicable” to Christianity today or as having been previously “misunderstood.” This is precisely the attitude that Jesus addressed in the Sermon on the Mount when he said:
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not
come to destroy, but to fulfill.
verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle
shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments,
and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of
heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called
great in the kingdom of heaven.”
It has become very popular among professed believers today to consign any Scripture that clearly runs contrary to, or threatens, their lifestyle preferences to the category of being “under the law,” “legalistic” or “not important enough to worry about.” Matthew Henry’s commentary on the above passage of Scripture from the Sermon on the Mount should serve as a warning to all such. He wrote:
“It is a dangerous thing, in doctrine or practice, to disannul the least of God’s commands; to break them, that is, to go about either to contract the extent, or weaken the obligation of them; whoever does so, will find it is at his peril. Thus to vacate any of the ten commandments, is too bold a stroke for the jealous God to pass by. it is something more than transgressing the law, it is making void the law, Ps. 119:126 . That the further such corruptions as they spread, the worse they are. It is impudence enough to break the command, but is a greater degree of it to teach men so.”
The truth concerning the grace of God and the truth concerning God’s desire for, and demand that, Christians cultivate and manifest practical godliness in every aspect of their lives do not contradict or compete with each other. They are completely consistent with, complementary to and codependent on each other.
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live
soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.”
— Titus 2:11,12
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”