Godliness - Knowledge, Faith, Love, God Likeness

Thomas Watson, in “The Godly Man’s Picture”, puts forth 24 characteristics of a godly person. The first is that they are spiritually knowledgeable. This knowledge is grounded in the faith (Col. 1:23). It is one that esteems God and energizes (enlivens) the spirit. It is applicable to our sinful nature and transforms that nature (2 Cor. 3:18). It is a knowledge that doesn’t puff one up, but rather is self-emptying. As Watson says, “The more he knows the more he blushes at his own ignorance.” This knowledge contributes to our growth (Col. 1:10) and is highly practical. “True knowledge not only improves a Christian’s sight, but improves his pace.”

A godly person is also one who is moved by faith. “Faith is the vital artery of the soul (Hab. 2:4).” All other spiritual living without faith is dead. Faith is “the mother of hope and the ground of patience.” It is by faith that we have both a hope for a good future and by which we persevere in the present. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6). Faith is what propels our godliness.

The godly person is “fired with love to God.” We burn with a love for our heavenly Father. “The sun mellows the fruit, so love mellows the services of religion and gives them a better relish.” Love for God makes our service to him a pleasure and a delight. This love causes one to rejoice to “think of His appearing (2 Tim. 4:8).” Even if a man “is reduced to straits” this love exists independent of his circumstances.

Finally, a godly person is God-like. He has the same judgment, thinks the same things, and has a God-like disposition as he partakes of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). He is like God in His holiness which “is the intrinsic purity of his nature and his abhorrence of sin.” This is revealed in our actions regarding sin. A godly person will abstain from every kind of evil (1 Thess. 5:22). His attitude in regard to sin is that he “will not go as far as he may, lest he go farther than he should.” He will not only be holy but will be an advocate for holiness. “Holiness defends the godly and they will defend holiness.” They will “wipe the dust of a reproach off the face of religion.” A godly person will pursue holiness and speak up when holiness or purity is denigrated.

More characteristics next week.