To be good is not necessarily to be godly. But to be godly is to be good. Failure to make the distinction leads to misunderstanding. Christians sometimes assume that just because their conduct is above reproach, they are right with the Lord. But this may not be true. The Bible says it is possible to be moral without relying on God or even knowing Him.
The Cheyenne, a group of native Americans who once lived in central Minnesota and northern South Dakota, were highly moral people. They practiced moderation, dignity, and generosity, and they manifested an almost unbelievable degree of self-control. Parents loved their children and gave them affection without spoiling them. They also taught them ethical values, so that most of them became dedicated, self-sacrificing, well-behaved human beings. Yet these people were not Christians.
Knowing that people can be good without being godly should cause us to inventory our own lives. If non-Christians can be moral in their own strength, so can we. But no matter how nice we may look on the outside, as long as we depend on ourselves, we displease the Lord. Being godly is a virtue that comes only through relying on Christ. Our goal should be goodness that comes from godliness. – Martin R. De Haan
Holiness is a journey that leads to godliness.
- July 26, Vol. 1, Our Daily Bread