Summary: What is godliness? According to the Interpreter's Bible, " is strong awareness of the God-relatedness of all life. It is that attitude which sees all things in their relation to God."

Feodore Dostoevski in The Brothers Karamazov brings Christ

back to earth in imagination to a 16th century setting in Spain. It

was during the terrible Inquisition when so-called heretics were

being burned at the stake in great number. Jesus began at once to

heal the sick, make the blind to see, the lame to walk, and the dead

to rise. When the Cardinal of Seville, the Grand Inquisitor, entered

the square in front of the Cathedral he observed what Jesus was

doing, and ordered Him arrested.

That night the Grand Inquisitor came to see Jesus in prison, and

warned Him that if He did not cease to hinder the work of the

church He would be burned at the stake. "The masses," he said,

"want bread and not freedom. Why have you come to disturb

them?" Jesus did not answer, but approached the old man in silence

and kissed him, and that was His only answer. The old man

shuddered, went to the door, opened it, and said, "Go and come no

more, come not at all, never, never." He let him out into a dark alley

and the prisoner went away.

The story could be repeated in a thousand ways in every age, and

it would always be the same, for Jesus is always the same, and

people and society are always the same. That is why Hunter Blakely

wrote, "Jesus Christ is life's Great Disturber. He is the most

revolutionary character whoever set foot upon this planet. He

disturbs everything everywhere. There is no area of life which he

does not enter. He came into a world where men were nowhere in

complete accord with the will of God, and until God's will is done on

earth as completely as it is done in heaven, Christ will always be the

Great Disturber."

Jesus would not fare any better in the 20th century than He did

in the first. His godliness would again bring upon Him the wrath of

man. Godliness is too disturbing to man. They must either destroy

it, or conform to it. What is it? According to the Interpreter's

Bible, " is strong awareness of the God-relatedness of all life. It

is that attitude which sees all things in their relation to God." The

Greeks used the word to refer to reference for, and loyalty to God.

In the New Testament it is basically an absolute loyalty and devotion

to God. This is a quality to life that leads us to great favor with God,

but great disfavor with society in general.

The greater ones godliness, the greater the chance of ending up

on a cross. This is why Jesus would be crucified in every age.

He would denounce all prejudice, and refuse to accept rationalizing

cooperation with any form of evil. He would not respect our social,

educational, and racial walls. He would trample them under His

feet, and stir up a storm of opposition. He would refuse to limit His

followers to any denomination, and so He would be despised by

many in the church as well as those in the world. Jesus was, is, and

every shall be to the end of the world, the great disturber of men.

Jesus could have exhibited all of the virtues that we read of in

Peter's list and been well received. All men admire a bold man; a

man of keen intellect, and abundant knowledge. All people

recognize the value of self-control, and patient endurance. In the

abstract these are acceptable to all and universally honorable. The

problem comes when all of these virtues are directed toward a

definite objective. If is to be a great soldier, sportsman, musician, or

business man, you will have your envious enemies, but the majority

will applaud. However, if you use all of these virtues to do the will

of God, you run into a wall of majority opposition. The ungodly

consider it a crime, and waste of life and talent. The superficially

godly are put to shame by superior devotion, and they demand a

return to mediocrity so that they are not disturbed.

If Jesus had not insisted on being so God-centered and

God-controlled, He could have easily worked out a program of

peaceful coexistence with the Pharisees, but He was determined to

make godliness primary, and that led to the cross. This says

something about where we have arrived in this list of essential

spiritual weapons for the battle of life. It says we have reached a

new plateau of spiritual experience when we add godliness to our

equipment. All the others are used by wise pagans, and servants of

the devil. There can be no doubt that Satan himself has a good

measure of boldness, knowledge, self-control, and perseverance. But

with godliness we come to a great divide which separates the heroes

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