Life and godliness are the perfectly balanced call of every believer through the glory and virtue of Christ. They are freely available through the cross, and God has provided all we need to manifest the one true God, the I AM, as He really is.
as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, (2 Peter 1:3)
Today’s verse reminds us that there are two parts to salvation, both of which are God’s expectations for His people under the new covenant. To focus on either one at the expense of the other is to diminish all that Christ achieved on the cross. It’s the deception of the devil at work to steal that which Jesus purchased for us with His broken body and shed blood. It leaves us living lopsided lives, always striving for something that seems just out of reach. We seem to always fall short of our purpose to reveal the glory and power of God to the world and are left wondering why. Inevitably, we explain it away with vague excuses as to ‘the will of God’ or that His purposes are different to ours. The real truth is that we are called to and equipped for both life and godliness.
The perfect balance of life and godliness.
The finished work of the cross is perfectly perfect and completely complete. It is perfectly balanced and meets every single need of every moment in the lives of every person. The provision of Calvary is for life and godliness, the two things that God desires and purposes for each one of His children. The deception we all struggle with is that because salvation is spiritual, it’s limited to saving us spiritually. In other words, it leaves the ‘natural’ out of the equation and only has to do with getting us into heaven. While God’s first priority is eternal life in Him for those who turn to Christ, it’s equally important that both life and godliness manifest in our lives. If it’s only about getting us ‘saved,’ how would His glory and power manifest in and through us? How would this reveal Him to the world as He really is?
God will never be fully revealed through a people who are the ‘frozen chosen’ – spiritually saved and headed for heaven. This impacts us alone, whereas He desires to impact the world. If we’re set apart in a little holy huddle that has no relevance to the world, He would be defeating His own purposes. We are created and called to manifest His glory and power, and that can only happen when life and godliness are released in us through the ongoing work of His Spirit. While He is spirit and supernatural, His will is that this impacts the natural and is outworked in a practical, visible way. That is why salvation is perfectly balanced to meet every human need, both natural and supernatural, through His intervention. It is how God reveals His all to a world that needs His all.
Life and godliness and a reflection of a false god.
If we persist in settling for second best or a lopsided version of salvation, we deny the I AM. In effect, we reveal a false god – one without the glory, power, will, or desire to interact with mankind and save them perfectly and completely. What we’re saying is that that the work of the cross is incomplete, that Jesus has not defeated the devil or destroyed his works. We imply that God can’t or won’t intervene. The message is that His love isn’t enough. The manifestation of life and godliness is living testimony to the vast, immeasurable, limitless God, creator and sustainer of all. It is the proof that God Himself has brought His supernatural glory, power, and presence into the natural and is both willing and able to transform us beyond our imaginings. Yet the enemy has deceived us into providing a limited revelation of a limitless God.
The moment we throw a ‘but’ into the same sentence with God, we’re presenting a false god. It’s a harsh truth and one we perhaps don’t want to accept because it challenges the level of our faith. But this is the real question. Which God do we believe? Which God do we really serve? Is it the God with whom nothing is impossible or the one we’re comfortable with because it makes us feel better about our limitations and weaknesses? We spend our lives striving for life and godliness – one or the other, or a little of both – and comfort ourselves that it’s not His will when we achieve neither. While Christian growth and maturity is a process and does take time, these things are available to us now. Whether we receive and walk in them is our choice. It depends on which God we choose to serve.
What is life and godliness?
Life can be defined as the full measure of resurrection life received in Christ. It is supernatural, not limited or restricted by natural laws and expectations. Our life in Him is defined by the impossible. It’s demonstrated by the supernatural intervention of God for healing, deliverance, protection, and provision. We are set aside by the manifest glory of God and His power working in and through our lives. Life in salvation is covered by the broken body of Jesus. That is the price He paid to purchase perfect resurrection life for us. If we do not live in that life, we effectively make what He paid worthless. We make it a pointless exercise. The Son of God would never have gone through that suffering and agony if He did not intend that it be victorious and that we live in the fullness of it.
But it must be life and godliness. The two cannot be separated in Christ. We are called to manifest Jesus and all He has done, because this reveals the entirety of who and what God is. He is the perfect reflection of the Father. Our lives must manifest the godliness that defines Jesus, the perfect man unable to sin. We live to be slowly transformed into His likeness. This is our testimony to the holiness of God and His ability to transform that which is not holy. It manifests His gracious forgiveness and willingness to remove our sin and remake us in His image. Power without godliness is unbalanced. It caters to the ways of the world. When God works both His life and godliness in us, others will take note. No one, when they see God, can remain unmoved. The godliness confirms that the life is of God.
Glory and virtue bring forth life and godliness.
Our verse brings in the critical truth of our calling. It’s through Christ, in glory and virtue. This combination is the perfect reflection of who He is. He embodies both the glory and holiness of God. His glory calls forth life and His virtue calls forth godliness. If we truly follow the real Jesus, we must demonstrate both of these. Christ’s ministry was one of life and godliness. He operated in the glory and power of God to reach people on a real, life-impacting level. His works were practical, grass-roots works that made a visible difference. At the same time, all His works flowed out of His godliness. Everything He did was focused on spiritual truth. At no point did He ever separate His works from the Word of God and the call to repentance and surrender. He presented the perfect, balanced provision of salvation.
The impact of life and godliness revealed in the life of Jesus lies in the fact that they operated in equal measure. They co-existed as God intends they do. To focus on the godliness alone excludes the power and glory – the full resurrection life Jesus brings. Pursuing the life without godliness excludes the true nature of God, making it self-works rather than God’s purposes. Both life and godliness require a desire to live as Jesus did, wholly surrendered. We are called equally by His glory and His virtue into a supernatural relationship that manifests the only true God in the fullness of all that He is. To desire one must mean to desire the other. If we don’t, we will live forever incomplete, partly there but not quite, always looking for the ‘something more’ we know is ours but which we have lost sight of.
God has provided for life and godliness.
It’s time that believers the world over reject the lies of the devil. Today, let’s take hold of the full measure of salvation. We simply can no longer stop at either life or godliness but must seek both. More importantly, we must move beyond the acceptance that these are required and into the absolute truth that God has made both possible. Both life and godliness are provided for through the cross. Faith takes hold of the fact that we are never called to do something that He doesn’t equip us for in full. We are both called to and equipped for life and godliness through the glory and virtue of Jesus . Any doubt of this is dispelled if we look at the cross. All Jesus endured both reveals what is needed and provides the means to make it happen.
This is what Christ meant with it is finished. He only gave up His life when He knew unequivocally that everything we needed to do and the means to do it were purchased, secured, and available. This is what it means when we say salvation is perfectly perfect and completely complete. The very fact that Christ came to earth and endured the cross is our assurance that He has made both life and godliness available and possible. We don’t need to rely on ourselves. Our limitations, weaknesses, frailties, and sinfulness is irrelevant. All we need is to be in Christ and allow His Spirit to work in us. To do this, we need to step out of our deceptive comfort zones and choose to serve the I AM as He is. We need to expand our thinking to take hold of the real God, not our diluted version.
Life and godliness is our personal choice.
As always, we have free will. We can choose to serve the I AM in all His immeasurable holiness, power, and glory. Or we can limit ourselves to what we’re comfortable with. But as we meditate on this, let’s consider the attitude of Jesus. He gave His all so we could receive the all of God. Are we willing to live in only half of what He paid such a terrible price for? Can we continue to diminish God and present a false revelation to the world? Will we continue to hunger and thirst for what is freely available because we don’t have the courage to put off the deception and choose the perfect balance of life and godliness that God has provided and provided for?
As I write this there is a lament deep in my spirit for the people of God. I see Jesus weeping on the hill above Jerusalem. He knew that despite His love and sacrifice, many would refuse to be gathered in. Let us not be counted among those who turn from the fullness of God.
Lord, forgive us for diminishing You and presenting a partial picture to the world. Help us to reach out for the life and godliness You have purchased for us. Help us to rejoice in what You have given and accomplished. Grant us grace to surrender and live the full I AM as evidence to the world of Your perfect power, holiness, glory, and love.