Train Yourself in Godliness

KEY VERSE: “Exercise thyself rather unto godliness. … For godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” —I Timothy 4:7,8

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: I Timothy, Chapter 4

IN ORDER TO claim the promises of God for our very own, we must manifest an active faith in them, and conform our lives to godly principles, in order that our worthiness of the promises might be manifested. As our key text reminds us, the fulfillment of many of God’s promises belongs in the present life, while others apply to our future inheritance beyond the vail. So when the apostle spoke of godliness being profitable to the inheriting of the promises, he no doubt had in mind both our present and our future inheritance.

Have the promises themselves really become ours? Or do we merely read them in an impersonal manner as though they do not actually apply to us? It is important to claim the promises, because it is not until we are able to see in them a personal assurance of his blessing, that they become truly effective in molding our lives into his likeness, and thus prepare us to become partakers of the divine nature.

In II Corinthians 7:1 Paul wrote that if we have “these promises” we should cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit.” John gives a similar thought: those who “have this hope”—based upon the promises of God—purify themselves. (I John 3:3) We might reverse this thought and say that the evidence of the possession of the promises, of having truly inherited them, will be a purification of character.

We know that by nature we are sinners, children of wrath even as others. Every day we are in close contact with our imperfections. The Devil also knows our weaknesses, and uses them to discourage us, hoping that we will give up running for the prize of the High Calling. But if our confidence in the promises remains firm we will not fear, for our God has said: “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.”—Isa. 54:17

It is by these many promises of God that we are made partakers of the divine nature—by their encouragement, by their authority, by our own faithfulness to all the conditions attached to them, and by their inspirational power in our lives. As we press on, we continually need the strength which claiming these promises gives us. There is no possible circumstance in our Christian experience in which God has not promised to be with us, and to supply our need.

But if, by virtue of the promises of God, we are to attain the divine nature, it will be necessary to give “all diligence.” It will not do to be half-hearted or part-time runners for the prize. We will not be able to divide our interests between the things of God and the things of the world; nor between the interests of the New Creature and the interests of the flesh. Paul wrote, “This one thing I do.” (Phil. 3:13) This is the only approach to the Christian life which will result in victory, the only attitude of heart in which to be, if the Lord is to make good his promises to us. We cannot afford to be too much concerned about even our temporal necessities. The Lord knows what these are, and has promised: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”—Matt. 6:33

What a blessed lot is ours! Truly the Lord has given us “good doctrine” (Prov. 4:2), so let us yield ourselves to its transforming influence and thus be made ready for that “abundant entrance” into the kingdom, where we shall be “like him,” and “see him as he is.”—I John 3:3

Dawn Bible Students Association
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