Thursday, March 26, 2015

Godliness First, then Gain

There is no Prosperity Gospel, but there is prosperity through the Gospel.

"Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth." (3 John 2)

This verse could not make it clearer: our prosperity on the outside is directly related to our prosperity on the inside.

Yet still many Christians will quote this verse, arguing that financial well-being in this life should not be a concern for us:

"6But godliness with contentment is great gain." (1 Timothy 6: 6)

"Godliness is our contentment, then!" many will charge, and that we should accustom ourselves to barely getting by.

The verse prior to this one gives more context:

"Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. (1 Timothy 6: 5)

There are people who believe that they are godly because they own a lot of things, or because they have lots of money.

That is not the case.

We are justified because of Jesus and His blood (Acts 13 :38-39), and we are blessed with all spiritual blessings because of Jesus, not because of anything that we do, or what we have:

"3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved." (Ephesians 1: 3-6)

We are not blessed because of what we have. We are blessed because of Him who has us:

"28And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand." (John 10: 28-29)

Godliness is part of the gift of God's grace in our lives, too:

"11For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; " (Titus 2: 11-12)

As for being taken care of, Paul later writes to Timothy:

17Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; 18That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; 19Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life." (1 Timothy 6: 17-19)

God our Fathers gives us all things (not some things) richly to enjoy.

We receive all things freely though Jesus (Romans 8: 31-32), but not of ourselves, nor for ourselves at the expense of everyone else.

Godliness comes first in our lives, through the Grace of God in Christ Jesus. Then as we grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord, we find ourselves prospering in every other domain of our lives, aware that He is supplying all our needs according to His riches (Philippians 4: 19).


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