Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Mystery of Godliness

Today there's all this mystery in the earthly realm, the greatest of which is: what church will the Obama's attend?

The most church-going presidents in the recent years were President Carter and President Clinton -- surprisingly liberal types. President Bush rarely went to church yet he was called "God's Man in the White House." Not that church-going makes a person holy but well, it's interesting.

So here I am sitting pondering: Obama grew up with the AFrican-American style of worship so the media pundits are convinced that's the type of church he'll take.

Then there is the mystery of little Sandra Cantu who was murdered (allegedly) by a white female Sunday school teacher. Wasn't the BTK serial killer a church elder/deacon? Not sure why this lady killed 8-year-old Sandra. Anger? Accident? Who knows. But it makes us wonder about holiness and those who profess to be holy.

Weirdly, I have found many Christians to be not particularly godly. They often are more legalistic than loving. When minister preach on Bible characters, they often speak as if they are judging the characters by law and not by grace. This scapegoat character is bad; this sacred cow character is good. Often they preach from omission and make up whole sins for some character the Bible doesn't tell much about. For instance, many preachers are unaware that Moses wife, Zipporah is called one of the great circumcisers of Israel (a descendant of Midian, Abram's son, she returned Circumcision to Israel via Moses) and many Christian preachers seem to think that her phrase to Moses (You are a husband of blood to me) was her picking on Moses. They don't realize she's saying there's a blood covenant between her and Moses. So they go on and on making up some sexual innuendo and impugning Zipporah for some supposedly "mean comment she said about Moses."

It's the way, I suppose for these ministers to reason from ignorance and impute sins to Bible folks they know nothing about. It's human behavior. Unredeemed human behavior. We want to understand godliness -- even if it's as small as knowing why a sunday school teacher would murder, or why and where a president goes to church.

But Paul tells us what godliness is. God's godliness. I have never heard a sermon on this verse, I think.

1 Timothy 3:16:

International Standard Version (©2008)
By common confession, the secret of our godly worship is great: In flesh was he revealed to sight, kept righteous by the Spirit's might, adored by angels singing. To nations was he manifest, believing souls found peace and rest, our Lord in heaven reigning!

New American Standard Bible (©1995)
By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory.

GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)
The mystery that gives us our reverence for God is acknowledged to be great: He appeared in his human nature, was approved by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was announced throughout the nations, was believed in the world, and was taken to heaven in glory.

King James Bible
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

American King James Version
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached to the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

American Standard Version
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness; He who was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the spirit, Seen of angels, Preached among the nations, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.

Bible in Basic English
And without argument, great is the secret of religion: He who was seen in the flesh, who was given God's approval in the spirit, was seen by the angels, of whom the good news was given among the nations, in whom the world had faith, who was taken up in glory.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And evidently great is the mystery of godliness, which was manifested in the flesh, was justified in the spirit, appeared unto angels, hath been preached unto the Gentiles, is believed in the world, is taken up in glory.

Darby Bible Translation
And confessedly the mystery of piety is great. God has been manifested in flesh, has been justified in the Spirit, has appeared to angels, has been preached among the nations, has been believed on in the world, has been received up in glory.

English Revised Version
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness; He who was manifested in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen of angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, received up in glory.

Webster's Bible Translation
And without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached to the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

Weymouth New Testament
And, beyond controversy, great is the mystery of our religion-- that Christ appeared in human form, and His claims justified by the Spirit, was seen by angels and proclaimed among Gentile nations, was believed on in the world, and received up again into glory.

World English Bible
Without controversy, the mystery of godliness is great: God was revealed in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen by angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, and received up in glory.

Young's Literal Translation
and, confessedly, great is the secret of piety -- God was manifested in flesh, declared righteous in spirit, seen by messengers, preached among nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory!

It is God's holiness that matters! Not ours! His holiness is what makes us holy. Let's ponder the One who is Holy, holy, holy. Let's look at the one who looks at the heart and not on the appearance

Hallelujah Christ is risen!
Christ is risen, indeed!
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