A form of godliness (show of religion, piety, holiness, outward righteousness)

Jesus warned against hypocritical groups who try to have godliness through their own rules and regulations above the commandments of God and setting their own rulers above the Holy Spirit in the lives of their congregation…

Jesus told them, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites in Scripture: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me is pointless, because their teachings are rules made by humans.’
“You abandon the commandments of God to follow human traditions.”
He added, “You have no trouble rejecting the commandments of God in order to keep your own traditions! For example, Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’ and ‘Whoever curses father or mother must be put to death.’ But you say, ‘If a person tells his father or mother that whatever he might have used to help them is [corban] (that is, an offering to God), he no longer has to do anything for his father or mother.’ Because of your traditions you have destroyed the authority of God’s word. And you do many other things like that.” (Mark 7:6-13)

Straightforward warnings to Christians living in the last days

You must understand this: In the last days there will be violent periods of time. People will be selfish and love money. They will brag, be arrogant, and use abusive language. They will curse their parents, show no gratitude, have no respect for what is holy, and lack normal affection for their families. They will refuse to make peace with anyone. They will be slanderous, lack self-control, be brutal, and have no love for what is good. They will be traitors. They will be reckless and conceited. They will love pleasure rather than God. They will appear to have a godly life, but they will not let its power change them. Stay away from such people. (2 Timothy 3:1-5 GWT)

They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that! (2 Timothy 3:5 NLT)

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. (2 Timothy 3:5 KJV)

Consider what John Gill, wrote almost 300 years ago

Having a form of godliness,…. Either a mere external show of religion, pretending great piety and holiness, being outwardly righteous before men, having the mask and visor of godliness; or else a plan of doctrine, a form of sound words, a scheme of truths, which men may have without partaking of the grace of God; and which, with respect to the doctrine of the Trinity, the church of Rome has; or else the Scriptures of truth, which the members of that church have, and profess to hold to, maintain and preserve; and which contains doctrines according to godliness, and tend to a godly life and godly edification:

but denying the power thereof; though in words they profess religion and godliness, the fear of God, and the pure worship of him, yet in works they deny all; and though they may have a set of notions in their heads, yet they feel nothing of the power of them on their hearts; and are strangers to experimental religion, and powerful godliness: or though they profess the Scriptures to be the word of God, yet they deny the use, the power, and efficacy of them; they deny the use of them to the laity, and affirm that they are not a sufficient rule of faith and practice, without their unwritten traditions; and that they are not able to make men wise, or give them a true knowledge of what is to be believed and done, without them; and that the sense of them is not to be understood by private men, but depends upon the infallible judgment of the church or pope:

from such turn away; have no fellowship with them, depart from their communion, withdraw from them, and come out from among them: this passage sufficiently justifies the reformed churches in their separation from the church of Rome.Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible

These groups will not end well

There are many groups like this today. Be careful who you follow. The Apostle Paul concluded, they are not going to end well. Don’t get trapped in them…

Some of these men go into homes and mislead weak-minded women who are burdened with sins and led by all kinds of desires. These women are always studying but are never able to recognize the truth. As Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men oppose the truth. Their minds are corrupt, and the faith they teach is counterfeit. Certainly, they won’t get very far. Like the stupidity of Jannes and Jambres, their stupidity will be plain to everyone. (2 Timothy 3:6-9)

But they won’t get away with this for long. Someday everyone will recognize what fools they are, just as with Jannes and Jambres. (2 Timothy 3:9)

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2 Replies to “A form of godliness (show of religion, piety, holiness, outward righteousness)”

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