Godly Character - Godly Conduct
Elder Wm. Doyal Thomas
Pastor - Philadelphia Baptist Church
Decatur , Alabama
    "Hear me when I call, 0 God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer. O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? How long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah. But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him. Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah. Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD. There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased. I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety." ( Psalm 4 )
    Oh, how grand is this Psalm! What a great comfort it is to read that God sets apart His people, and works in them the traits of godly character that they then exhibit in their conduct as His children. How we should meditate upon every precious word of the Bible so as to be nurtured, strengthened, and comforted by its declarations. How we should rejoice and be glad as we learn that He has purposed our complete salvation, and is constantly working His will so as to conform us to the image of His dear Son and our only Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is working in us, both to will and to do of His good pleasure.
    As we begin to speak on the announced subject of Godly Character - Godly Conduct, please look to verse 3 of this Psalm, and read again: "But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him."

    The LORD has surely set apart, for Himself, him that is godly. The LORD has a people, each of whom He has chosen to be His people, and to be made godly, and enabled to walk in a godly manner before Him. There are many texts of Scripture that teach the Lord's people that He requires of them that they then live godly lives before Him, and before men as well. And remember the walk is demonstrative of the life. The conduct is a direct reflection of the character. Man does what man is. So, it appears to me that professed believers in Christ should concentrate on being the person one ought to be, and the doing of what one ought to do will be the inevitable outcome. Praise God, he is working in us to will AND to do of His good pleasure.
    Let's look at two texts relative to this matter:
    "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee." (Titus 2:11-15)
    "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found in him in peace, without spot, and blameless." ( II Pet. 3:10-14 )
    Clearly and distinctly, the Bible lays before us the mind of God, as concerns His will for His people. This is an indisputable fact, and this consistent teaching has been directed to men of previous times the same as in these present times. The Lord has been pleased to speak His mind through His Word, and to reveal Himself by His Spirit to His people so that they may know and be instructed in His ways and in His will.
    What is the will of God for His people? Listen as He speaks: "Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we have also forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit." ( I Thes. 4:1-8 )
    What is the will of God for His people?
    "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, . . "(verse 3). Note also: "For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness." (verse 7). And this also: "He therefore that despiseth (holds in contempt, or belittles) despiseth not man, but God, who also hath given unto us his holy spirit." (verse 8).
    When we read these texts, we are all utterly without excuse, and none of us can in any wise plead ignorance. God has stated His will, and God's will, when stated, becomes an evident and unmistakable command. Thus we see, man is commanded to live a godly life in this present age. And this command does not become one of obligation off out there somewhere in the future, but it is obligatory NOW, at this present time!
    This clearly and distinctly stated will of God for His people, which is also His command, becomes the death knell to the heretical teaching of past day and present day antinomians, by whatever stripe they seek to identify themselves. And antinomians are numerous, among all religious groups perhaps, but especially among those who proclaim that they believe that salvation is of grace.
    Professing Baptists - yea, even professing sovereign grace Baptists are hereby censured and rebuked for their antinomian stand, and for their heretical teaching. "No sin but a doctrinal sin?" What a rank heresy this is! And to seek to spiritualize away the moral sins of professing believers, even when depravity is being pleaded in an attempt to justify men in their evil walk is not allowed by the teaching of the Scriptures.
    God demands of His people that they conduct themselves in a godly and God honoring manner. Nothing short of true godliness can display the holiness of God in men, and since He has given unto us His Holy Spirit, we possess Him, even now. And "even now" is prior to the final and ultimate glorification to which each and every one of God's dear children will be brought in the coming day.
    There are, and will continue to be some obstacles in the path of every child of God however, in his or her walk, conversation, or manner of life. God's arch-enemy, Satan himself, through his agents, lays many minefields of danger in the path of every Christian. We must expect this opposition, for God has clearly warned us: "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." ( II Tim. 3:12 )
    But, praise God, He has also given His people full assurance, even in the face of Satan's opposition, and man's natural weakness. Listen as God speaks: "The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgement to be punished." ( II Pet. 2:9 ) "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able, but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry." ( I Cor. 10:13,14 )
    And listen to this assurance of the ultimate and final victory; "Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world." ( I John 4:4 )
    And what about Psalm 32:1-11 ?  Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. [2] Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. [3] When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. [4] For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah. [5] I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah. [6] For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him. [7] Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah. [8] I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. [9] Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee. [10] Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about. [11] Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart. Please take note of verse 6. "For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him." Every one that is godly shall pray in this manner and with this attitude, knowing that, "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered." (verse 1) And this is the assurance we have that "God is nigh."
    Everyone that is godly shall pray, "Thy will be done, in all things." The godly shall not pray, "If it be thy will," as if we do not know what God's stated will is, or, as if we doubt that God is willing and able to see that His stated will is carried out to His satisfaction. When godly souls pray, they should acknowledge that God is truly God, and that He is in the business of conforming each of His children to the image of His dear Son. And He does this thusly: "For it is God which worketh in you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure." ( Phil. 2:13 ) And, "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." ( Phil. 1:6 )
    Now, how shall the godly walk so as to reflect in that walk the character which God has worked in them? How shall men who are godly walk? How shall godly women walk? How shall the children be taught, encouraged, and required to walk as the parents acknowledge the responsibility that God has laid on them to lead them: "And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." ( Eph. 6:4 )

    How should godly men walk? What should be their manner of life, or their conversation as they live out their allotted span of time on this earth, before God and men, reflecting the character that their having been made a new creation in Christ has placed in them, thus enabling them to respond to this new nature that they now possess, by grace? Remember now: "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away: behold, all things are become new." ( II Cor. 5:17 )
    To begin with, godly men walk in obedience to God. The walk may be somewhat halting, uncertain, and feeble, yet, it will show forth some degree of obedience to the teaching of God's Word. There will be some evidence of a new relationship with God which was not there previous to the marvelous act that God performed, which He identifies as regeneration. The fruit may be scant, but there will be some fruit. When there is NO fruit, there is NO LIFE!
    Godly men will walk so as to acknowledge by the walk, and as evidence presented by the walk, that they have been born from above. Thus, they will begin to exhibit a submissive life and attitude that declares a desire to become even more submissive, more fruitful, and more obedient. This submission will show forth the willingness to walk in the manner that will honor His Headship and direction for the order and decency of men as they bring glory to God. "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God." ( I Cor. 11:3 )
    Whatever God commands man to do, man is to obey. And, he is to teach his household, including his wife, his children, his employees, and all that are under his God assigned authority to obey God in everything that He has commanded. He is commissioned as the head of his household and of his business enterprises, and is fully and unmistakenly accountable to God for the conduct of himself and all that are under his Bible declared, God ordered, and Holy Spirit sanctioned headship.
    Godly man is responsible, before God, to leave his father and his mother (Not forsake them) and establish a new family structure according to God's ordained order, and to then lead this new family to obey and honor God. "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." (Gen. 2:24)
    Surely, all who will read this command and for a moment meditate on what is here said, and examine the context in which it is said, will come to some wonderful and amazing truth. Here, God is laying down for Adam, and for all men, for all time, a precept of order that has come directly from God without intermediate input or influence. And precept never is set aside, nor is it changed. It is fixed in God's order.
    No modern or ancient interpretation is needed, nor is any allowed. No modification to God's divinely mandated principle is to be considered, encouraged, or permitted. This is a clearly stated, "Thus saith the Lord," and any attempt to alter or lay aside this stated precept, which is also a command, is not obedience to God. Rather, it is open rebellion against Him, and against His divine order.
    Now, brethren, and all who shall read these words, know something for sure. God did not speak these words in Genesis 2:24 to instruct Adam and Eve ONLY in this matter. You see, Adam and Eve were created directly by God and did not appear on this earth as the product of their progenitors. Therefore, they, having no earthly parents could not leave non-existent parents and establish a new family structure. They were a family, duly constituted by God Himself when He wedded them in heaven sanctioned union so that they became one again. These did not come by natural generation from their predecessors, for they had no predecessors.
    What is the meaning here? Clearly, God is declaring His eternal and infinitely wise counsel in laying before all men and women who would follow Adam and Eve this infallible, underived, and unchanging order of things as pertained to the first human institution that He established on earth, that is, the family.
    The precept has not changed, nor will it change in the affairs of human kind in this age, or throughout marked out time, to include the Tribulation span, and the 1,000 years Millennial reign of Christ upon this earth. God does not change, nor does He alter that which has gone out of His mouth. The precept of family and God ordained headship has not been rescinded, in spite of all the attempts of Satan, through his many and various implements, i.e. modernism, humanism, feminism, etc. to set aside God's order. ERA movements, and all other such "equalization" movements are of the Devil, and their work is hurtful - but, it is not final. God rules!
    How does godly man walk? Godly man walks so as to require, by moral leadership and Bible order, the acknowledgment of the headship duty and privilege over the family which God has given him. He conducts himself honorably in all matters, before God and men. He loves his family and he leads them. He provides for the needs of his family, including, but not limited to their needs for food, shelter, clothing, safety, and protection, and all other human needs He DOES NOT neglect the greater needs, that is, those needs that relate to spiritual matters, and of the necessity that God lays upon all His creatures to honor Him, and to serve Him in accordance with His specifications as to what constitutes acceptable service, adoration, worship, and praise. The family must be taught and led into the submissive conduct that pleases God, as declared in His Word.
    Godly man is responsible before God to lead his family in the worship and praise of God, and of their service to Him only. The man, who is the head of the family, is the principal teacher in all matters, and the principal disciplinarian. He is the principal leader in daily Bible reading, meditation, and devotion. He is, therefore, the principal leader in the private worship that the family engages in, at all times. He is the principal leader in the public worship also, which is in reality, just an extension of the private worship. (Is it any wonder that so much public worship is cold, empty, formal, or perhaps nonexistent?) Man is the principal leader in service to God and in the returning the tithe and also the offerings and gifts to God and to His cause. God's work goes on, and godly man is used of God to further that work, and to teach others also in this matter.
    Godly man is responsible, before God to obey civil magistrates whom God has appointed over him, and to teach his family and household to do likewise. He is to seek, by all scriptural and lawful means to live peaceably with all men, and to be above reproach in his civil life and conduct.
    Godly man is responsible, before God to lead his family in citizenship in the home, seeing as how God has arranged the government of that home. Likewise, in the Lord's church there is an order of polity that God has set in place that produces honor toward God and good for His church and for his people. In the community and in the nation, God has commanded that His people are to be law abiding, decent, honorable, and above reproach. May God enable all men to walk godly.
    How should godly women walk? What should be the manner of their lives and of their conversation?
    Godly woman is to be obedient to God in acknowledging Him as God, and in complete submission to His Headship over the family THROUGH the man. Thus, godly woman will be, and will always desire to be in submission to the man, the head of the family. It is in this state that she will find completeness in her God given assignment. No other order, or rather, "disorder" will honor God and produce results that are joyous for all to behold and to be a part of.
    Godly woman is responsible, before God, to leave her previous family connection (not forsake) and become one with her husband in forming and fostering a new godly home, and a new godly family. Then, this godly woman is responsible to become the "keeper at home", of all those godly duties and privileges that become hers. She is to teach, by word and by example godly principles to her children, under her husband's authority, as an extension of that authority. In order to properly teach, she must submit herself to those principles and precepts.
    Godly woman is to be the applier and the enforcer of daily disciplinary demands, in order to train herself (self-discipline) and her children to walk obediently. She is to be chaste, gentle, loving, kind, firm, determined and consistently able to present herself in this most awesome, yet rewarding role.
    Godly woman is to honor God in all things, and to demonstrate by her life a due respect for the position that the only wise God has been pleased to assign her to occupy. It is the most wonderful position that a godly woman can ever properly occupy, and the godly woman who has found that place is happy indeed, and those, generally who are unhappy and depressed have either failed to find that place, or are in rebellion against God. Godly woman is to never seek to remove herself from her assigned position, nor is she to be rebellious in that position. To rebel against the position is to rebel against the only wise God who has assigned the position.
    Godly woman is to teach her children their position as being one of obedience and submission to parents, thus obeying God's command for them. It is her duty and privilege to teach, nurture, guide, love, and shield her children each and every day that God allows them to be under her care and tutelage. They are a blessing from God for the parents and for the home, and the godly woman who recognizes it to be so is indeed a happy and contended woman, wife, and mother.
    Children must be taught, and they must be required to submit to their duties and privileges. They must be trained, or disciplined to fulfill those duties so as to enjoy the privileges.
    Children are to obey their parents, and to honor them by their obedience. In so doing, the children will receive many benefits as God's providential care over all His works produce for these children these benefits and blessings. And God's Word teaches that this required obedience will insure that the children will enjoy long and happy days on the earth.
    Children must be encouraged by the testimony of parents and others to give ear to the Word of God, and to seek to learn of Him who is Creator, Sustainer, and Saviour. The children are not to be coerced nor forced to a particular belief, but rather are to be encouraged and guided toward truth and its glorious results.
    Without doubt, these present evil days in which we live lend themselves to presenting before all, especially the young, so many, and so different seeming options for living. Our children, therefore, are being bombarded with lies, deceptions, and false teachings, and it becomes so vital that they be reared in a disciplined, controlled, truthful home. They can not properly defend themselves against all, or any of the error that they are constantly being subjected to in every area of human life and enterprise.
    The family, and the home, therefore are the only safe haven in which children can be protected, nurtured, guided, and taught the things that will enable them to grow into the kinds of adults that they must be in order for them in turn to teach their children also. We must shield them against the onslaughts of Satan and his allies, and we must teach them the truth about all things. Only truth can withstand error, and only the God established family can, when the family itself is properly functioning, provide for the little ones that which they must have so that they can grow into God honoring and Bible believing adults. Brethren, pray for our families, that they come back to God's ways and see their duty, and commit themselves to being the persons that they should be before God, and before man.
    And now, our Father, we pray that your will be done in the lives of all your people so that we who are yours, by grace, through the shed blood of Thy Son and Saviour may become the godly men, women, and children that will bring honor, and glory, and praise to your matchless Name, Person, and work. May we truly become such disciples as becometh saints of the Most High God. May we be godly in all our thoughts, acts, attitudes, and testimonies. Amen.

(The Baptist Herald)

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