Living Godly in a Godless Society, Part 1

We live in a godless society. That is not to say that God is not present with His people or that God is not aware of what is happening in our culture; we know that He is (1 Pet. 3:12; Heb. 4:13). Instead, we call our society “godless” because of the moral decisions it makes. Let’s briefly illustrate.

On June 26, 2013, the United States Supreme Court found the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to be unconstitutional. In the majority opinion, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Court found that it is unconstitutional for the federal government to refuse to recognize a “same-sex marriage” that is legal on the state level. The majority argued that DOMA was passed in 1996 (unanimously by the House and by President Clinton, by the way) out of hatred and hostility toward the homosexual community in an effort to ostracize them from society. DOMA defined marriage as between one man and one woman. With DOMA’s demise, the cultural acceptance of the sin of homosexuality (Rom. 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-11) gains further support in America, while the Christian’s worldview becomes less and less popular. So, what do you think? Is it fair to describe our society as “godless?” I think the answer is an unavoidable and emphatic “YES!”

Ours is not the first “godless” society. Think of the many pharaohs, kings, and other rulers who failed to bow before the Great I AM in the Old Testament. Coming into the New Testament, we realize that, even when Immanuel (God with us) ministered on earth, the majority response to His teachings was nothing more than godlessness. Was it not that godlessness that put Jesus on the cross? And what about when the elders bribed the guards of Jesus’ tomb to cover up the truth, that the Lord had risen from death (Mat. 28:11-15)? Think about the Roman Empire, and the godless society that permeated early Christianity as a result of its wicked rule. Don’t feel hopeless or helpless as you consider the godlessness that permeates our culture. Instead, understand that Christians are, by design, counter-cultural. We are called to shine as lights in our dark world (Phil. 2:15; cf. John 3:19-21).

What is godly living? Those two words – godly living – sum up all of the New Testament’s instructions for the Christian’s life. Clearly, it’s much easier to sum it up in words than to practice in life. I think Paul offers some insight into what it means to live in a godly way. He writes,

[box type=”shadow” align=”aligncenter” ]For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age (Titus 2:11-12).[/box]

So, godly living has to do with adding some things (sobriety, righteousness, godliness) and removing other things (ungodliness and worldly lusts). Godly living is not a once a week notion, but a lifestyle that God expects of His people (Rom. 12:1-2). Note two important points about the godly way of life.

First, this is a lifestyle that will determine your destiny. The heavenly reward is promised to those who give their entire lives to Jesus (Luke 9:23; cf. Gal. 2:20). These are people who do not “love their lives to the death” (Rev. 12:11; 2:10; cf. Mat. 16:25). They fight the good fight, remain steady on the course, and finish the Christian race (2 Tim. 4:6-8). Do you want to go to heaven? Then that godly lifestyle is a must.

Second, this is a lifestyle that will make a difference. Some people wonder whether our society is too far gone. Would it do any good to try to counter our culture with Christianity? Absolutely! That is our culture’s only hope! This was the answer even in Isaiah’s day.

[box type=”shadow” align=”aligncenter” ]Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow (Isa. 1:16-17).[/box]

Being made clean from our sin-stained souls, ceasing to do evil, and learning to do good weren’t just the answers for Isaiah’s hearers, they are the key ingredients to turn our society around, too!

NOTE: In a special post coming tomorrow (Lord willing), I have four imperatives that we must remember as we seek to live godly lives.

[box type=”info” align=”aligncenter” ]Parts 1 and 2 of this article were originally published in the Ichthys magazine, which is available from my friends over at The Ministry Source. Check out their website to read this month’s issue of Ichthys and to find more information and resources.[/box]