2 Timothy 3:5a having a form of godliness but denying its power.
Consider these questions: 1) Is the Church a victim of the degenerating culture that surrounds it? Or 2) Is it the other way around – is the surrounding culture reflective of the Church having a form of godliness but denying its power? Jesus taught that we are the salt and light of the world. Salt and light prevent decay and darkness.
The context of today’s verse is Paul’s warning to Timothy of the godlessness of the last days. Some of that godlessness is inevitable but to what extent is it reflective of ‘unsalty’ Christians – or Christians who too often turn off their ‘light’? A major issue we have to deal with is selective obedience (or selective disobedience). This results in having a form of godliness but denying its power.
The power of the gospel of Jesus Christ is beyond anything we can imagine. But how we choose to respond to His gospel is critical. Let’s look at the older brother in the well known parable in Luke 15 of the lost son. Upon the younger brother’s return and seeing the response of his father:
28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ 31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”
The older son has been ‘obedient’ for years, everything the father has is his and he has always been with his father but his negative response could not be more different from that of his father. Who are his bitterness and accusations focused upon? He’s more upset at his father than he is with his brother. Over the years, outwardly everything might have looked fine, but inwardly the older brother was so far from where he should or could be. The brother’s return and his father’s response revealed the reality of where he was.
The point of this is that the same thing can happen to us. We can look good on the outside – having a form of godliness; but inwardly we can miss so much because we selectively respond to Gods’ word – resulting in a denial of its power. Unfortunately we can be blind to this reality occurring in our lives.