“A FORM of Godliness…”

1This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5HAVING A FORM OF GODLINESS but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. II Timothy 3:1-5 KJV).

In today’s blog, I am digging deep into doctrinal Bible truths and foundations. I hope it will be a source of encouragement to you as we see the predictions of the Last Days of the church age rapidly coming upon us.

Have you ever considered how subjective the term “FORM” really is?  In the book of Genesis, chapter one, verses one and two, we read, “IN the beginning GOD created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without FORM, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep….”  In the first two verses, God had not “formed,” as of yet, the visible shapes, sizes, lines, and boundaries…Earth exists but without a definitive form!

As we continue to read from Genesis, we find that God moves upon the face of the deep to bring forth waters…He begins to set boundaries, concrete shapes, and limitations…Earth begins to take on “form.”  The physical existence WITHIN Earth now has visible shapes, size, and boundaries.  It is no longer subjective; without earthly FORM…There is now “objective,” tangible, concrete appearances of lines and shapes on planet Earth; definitive and well-defined.

But, notice that the Earth itself HANGS in mid-air… There are no visible lines or shapes of a foundation holding up our planet…By Faith, we believe the foundational truth that earth is divinely designated in a twenty-four hour “free-spin” traveling through the heavenlies circling the sun at a divinely designated speed….without a single string or attachment holding us in place….We float in a vast galaxy that we cannot SEE its boundaries.  (With modern-day technology we continue to learn how truly vast our universe really is.)

Oh, I know…According to science and scientific laws…we are orbiting the sun through a series of well-balanced Laws of Gravity and Physics…..Question…Have you ever asked yourself WHO wrote those scientific laws… long, long before mankind?  Duh…God!!  The invisible producing the visible!!!

So, the term “form” indicates NO concrete, definitive appearance of appearanceNo, I didn’t mis-type that phrase… I am actually saying, “No definitive appearance of appearance“…In other words the five senses given to man cannot see, touch, feel, smell, or hear FORM without “it” taking on shape, size, boundaries and appearances…We cannot see or touch “sound waves,” but we know they have specific set boundaries…In truth, until concrete boundaries and tangible shapes exist, our limited human minds cannot discern what the “form” really is or might be.  There is NO visible of the invisible!

Stay with me….Now, let’s examine II Timothy, chapter three, where Paul writes that in the LAST DAYS,  men will have a FORM of godliness…Get it!!!  If it is ONLY a “FORM of godliness” then it is difficult, if not impossible, to recognize its actual existence because there are no lines, shapes, or definitive boundaries!!!

The invisible “form” remains “invisible.”  Even though “faith” is invisible…it’s works must be visible for it to be a real, working faith and not a “form” of faith…According to the book of James,  “Faith without works is dead.”  Our five senses cannot discern “faith” without seeing its evidence…We cannot see it, touch it, smell it, feel it, or hear it until the invisible “form” takes on visibility!  For Faith to be “real,” we must see the outward manifestation of faith demonstrated through our works ( or, results) of faith…not just an invisible form” of faith!

Hang on…. So, within today’s modern-day global societies we tend to interpret “godliness” in any FORM or fashion we wish or choose without placing emphasis upon concrete appearances, standards, or  sound doctrine (Biblical teachings)!!…It’s just a “subjective,” invisible FORM of godliness…In other words, nowhere can you find foundational truths or boundaries…  Remember, until “FORM” is well-defined….Anything and everything goes.

So, in the Bible we read that in the last days “godliness” takes on a “subjective” FORM left up to man’s own interpretation or to an individual or group design.  Ah…..I see!  In the Last Days, the Word of God loses its concrete interpretation to a non-concrete, subjective Form… For example. Take the literal existence of Hell (not a form of Hell…but Hell as a real place).  Many of today’s preachers do not wish to preach about or mention Hell as being a literal place of existence….They use it metaphorically speaking as a place of “non-enjoyment” or “disappointments.”  Yet; as I heard one preacher say, “People (non-believers) are still going to a real Hell, but they are now going with a smile on their face as they hold firmly to a “form” of godliness” and not God!  Scary!  God, have mercy…

Another example…Many people today do not want to be “associated” with certain doctrinal beliefs, practices, or truths.  They declare that holding on to these things is “old-fashioned,” “bias,” or “offensive.” One evidence can be found where churches have replaced their formal name, “beliefs” and “doctrines” with more of a recreational community concept…Since I am first a believer in Christ and second a practicing Baptist, I’ll use my own denomination as an example.  Many Baptist churches in my area have “dropped” the title Baptist to “attract” more people; a wider audience…They are no longer “So-and-So Baptist Church”…They are “So-and-So Community Church”…Or, simply, “The Church at So-and-So”…But, why?  My answer to that question…Because people no longer want a definitive Truth…They want a “form” of the Truth!

 True, Biblical Doctrine holds to a steadfast foundation…not a “form” of doctrine.  It should not be an ever-changing FORM of doctrine that takes on a “community” or plethora mindset…We, as a community of believers, should come together in ONE truth! Not, “a” Truth that is being divided and redesigned to “suit” individual mindsets!

One of my adult daughters recently held a conversation with an acquaintance who said, “I would never belong to a Baptist church.”  My daughter asked, “But, don’t you belong to a Baptist church now?”  The person responded, “No, I don’t..I belong to So-and-So Community Church.”  My daughter replied, “Yes, but the Pastor is a graduate of a Baptist seminary, the church follows Baptist beliefs in submersion of baptism, and the Lord’s Supper; plus all of the literature that the church uses is Baptist sponsored.”  The person responded, “That doesn’t make it Baptist. I don’t belong to a Baptist church.”   Then, walked away.  Sad…People no longer even know what they believe in…neither cold nor hot…

In the book of Revelation, Jesus plainly speaks to the last church stage, the Laodiceans  (WOW!! I just noticed something…All of the prior six stages of the church age Jesus addresses to a “singular” title such as Ephesus, Sardis, and Thyatira, but notice Laodicean has an “S” at its ending making it plural!! (Rev. 3:14 JV). Laodiceans. Mmmm…Never in the history of mankind has there ever been MORE individual designed doctrines of belief!!

Because we are a global society not wishing to be offensive to anyone…we have decided to constitute a subjective “FORM” of a church!”  But, Jesus clearly warns, “I know thy works, that thou are neither cold not hot: I would that you were cold or hot. So then because thou are LUKEWARM (back and forth, here and there; no true definitive form!), I will spue (Greek word “vomit”) you out of my mouth.”  I don’t know about you…but that sounds pretty definitive and serious to me!!

I know you don’t have to be a “Baptist” or a member of any other form of denomination to be saved…But you must believe in more than a “FORM” of salvation!  The Bible clearly teaches that there is only ONE way to God and that is through His Son, Jesus Christ (John 3:16)..Salvation is not found in a shapeless “Form” or a subjective belief.  The Bible teaches in the book of John…”And, the Word became flesh and dwelled among us…”  The invisible becoming visible!  Jesus Christ…The ONLY way!!  Jesus did not die on a “form” of a Cross…He died on an actual Cross for the sins of the world…And, he was physically resurrected….not just a “form” of resurrection…but actually resurrected!!  He Lives!!

Sadly, many people, including many churches, want to have a  “FORM”  of godliness but deny the power thereof.  Meaning that they want to do whatever they wish and believe in whatever they wish…They do no want visible boundaries or sound doctrines…Simply put… They want to, “Do what is right in their own eyes!”  (This is actually the interpretation for the last church age, The Laodiceans)  In other words…Don’t give me the “real” thing…just a “FORM” will do!

As our nation continues to dilute the truths of God’s Word to a “FORM OF GODLINESS” including one of the scariest movements in our nation’s history, “Chrislam,” (the combining of Christianity and Islam into a single religion)…the Bible teaches, “Ever learning, and NEVER able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (II Timothy 3:7 KJV).  A “FORM” reshapes itself…recreates itself…and, re-identifies itself…It is fluid, indecisive, ever-changing, taking on new shapes and designs from one minute to another… WITHOUT FORM means it is NOT eternal, settled, concrete, or fixed….Form changes…But, God says, “I am the same yesterday, today, and forever more.”  God’s ways or concrete…not a form of concreteness!

Today, many people want to call themselves Christians; yet they walk around having no visible recognition of being a Christian….Anything goes…No FORM…II Timothy, chapter three, provides many examples of those who possess only a “FORM” of godliness but not the TRUTH…”They shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent (no self-control), fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; having a FORM of godliness, but denying the power thereof;  (AND HERE IS GOD’S SPECIFIC WARNING AND INSTRUCTIONS)  FROM SUCH TURN AWAY!!!!

My friend, I don’t know about you, but I want the Power thereof  to be evident, abiding, and guiding in my life…not just a “form.”  I want the Biblical truths and teachings, sound doctrines, and standards that have endured throughout the ages of time to be my concrete, visible, tangible foundation seen through the teachings of Christ Jesus; The One and Only way to Salvation.

My friend, the only way to take on and possess godliness is to be obedient to God’s Word….Plain, pure, and simple…

Today, let me ask you a question….Do you only possess a “form”  (unshaped, unsound, ever-changing belief)  of God….Or, do you have the true godliness that can only be found in Jesus Christ, God manifested in the flesh? (John 1:14)….the invisible becoming visible!  For more research on the topic of Salvation, I suggest you begin by reading the book of Romans (The Apostle Paul’s writings to the Church at Rome.)

Remember, God Loves You Through Jesus Christ!

Lin T. Rollins, Author

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