_________ is next to godliness

by MW Cook

Hopefully punctuality is not next to godliness, eh?

So what is? What is that thing that pushed us over the edge to godliness? What characteristic most suggests that we are like God?

Of course, I think very few people would suggest that cleanliness is next to godliness, even though that’s the popular phrase (although I did meet a lady once who thought that was from Proverbs).

Actually, now that I think of it, I have heard people honestly suggest that cleanliness was next to godliness. But only in Pakistan. Half of Islam, I was told, was cleanliness. That says something about the culture, doesn’t it? It says that, right or wrong, cleanliness is one of the highest virtues. And it showed in day to day life. I was often rebuked (gently) for not washing my feet regularly or my hands before eating or my mouth after eating. People may say that Pakistan is a dirty country, but you cannot say that about Pakistanis.

So how, then, would a Canadian complete that saying? Or, better yet, how would my own little sub-culture complete it? How would an evangelical complete it?

I think most would say something like “Faith is next to godliness.”

Fair enough. But what does that mean? I’m not sure, but I’d be willing to bet most people consider faith to be ‘thinking rightly about God.’ Is that fair?

I hope it’s not, really. Because I think it’s very wrong.

Faith is the substance of things hoped for. The evidence of things not seen.

Substance: something that you can touch/see/experience. Evidence: proof. What is faith? I think faith is more related to fide than it is to assent. Faith is fidelity. Faith is living out what you signed up for. Without faith, of course, it is impossible to please God.

Faith is when I claim to follow Jesus and live like it. Little faith is when I claim to follow Jesus and only do it a little.