Sanctification? Increase in godliness.

Even part of the title above, “godliness” is given in little letters so that we
do not get confused as to Who has already made it all the way to
Godliness; namely God the Father Who is the source of “godliness” Itself,
and the Lord Jesus Christ, of whom Paul wrote about that “great mystery
of godliness”, mystery in the Bible always being something we humans
would never know about except for Revelations from God.  Also
“godliness” in little letters reminds us that we never make it all the way in
this life, sin as an inclination and acts and thoughts, remains in our lives
on this earth; only to find a remedy when Christ comes again:
“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that
we should be called children of God.  Therefore the world does not
know us, because it did not know Him.  Beloved, now we are
children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be,
but we know when He is revealed, we shall be like Him for we shall
see Him as He is.”  (I John 3:1,2)
No objection is given here to usage of the word “sanctification” to
describe the present of salvation in the Christian life, as contrasted to the
past of redemption and the future of glorification at the Second Coming.  
Many of us have had wonderful Bible studies in theological books like W.
T. Conner’s “Christian Doctrine” and “The Gospel of Redemption”, also J.
Clyde Turner’s “These Things We Believe”; however these would have to
be called Bible Studies more than theological.

1-1: This illustrates how Theology tends to take away the emphasis
of the Bible.
Sanctification is used in the Bible a few times to describe the increase in
godlikeness, or godliness in the Christian life; however the predominant
word is GODLINESS, and since those trained in Theology, especially
those with a Doctors degree in theology, preach and teach a
misunderstood concept of sanctification, it should be no surprise that
“godliness” in becoming a lost art in Christianity.  It is sort of like the word
“saints”:  it is a common word in the Bible in forms like “called to be
saints”, and yet it is shunned by Christians of today.  The last thing Mr.
Average church member wants the world to think is that they have some
holiness in their lives; yet the very nature of being “IN CHRIST” is to be
partakers of the divine nature, another place where theology and history
has used the word “Christian”--found only 3 times in the Bible--to  explain
a group of persons who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
1.  Those truly “IN CHRIST” are partakers of the divine nature.
One has to admire the real Peter of the Bible, another place where
theology has tried to dominate over real Bible, Peter who just spoke it
plainly like it is--
“...exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you
may be partakers of the heavenly nature...”  (II Peter 1:4)
NOTE:  Since II Peter 1:1-4 is one of the best practical pictures of
sanctification or godliness, we must later come back to a complete
exegesis of these verses.  And this was only the introductory
address of Peter in his second letter to “those of faith”, it spoke in
this introduction of those things then assumed; however now,
because of theology and misuse they have to be spoken and written
It is always an enlightening experience to check such words as
“sanctification” and “godliness” in the dictionary--
(1).  First “godliness”:  “divine, pious, and devout”.
Actually this definition in the Webster’s dictionary is for “godly” and with
godliness used as a noun.  
NOTE:  You would be interested to know that the estimated date of
first usage was the 14th century, about when in the historical outline
of sound doctrine in II Timothy where follies of “that sort” of Persons
was still being revealed, before the SRB in 1909, and deterioration
into the “time will come” of a widespread intolerance toward sound
doctrine. (II Timothy 4:3,4)  For more on this subject see “What Sort”,
“That Sort”, and a “That Sort Outline of II Timothy” on the
SunGrist_Bible website of
It can easily be deduced that the increase in historical Christianity of the
Falling away of II Timothy and 4:3,4 in particular was inversely
proportional to godliness or sanctification among Christians, especially
since it was the Master Teacher and Example for Christianity who said of
the Falling Away, “because sin will abound, the love of many will wax cold.”
When we come back to a detailed exegesis of II Peter 1:1-4, you will find
that to “partake of the divine nature” {sanctification or godliness} is the
opposite of “the corruption of the world through lust” (II Peter 1:4b).
“ which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious
promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine
nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through
lust.”  (II Peter 1:4)
5-2:  It is time to stop dallying on introductions and get into the meat
of the TEXT for this Bible session, only the text is really 5 texts
where the word “godliness” is found in the Bible:  (1)  II Peter 1:3,
already referenced above in the context of II Peter 1:1-4 on “life and
godliness”; (2) the great mystery of godliness first manifested, and
only fully manifested in Christ Jesus of I Timothy 3:16; (3) the
contentment for believing Christians that can come with godliness,
as the greatest gain of the Christian view of life and living of I
Timothy 6:6; (4) the religion without God and power of II Timothy 3:5,
that helps to identify “THAT SORT” of persons in Christianity of II
Timothy; and (5) along with perseverance in the Christian life,
godliness is to be added as in II Peter 1:6.
1.  II Peter 1:6. The path of additions to initial faith all the way to
godliness, and by the way of first faith, then virtue, then knowledge, then
self-control, then perseverance, then godliness.
“But also for this very reason {the reason refers back to the promise of
sanctification or godliness as written in II Peter 1:1-4}, giving all diligence,
add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self control, to
self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness...”
NOTE:  Do you know see here the opposite of religion without power and
God of “that sort” of II Timothy 3:1-9 by way of the path of initial faith
here all the way to godliness, and with the progresses in the Christian life
of (1) virtue, (2) knowledge {Bible knowledge and personal knowledge of
the Lord Jesus Christ as in II Peter 1:8 to follow over theological
knowledge}, (3) self-control, and (4) perseverance.  And in the completion
of the pathway all the way to fruitfulness in Bible and personal “knowledge
of our Lord Jesus Christ” of II Peter 1:8b), we should add after the (5) of
godliness, also (6) brotherly kindness--and I know you see the opposite
of the “unloving” of that sort of Persons of II Timothy 3:1-9; then (7) love.
5-3:  The “LIFE AND GODLINESS” of II Peter 1:3.
“ His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and
godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and
virtue...”  (II Peter 1:3)
NOTE, don’t you just revel in those words from Peter and the Word
of God as they sink into your mind, “given to us ALL THINGS that
pertain to life and godliness”.  If that is not one of the most complete
descriptions of the Christian view of life and living, “all things that
pertain to life and godliness”, found here in the Bible, we can
certainly find none better in theology.
Please do not miss the full context of “the knowledge of our Lord Jesus
Christ” which is found here in the words of II Peter 1:3--”through the
knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue”; in the introductory
words of II Peter 1:2--”Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the
knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord”, and in the concluding words of
this passage of II Peter 1:8b--”fruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus
1.  Grace and peace, along with sanctification and godliness, comes to
the Christian by way of “in the knowledge of God and of our Lord Jesus
Christ”, II Peter 1:2.  While some would attempt to by pass the pathway
to more grace and peace without more knowledge of God and Christ,
getting sanctification or godliness immediately without any more
knowledge of God and Christ, Peter and the Word of God admonishes,
corrects, and rebuffs otherwise!  The knowledge of both God and Christ
are inseparable as the very purpose of Christ, the Son of God, was to
make know, in Person, the knowledge of God the Father.  In other words,
what God is really like and real godliness!
2. Life and godliness is “through the knowledge of Him who called us by
glory and virtue.”  (II Peter 1:3).
3.  All these things in the pathway from faith to godliness, and beyond that
to brotherly kindness and love, are available as “yours” and can abound in
you, preventive the very common “neither barren or unfruitful in the
knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  (II Peter 1:8)
NOTE:  And once again we have a very good description of the
Religion without power and God, a form rather than a reality, of II
Timothy 3:5 and “that sort” of persons of II Timothy, as (1) barren
and (2) unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Religion
without power and without God is almost synonymous with a lack of
sanctification or godliness.

5-4:  Religion without God, power, and “godliness” of II Timothy 3:5.

“...having a form of godliness but denying its power.  And from such
people turn away.” (II Timothy 3:5)

NOTE:  You neither thought the Bible would admonish you to turn
away from certain kinds of Religion, but so it does, away from a
religion, any religion, that is without God and the divine power of

1.  The previous description of “this sort” of religious persons without
God and power of II Timothy 3:1-4, those kind of persons that are to be
avoided in Christianity.
(1).  They should certainly get your attention for avoidance when it is
obvious to you that during perilous times, they are “lovers of self, lovers
of money, proud, and boasters.”  (II Timothy 3:2a)
(2).  If they are willing to habitual blaspheme either the name of God or
any other doctrine of God like the public rapture, then that is more
evidence that they are to be avoided, and further that they are the sort of
persons that will lead into the Falling away of churches, denominations,
and Christianity. (II Timothy 3:2b)
(3).  Avoid that kind of persons and religion, if they are disobedient to the
traditions of their Christian parents of sound doctrine.  (II Timothy 3:2c)
(4).  Have you not witnessed in your church and your denomination and in
the politics of the SBC, this sort of persons--
“unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal,
despisers of good, traitors {to sound Bible and doctrine of
Christianity}, headstrong, haughty...”  (II Timothy 3:3 and 4:a)
(5).  Granted the following form of ungodliness is one of the most difficult,
if not the mos difficult for pastors and other Christian leaders, since the
forbidden “Pride of life” of I John 2:15-17 is  a “lust” like lust of the flesh
and lust of the eyes so easily overlooked but here in II Timothy described
“lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.”  (II Timothy 3:4b)
2.  More description of “this sort” of persons in II Timothy 3:6-9, please
read in the Bible for yourself so you can believe it.

5-5:  Godliness is a great mystery as revealed and manifested in the
life of our Lord Jesus Christ, and as it works out in the life of the
believer.  It ceases to be such a “mystery”  {something humanity
would have never known apart from Revelations of the Bible and of
the life of our Lord Jesus Christ} as our personal knowledge of the
Lord Jesus Christ, and of God through Him, is increased}.

1.  Could one say that a personal increase in godliness is synonymous
with a personal increase in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, at
least in the sense of which Peter is writing in context of II Peter 1:2-11?
Yes, and this is the explanation of a Scripture we have reveled in but have
seldom understood, “then {at the Second Coming and the gathering up to
meet the Lord in the air} we shall be like Him {ultimate godliness for
Christians} for we shall see Him as He is {ultimate knowledge of our Lord
Jesus Christ}.  Once again theology has not been adequate as it has
added words to the Bible like regeneration, sanctification, and
glorification; with glorification trying to describe the ultimate increase in
godliness when we have the ultimate knowledge of Jesus Christ by seeing
Him as He is!
2.  “And without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness:”  (II
Timothy 3:16)
(1).  Full knowledge of God was manifested in human flesh, as the virgin
born  Jesus of Nazareth showed the world what God is really like; and
then recorded in the “testimony of the evangelists”, as Simon Greenleaf
former dean of the Harvard Law school likes to call Matthew, Mark, Luke,
and John--
“God was manifested in the flesh” (II Timothy 3:16b)
“And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His
glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”  
(John 1:14)
(2).  “Justified in the Spirit” (3:16c)
NOTE:  While again theology has chosen many words to describe
Christian salvation--like justification and redemption, we strain a little
bit at the need for Christ to be justified by the Holy Spirit.  However
the simplicity and yet the magnificent mystery of it comes from two
sections of history:  (1) vocal testimonies to Jesus during His life in
the flesh by the Holy Spirit of God, beginning with the start of His
ministry as at His baptism a voice came from heaven saying, “This is
my Beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.”, continuing with all the
mighty works of miracles and of goodness Jesus of Nazareth
performed, then His character, and above all His crucifixion on the
cross for our sins and His resurrection from the dead; and (2) as the
Holy Spirit after the Ascension of Christ came to take the place of
Christ as a testimony on earth, justifying to the world with
conviction, “to convict the world of sin, or righteousness, and of
judgment.  Of judgment because they believe not in the only Son of
God.”  (John 16:8)
(3).  “Seen by angels”  (3:16d)
It may be a little hard to determine what Paul wanted us to primarily know
here about Jesus and angels, so just like with that same principle of Bible
hermeneutics as always, we just let the Bible says what it is trying to say;
and come to:  as in Hebrews, Jesus was seen in heaven as the only
begotten Son of God, angels announced His birth, angels were watching
and available at the time of His capture and death on the cross, an angel
was at the tomb to tell of His resurrection; and finally Jesus will be
escorted by thousands of powerful angels at the time of His return!
(4).  “Preached among the Gentiles”  (3:16e)
Paul had a lot to do with this fourth, but so also did other Apostles and
disciples as they went into all the world, “making disciples, and teaching in
the name of the Lord Jesus Christ...”  And we should acknowledge that by
now every nation in this world has heard something about the gospel of
Jesus Christ, a sign about which Jesus taught in Matthew 24, “then the
end will come”!
(5).  “Believed on in the world”  (3:16f)
All the world did not believe, and still does not believe, like Paul cried,
“Who has believed our report?”, mainly those fellows of his own Jewish
nation; however, then, now, and always to the END, “As many as
received Him to them gave He power to become sons of God.”  (John 1:
(6)  “Received up in glory”  (3:16g).

“And while they {the apostles and disciples} looked steadfastly
toward heaven as He went up {sort of like a missile disappearing
beyond the clouds}, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel
{angels}, who also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up
into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into
heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into
heaven.”  (Acts 1:10,11)

3.  Now in conclusion although there is far more to say on this subject and
which will become part of 3 existing series of Bible studies--
”The Prophet
Messiah” under the title of “Knowledge of Our Lord Jesus Christ”, the
series of
“Christian View of Life and Living” under “Sanctification or An
Increase in Godliness”, and in the series “
A Sort Doctrinal History of
Christianity” under the title of “Form or Fact of Godliness and Religion”.  
(To those series we must add a closer look at “The Epistles of Peter”.}

5-6:  Now we must conclude with an extended promise of more on

In order to proclaim the Word rather than the “cunningly devised fables” (II
Peter 1:16), stick to the “faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3)
rather than add to perversions of theology and cults, we will conclude this
very difficult subjects of sanctification and godliness with good ‘ole’
practical Peter.  He brings us back to earth where we belong at least for a
few more years.  His head like the Jesus from Whom he learned and
walked and lived with for over 3 years, is not up in the sky or clouds with
his Bible more than theology, but is down to earth on what to do with
godliness, knowledge, and these other practical fruits of the Christian life.
1.  Peter reminds us that “the sort” {these words are borrowed from Paul
and from II Timothy} of persons “who lacks these things” (II Peter 1:9) is:
(1).  “shortsighted”,
(2) “even to blindness”,
(3) “and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins”.
NOTE:  Lest you forget what “these things” are from Peter that can be a
HUGE LACK in a form of religion or godliness that is without the divine
power, there was listed above in II Peter 1:5-7 as faith, virtue, knowledge,
self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love.
2.  Peter calls Christians of all generations to be more “diligent” to make
your status and standing as a Christian secure before the God that will
make the ultimate decision on your eternal future, “to make your call and
election sure” (II Peter 1:10a)
3.  For Peter always practical and avoiding the extremes of mere
theology and religion without power, reminds us that we could also
“stumble”  {in later Bible sessions we will also discuss stumbling more, but
for now please read online “Snatching, Stumbling, and the Falling Away”},
“for if you do these things {the magic 8 above} you will never stumble” (II
Peter 1:10b).
4.  All of this discussion on godliness and the knowledge of our Lord
Jesus Christ is not based on “cunningly devised fables”  (II Peter 1:12-
21); but has a basis in fact and historical record from the following
sources:  (1) reminders from the Apostle Peter in his two little epistles
written to all Christians and in order to sustain all Christianity; (2) records
from Peter and the other Apostles in the Bible, and in the “faith once for
all delivered to the saints”, about the “power and coming of our Lord
Jesus Christ” manifested in person to these “eyewitnesses”; (3) God
gave direct testimony declaring “This is My Beloved Son in whom I am
well pleased”; (4) Peter and the other apostles and disciples heard this
voice from heaven at the baptism of Jesus, and later again on the mount
of transfiguration from God the Father Himself; (5) the prophetic word of
the Old Testament Scriptures is confirmed by what the Apostles like
Peter heard, saw, and have written in NT Scriptures; and lastly (6) you
readers or listeners of Peter and other Scriptures have the ASPI version
of the Bible in your hearts and possession so that private interpretations
of Scripture are not required or even permitted.

You can download a copy of this Bible study,
"Sanctification?  Increase in
Godliness",  which includes all the original footnotes from Adobe