Form of Godliness

    Quotations from the writings of Ellen G. White with the phrase . . .

                          F O R m    o f    g o d l i n e s s        (  3  RELATED  PHRASES  )                                      

                  The  phrase  'Form of Godliness'  appears  230  times in the published writings of EGW               See page on Original website                                              Related Phrase:   Form of Godliness without the power  ( below )

The love of Christ for the human family led him to assume human nature, and to submit to every test that human beings must bear, that man might be brought into right relation to his Maker. Human beings had taken sides with the first great rebel, and the angels whom he had deceived. When Satan and his rebel host were defeated and cast out of heaven, they did not give up the struggle against right. Satan's work has been the same since the days of Adam to the present, and he has pursued it with great success, tempting men to distrust God's love and to doubt his wisdom. And in the great closing work of the rebellion the powers of evil will unite in a desperate struggle to work out their deceptive plans to lead souls to ruin. Ministers and physicians and men in positions of trust as lawmakers will unite in this work of rebellion. Thousands are already taking their place on the side of satanic agencies. Some of these wear a pretentious garb of righteousness, but it is the form of godliness without the power. Clear light has been permitted to shine upon all; but when Satan's sophistries are heeded, when men and women reject light and evidence, gradually they become converted to the theories that Satan offers. Too late, too late they will see that angels of God are in the warfare against all who have departed from the faith.  {RH, September 30, 1909 par. 12}

 

 
Many have a form of godliness, their names are upon the church records, but they have a spotted record in heaven. The recording angel has faithfully written their deeds. Every selfish act, every wrong word, every unfulfilled duty, and every secret sin, with every artful dissembling, is faithfully chronicled in the book of records kept by the recording angel. -- Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 442.  {ChS 45.2}

 

In striking contrast to the sanctification worked out in the life of John is the experience of his fellow disciple, Judas. Like his associate, Judas professed to be a disciple of Christ, but he possessed only a form of godliness. He was not insensible to the beauty of the character of Christ; and often, as he listened to the Saviour's words, conviction came to him, but he would not humble his heart or confess his sins. By resisting the divine influence he dishonored the Master whom he professed to love. John warred earnestly against his faults; but Judas violated his conscience and yielded to temptation, fastening upon himself more securely his habits of evil. The practice of the truths that Christ taught was at variance with his desires and purposes, and he could not bring himself to yield his ideas in order to receive wisdom from heaven. Instead of walking in the light, he chose to walk in darkness. Evil desires, covetousness, revengeful passions, dark and sullen thoughts, were cherished until Satan gained full control of him.  Acts of the Apostles, page 557.2
 
How often, in our own day, is the love of pleasure disguised by a "form of godliness!" A religion that permits men, while observing the rites of worship, to devote themselves to selfish or sensual gratification, is as pleasing to the multitudes now as in the days of Israel. And there are still pliant Aarons, who, while holding positions of authority in the church, will yield to the desires of the unconsecrated, and thus encourage them in sin.  {CC 97.5}

 

"No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me, draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day." What is the drawing? --"It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto Me." There are men who hear, but who do not learn the lesson as diligent students. They have a form of godliness, but are not believers. They know not the truth by practice. They receive not the engrafted word. "Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any man be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was." He did not receive the impression made upon his mind when comparing his course of action with the great moral looking-glass. He did not see his defects of character. He did not reform, and forgetting all about the impression made, he went not God's way, but his way, continuing to be unreformed.  {FE 460.1}
 
I was shown the churches in different States that profess to be keeping the commandments of God, and looking for the second coming of Christ. There is an alarming amount of indifference, pride, love of the world, and cold formality existing among them. And these are the people who are fast coming to resemble ancient Israel, so far as the want of piety is concerned. Many make high claims to godliness, and yet are destitute of self-control. Appetite and passion bear sway; self is made prominent. Many are arbitrary, dictatorial, overbearing, boastful, proud, and unconsecrated. Yet some of these persons are ministers, handling sacred truths. Unless they repent, their candlestick will be removed out of its place. The Saviour's curse pronounced upon the fruitless fig-tree is a sermon to all formalists and boasting hypocrites who stand forth to the world in pretentious leaves, but are devoid of fruit. What a rebuke to those who have a form of godliness, while in their unchristian lives they deny the power thereof! He who treated with tenderness the very chief of sinners, he who never spurned true meekness and penitence, however great the guilt, came down with scathing denunciations upon those who made high professions of godliness, but in works denied their faith.-- Vol. 4, p. 393.  {GW92 22.2}

 

Satan is rich in this world's goods, and he is full of cunning to deceive, and his most effective agents are those whom he can lead to take a form of godliness while they deny the power of God by their un-Christlike characters. The children of God are to stand firmly for the right under all circumstances. They are not to be deceived by those who have the mind and spirit of the world. . . .  {HP 168.4}
 
A form of godliness will not save any. All must have a deep and living experience. This alone will save them in the time of trouble. Then their work will be tried of what sort it is; and if it is gold, silver, and precious stones, they will be hid in the secret of the Lord's pavilion.  {Mar 97.5}

 

                                                       a  form  of  Godliness  without  the  power                                                

 

The line of distinction between professed Christians and the ungodly is now hardly distinguishable. Church members love what the world loves and are ready to join with them, and Satan determines to unite them in one body and thus strengthen his cause by sweeping all into the ranks of spiritualism. Papists, who boast of miracles as a certain sign of the true church, will be readily deceived by this wonder-working power; and Protestants, having cast away the shield of truth, will also be deluded. Papists, Protestants, and worldlings will alike accept the form of godliness without the power, and they will see in this union a grand movement for the conversion of the world and the ushering in of the long-expected millennium.  Great Controversy, page 588.3   {4SP 406.1}

 

  
And yet, in this time of fearful peril, some who profess to be Christians have no family worship. They do not honor God in the home; they do not teach their children to love and fear Him. Many have separated themselves so far from Him that they feel under condemnation in approaching Him. They cannot "come boldly unto the throne of grace," "lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting." Hebrews 4:16; 1 Timothy 2:8. They have not a living connection with God. Theirs is a form of godliness without the power.  {CG 517.3}  {7T 42.2}

 

Religion is made to dwell too much in an iron case. Pure religion and undefiled leads us to a childlike simplicity. We want to pray and talk with humility, having a single eye to the glory of god. There has been too much of a form of godliness without the power. The outpouring of the Spirit of God will lead to a grateful acknowledgment of the same; and while we feel and realize the wondrous love of God, we shall not hold our peace, we shall sacrifice to God with the voice of thanksgiving and make melody to Him with our hearts and voices. Let us plant our feet upon the Rock of Ages and then we will have abiding support and consolation. Our soul will repose in God with unshaken confidence.  {RC 351.5}
 
A form of godliness without the power is a weariness and burden; but when the whole heart is enlisted in the service of Christ, there is rest to the soul; for God causeth such to triumph daily over the powers of darkness. God helps him who commits his soul unto the Lord as unto a faithful Creator.  {SD 76.4}
 
Those who came to Battle Creek when they had a work to do in the church that they left, lost their missionary spirit and their spiritual discernment in coming to Battle Creek. There they came in contact with a pharisaism, a self-righteousness, that is always a snare. It is the form of godliness without the power thereof.  {8T 85.3}

 

O how greatly we need Jesus Christ every moment!. . . Let every man stand in his lot and in his place, working with earnestness, decision, and power to advance God's cause, bearing aloft the standard on which are inscribed the words "The commandments of God and the faith of Jesus." . . . We may teach the Bible ever so zealously, but if we do not honor the truth by efforts proportionate to its greatness, we shall form ideas of Christ which do not honor the self-denying, self-sacrificing Redeemer. We need Christ every moment. We need to look up and study His character. What would Christ do were He in my place? is to be our measurement of our duty. It is possible to preach the Word and walk directly contrary to its teaching, showing in the home life and in business life a form of godliness without the power.  {UL 258.2}
 
Unless painstaking efforts are made, every new revival will bring into the church, converts whose conversion is a spurious one, who have a form of godliness without the power. Earnest educational work needs to be done for these souls, that they may know what it means to be a Christian; for unless the foundation is laid in faith and practice of the truth, storm and tempest, beating upon the house, will cause it to fall. The character of such is like a bowing wall and a tottering fence.  {AUCR, April 29, 1907 par. 3}

 

And how is this matter to end? The Satanic agencies are to combine with, and inspire, the professedly Christian world. Those who have the form of godliness without the power, will rank under Satan's banner, and will display their zeal in making void the law of God. The whole world will have the opportunity of choosing between Christ and Barabbas. Men who have perverted truth, misapplied Scripture, and who have become blinded by resisting the word which is truth, form the great apostate power of the last day. It belongs to the same order as the power which the Lord Jesus revealed to John as drunken with the blood of saints. It is to pursue the same line of action, determined to rule or ruin. The crisis is right upon us, and many will be deceived. Men who have all their life had opportunity to learn of Christ, but who have tenaciously clung to their own habits and practices, unwilling to change their own course of action and walk in the light, will act like blind men. They will accept everything that will coincide with their own ideas.  {BEcho, January 25, 1897 par. 2}
 
However zealously the truth may be advocated, while the every-day life and character do not testify to its sanctifying power, it will avail nothing. Such a course hardens the heart, and narrows the mind to a form of godliness without the power. Some who profess the truth, but know nothing of the transforming work of grace in the heart, become egotistical, critical, harsh, and repulsive. Others become plastic and yielding, and bend this way and that to please every one. When the heart is changed from sin to holiness, there will be a fear of offending God. Such a work of grace will prompt men to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God. In their work as ministers, it will enable them to develop firm, decided principle, which cannot be bribed or swayed from integrity to obtain any earthly good.  {RH, January 6, 1885 par. 14}

 

Satan uses some professed Christians to lead souls from the simplicity of the gospel of Christ. Worldly associates and amusements sow the seeds of doubt and skepticism. The sentiment of many worldly professors is, "Cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us." "Speak unto us smooth things; prophesy deceits." Many are daily cheating their souls with a form of godliness without the power; but the Lord has removed his smile and the inspiration of his Spirit from them. His displeasure is against them, because their deeds are evil. He demands decided changes in the life and character. Good intentions, good resolutions, good acts, cannot be accepted as substitutes for repentance, faith, and willing obedience.  {ST, March 6, 1884 par. 4}
 
The warning of Christ sounds down along the lines to our day. He would arouse the people for whom he gave his life, and attract their attention to himself, the source of all wisdom, righteousness, strength, and hope, and peace. He would have his people let their light shine forth to the world in good works. The sins of Sodom are repeated in our day, and the earth is destroyed and corrupted under the inhabitants thereof; but the worst feature of the iniquity of this day is a form of godliness without the power thereof. Those who profess to have great light are found among the careless and indifferent, and the cause of Christ is wounded in the house of its professed friends. Let those who would be saved, arouse from their lethargy, and give the trumpet a certain sound; for the end of all things is at hand. - {ST, October 16, 1893 par. 9}

 

 

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