The Christian and Personal Piety
Today’s reading: Job 21-22; Acts 10:1-23
14 They say to God, ‘Depart from us! We do not desire the knowledge of your ways. 15 What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? And what profit do we get if we pray to him?’ Job 21:14-15a
1 At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, 2 a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God. Acts 10:1-2
While no one is saved by good works or personal piety, those who are saved demonstrate their love for God through good works and personal piety. It was true in Job’s time, in New Testament times, and in our time.
Job describes the wicked who prosper as those who tell God to “get lost,” have no passion to know Him or His ways, and won’t serve God or pray to Him, but, instead, ask, “what’s in it for me?” If we want to know what the godly man or woman looks like, we can just reverse these descriptions. The godly seek God’s presence. They want God near them. They draw near to God and find that He draws near to them (James 4:8a). They want to know Him and His ways. They serve Him and pray to Him without hesitation and know that it is a privilege to serve Him and pray to Him. They do not look for some kind of reward. Knowing Him is the ultimate reward. Nothing else is needed or desired.
Cornelius, a Roman military officer, would seem to be an unlikely candidate for the roll call of faith. Not so. He was “a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God.” Undoubtedly, his understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ was lacking, but God saw his heart and sent Peter to him to proclaim the good news. Cornelius was not saved by his piety, but it did show his passion to know the Lord and God heard him. He led his family in toward the Lord and had a soldier who was devout (Acts 10:7). It would seem that Cornelius’ fear of the Lord impacted his personal life, his family, and his professional life. By the way, we see included here the virtue of the fear of God, a quality notably lacking among people today.
How do you view your devotional life? Is it a joy? Do you anticipate being in the Lord’s presence? Is prayer merely for personal benefit or is it communion with your Savior? Is reverent fear of God a characteristic you seek to develop? Think about it. Make attitude adjustments as needed.