I know God declares in sacred scripture his high and holy law. It is good, and I am learning to love it like I should.
I know God declares, “There is no one righteous, no not one,” and I am not the exception. Every day, I am freshly reminded of my ungodly desires, ungodly thoughts, ungodly words, and ungodly deeds. Oh, God’s Law is high, holy, and good, but it is too high, holy, and good for me. I cannot attain it. I cannot keep it. Every day my shortcomings are underlined and highlighted. I am guilty. Woe is me. Again, I am undone!
However, this being the case, a question surfaces. Is it acceptable for me to publicly declare, “I am godly?” Brothers and sisters, I think so. Listen with me to a portion of David’s prayer:
Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. Preserve my life, for I am godly; save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God. Be gracious to me, O Lord, for to you do I cry all the day. Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you. Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace. (Psalm 86:1-6)
Can we hear David express his sin? He doubts not his depravity. He knows he is a law-breaker who never loves God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength. He sees himself as “poor and needy.” He sees himself as one needing “grace.”
Can we hear David entreat his Savior? Again he calls out to God who is “gracious,” “forgiving,” and “abounding in steadfast love.” He prays to the Him who can “save” him. Boldly he pours forth his “plea for grace.”
Can we hear David exclaim his sainthood? Though he be sinful, he calls himself saintly. Though the law declares him rank, he knows his Lover and Lord declares him righteous. And though he still be too godless in his desires, thinking, speaking, and doing, yet he proclaims, “I am godly.”
Friends, do you get this? This is one of the fantastic benefits of being united to Jesus Christ. He earned all our righteousness and placed it upon us like a royal robe. He received upon himself the penalty for all the sins of all his people — past, present, and future — there is nothing left for which to pay. He then brings us into his family and fills us with his Holy Spirit. Perpetually, he watches over us and intercedes in heaven’s throne room, and every time the world, the devil, and our flesh make accusation and say, “There goes a godless man or woman,” Christ looks at his hands, his feet, and his side; he then looks at his robe on our shoulders, and then he boldly proclaims, “I see nothing wrong with my sanctified child. He looks good. He looks lawful. He looks like me. He looks holy. He is holy. That is my son or daughter, and he is godly. I say so!”
Well, there you go. God, who sees my sin, says I am saintly. He sees my hellishness and says I am holy. Therefore, it is my contention that if God calls me godly, I should do so as well. It is true, for God cannot lie.