[5] The Holy Spirit and living a godly life

Snow on branches representing a pure life. The Holy Spirit and living a godly life.
Snow on branches representing a pure life. By Peter Reason licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

How many are interested in living a godly life?

In 1991 R. Kent Hughes included some statistics in the book he had written.
The answers are staggering and really shows how little interest there is in having a godly life in America: (I have changed the written numbers to numerals because it is easier visually).

Only 13% of Americans see all Ten Commandments as binding on us today.
91% lie regularly at home and at work.
In answer to the question, ‘Whom have you regularly lied to?’ the statistics included 86% to parents and 75% to friends.
33% of AIDS carriers admit to not having told their lovers.
Most workers admit to goofing off for an average of 7 hours -almost 1 whole day a week,
and 50% admit that they regularly call in sick when they are perfectly well.
The survey also posed the question:
‘What are you willing to do for $10,000,000?’
25% would abandon their families,
23% would become a prostitute for a week, and
7% would kill a stranger.
Think of it! In a gathering of 100 Americans, there are seven who would consider killing you if the price was right.
In 1,000 there are 70″

‘Disciplines of a Godly Man’ by R. Kent Hughes, Wheaton. Illinois: Crossway, 1991, 119. [i]

Do these statistics surprise you?
That’s even more surprising when you realise that it’s God’s will for us to live a Godly life:

For this is God’s purpose — that you should be pure”

1 Thessalonians 4:3 Open English Bible

The French book: ‘The Introduction to the Devout Life’ (French: Introduction à la vie dévote) written by Saint Francis de Sales was first published in 1609 enjoyed wide popularity and was well received in both Protestant and Catholic circles. [ii]
He wrote:

My purpose is to instruct those who live in town, within families, or at court, and are obliged to live an ordinary life as to outward appearances…
It is an error, or rather a heresy, to wish to banish the devout life from the regiment of soldiers, the mechanic’s shop, the court of princes, or the home of married people…
Wherever we may be, we can and should aspire to the perfect life.”

‘Introduction to the Devout Life’ by Saint Francis de Sales [ii]

The filling of the Spirit and living a godly life are two separate things

The older, more technical term for living a godly life is sanctification.

The baptism of the Holy Spirit does help to promote a godly life, but it is not ‘sanctification’ itself.

Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled * with the Holy Spirit.”

Ephesians 5:18 NLT

* is continuous tense, so it means: ‘keep being filled’.

The church at Corinth was overflowing with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but as Paul points out in 1 Corinthians, this was not a church that overflowed with holy and pure lives!

Paul described them as worldly, because there were disputes.
Believers were taking other believers to court, there was jealousy and quarrelling.
Some had become arrogant, sexual immorality was going on, whilst others were getting drunk and stuffing themselves with food during the Lord’s Supper!

This is an illustration that shows that the baptism of the Spirit and sanctification are two separate things.

Living a godly life requires fillings of the Spirit and obedience

D. M. Lloyd-Jones said that sanctification is a present tense filling of the Holy Spirit, AND obedience to the Lord.

The disciples, soon after Jesus resurrection, wanted some more leaders so they said:

Brothers choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom.”

Acts 6:3

To be full of the Holy Spirit is not enough.

“He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith”

Acts 11:24

It is our responsibility to be filled with the Holy Spirit and to be obedient to God’s Word.

For reference, the word ‘sanctification’ is:

  • not used in the New International Version of the Bible – they preferred to use the word holiness.
  • ‘sanctified’ is used 9 times in the New International Version.
  • in the King James version ‘sanctification’ is used 7 times.

[i] ‘Disciplines of a Godly Man’ by R. Kent Hughes, Wheaton. Illinois: Crossway, 1991, 119.
[ii] ‘Introduction to the Devout Life’ Wikipedia

Article created:



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *