Let’s begin with your second question. There is only one Man who ever lived a perfect, sinless life, and that’s Jesus Christ. The apostle Peter says this of Christ in 1st Peter 2:22, “Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth” (NKJV). The apostle Paul adds his voice to this truth in 2nd Corinthians 5:21, “Him who knew no sin.” And the apostle John tells us why He couldn’t sin in 1st John 3:5, “In Him there is no sin.” John is speaking of the Lord’s human nature in this verse and thus he is teaching us that the Lord did not have a fallen, sinful nature. He was perfectly HOLY, and incapable of sinning. This is not true of anyone else, for every man, woman, boy and girl born into this world were born in sin, and because of that there is a sinful nature in us. David spoke of this in Psalm 51:5, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.” The Lord Jesus referred to the result of this in John 3:6, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh.” But the Lord Jesus was not “born of the flesh.” He was born of a virgin and Mary conceived Him by the power of the Holy Spirit (see Luke 1:29-35). Because we were born in sin and have a sinful nature, we have the potential to sin at any time. Some believers have taught that their sinful nature has been eradicated, but this is refuted in 1st John 1:8, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” So, living a godly life is NOT the same thing as living a perfect, sinless life.

This surely begs the question, “What does it mean to live a godly life?” To help us answer this we will look at Titus 2:11-12: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age.” Once a sinner is “saved by the grace of God,” that same grace teaches us how to live. The first thing it teaches us is to deny “ungodliness.” To understand this word we need to define the word “godly.” It simply means “to be devout, to live a life characterized by a Godward attitude and doing that which is well-pleasing to Him.” The word “ungodliness” is the exact opposite, for it means, “without reverence for God, a life characterized by doing that which is displeasing to God.” Thus to “live a godly life” would involve being conscious of God in your life, and wanting to please Him in everything you say and do. If we have this “Godward attitude,” we will indeed “live…godly in the present age.”

If we do live a godly life, the world will be watching us and we can expect them to persecute us. 2nd Timothy 3:12 declares, “Yes, and all who desire to LIVE GODLY in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” The Lord Jesus forewarned us of this in John 15:20, “If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.” We saw above that the Lord Jesus always lived a perfect, sinless life, but it was also a “godly life,” for every moment of His life was “characterized by a Godward attitude and doing that which is well-pleasing to Him.” He could say at the end of His life, “I do always those things that please Him” (John 8:29). And those things that pleased His Father, DISPLEASED THE WORLD! The world doesn’t want to be reminded of God and of the responsibility they have to love, respect and obey Him, so when they see someone living a godly life, their natural response will be to hate them and to persecute them. How should we respond to them? The answer is found in Matthew 5:44: “But I say to you, LOVE your enemies, BLESS those who curse you, DO GOOD to those who hate you, and PRAY for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” (237.5) (DO)