II Tim. 3:5 They will act as if they are religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. You must stay away from people like that.
The church is full of religious people. There are a lot of people who believe in their heads the Gospel message. They preach and teach truth. They act well amongst each other. They have all the appearances of being genuine followers of Christ. They even are “good” people outside the church building. Yet, most people in the church have a very real problem; they reject the power that could make them godly.
Godliness is not an easy thing to accomplish. It takes a lifetime of work. It requires us to be faithful students of God’s Word, faithful in prayer and faithful in our application of what the Lord teaches us. Godliness can never be obtained by human effort alone. We must allow the Lord to have His rightful place in our lives. We must live humbly before Him and obey Him in all things. We must be willing to let the Spirit change the way we think and live. We must not resist the promptings of the Spirit to move closer to God. We must never grow complacent in faith. We must always be growing as we yield to the Lord’s working in our lives.
The admonition of Paul to stay away from religious people is a hard thing to do. Most of the people we know are religious. So, is Paul saying to avoid the people of the church? I don’t think that is what he means. What Paul is trying to get us to see is that we should not have close connections to people who are not going anywhere spiritually. We need to be close to those who will help us and not hinder us in our pursuit of godliness. We need people who will push us and not drag us down. We need to be with people who are striving to be godly in their own lives. Godliness is mandated by God for all believers and those who are not pursuing it are living in sin.
It is not a message we want to hear, but it is what God says over and over again in His Word. Anything less than holiness of heart is not acceptable to God. Christ makes us holy and that holiness is then seen in how we live in every aspect of our living.