1 Timothy, 6:5-6, “Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain. Godliness being a devout follower of Christ. It’s piety that is pleasing to God by living as He has commanded.”
In modern usage, piety is slander, “begone with you and your pious attitude, you impertinent scallywag!” as the kids might say. In reality, to be pious is just to be so serious about your faith that it affects your life and the decisions you make about what you do and will not do. Godliness is not just for your grandmother and your pastor. If you are a Christian, you should be pursuing godliness. One reason for the idea that godliness is a slander is because the hypocrites, by definition, are acting like they are godly. There needs to be some standard that the hypocrite is trying to copy, but since the hypocrite doesn’t want to follow Christ, he keeps the outward forms copying the devout, but changes the rules. He makes a show, the best he can, of what he perceives godliness to be while doing what he wants to do. The ungodly men that Paul is talking about were false teachers. Hypocrites. The very type of people who give godliness a bad name. Because they love money, they had worked out a system that equates money as the proof of godliness. The more you have, the more God loves you. The more cash in your bank, the more proof of your piety. Your best life now!
Paul sets the record straight; it isn’t gain that is godliness, but if you are godly and content with what you have, that is gain. Note that poverty isn’t gain, or that contentment alone is gain. It is godliness with contentment. Combining a devoted and pious heart with being happy and at peace with what God, through Christ has provided you is a greater gain to your spiritual life than it would be if you found out you were the long-lost son of Bill Gates. How is being content with not getting more, getting more? You gain the peace of not having your joy tied up to possession. You gain the fellowship of Christ, not loving the world and the things in it. You gain what you already have. If you are not content with what you have, you are not enjoying it. So not only are you not happy with not having what you covet, you are not happy with what you have. Bird in the hand, and all that. The hypocrite wants you to think he is godly, but it has nothing to do with following Christ. Godliness is not the problem. Possessions are not the problem. Loving the praise of men and loving money is the problem. For the hypocrite, the more he gains, the more he loses. For the godly, the more he loses, the more he gains.