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"Having a form of godliness but denying its power."
2 Timothy 3:5
All formalists have only a form, a show, a profession of
holiness¬óbut have nothing of the reality, spirit, life, or
power of holiness in them. They have a face, a cloak, a
mask, a show of godliness¬óbut they have nothing of the
pith, sap, life, or marrow of godliness. Their devotion,
their godliness, lies in good words. If you hearken to
their voice, you would think that they were men of
much godliness; but if you look into their hearts and
lives, you will find them to be great renouncers and
deniers of godliness. They have . . .
the semblance of godliness¬óbut not the substance;
the lineaments of godliness¬óbut not the life;
the face of godliness¬óbut not the heart;
the form, the shadow of godliness¬óbut not the power.
They are like a well-drawn picture, which has all the
lineaments of a man¬óbut lacks life, lacks a principle
of motion and operation.
The form of godliness is common¬óbut the power of
godliness is rare. The form of godliness is easy¬óbut
the power of godliness is difficult. The form of godliness
exists with secret and with open wickedness¬óas you see
in Saul, Jehu, Judas, Simon Magus, Demas, and the
Scribes and Pharisees¬óbut the power of godliness will
not. The power of godliness lays the axe to the very
root of all sin, both secret and open.
Rachel was very fair and beautiful to the eye¬óbut she
was barren¬óand that marred all. Just so, the formalist,
he is a very fair and beautiful professor to the eye¬óbut
he is barren Godwards, and Christwards, and heavenwards;
he is fruitless, sapless, and lifeless¬óand that mars all.
A formalist is . . .
more light than life,
more notion than motion,
more head than heart,
more outside than inside,
more leaves than fruit,
more shadow than substance.
A formalist is . . .
a blazing comet,
a painted tomb,
a white devil, or
a devil in an angel's garb!
What would such devils do in heaven? God has a
thunderbolt for every formalist, by which He will at
last certainly strike them down to the lowest hell.
A formalist is too loathsome a thing, too heavy a
burden, for heaven to bear.