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Posts Tagged ‘Thomas Watson’

God is not bound to give an account of his actions to his creatures – Thomas Watson

February 28, 2012 Comments off

“God is not bound to give an account of his actions to his creatures. If none may say to a king, ‘What doest thou?’ Eccles 8:4, much less to God. It is sufficient, God is Lord paramount; he has a sovereign power over his creatures, therefore can do no injustice. ‘Has not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel to honour, and another to dishonour?’ Rom 9:21. God has liberty in his own breast, to save one, and not another; and his justice is not at all impeached or blemished. If two men owe you money, you may, without any injustice, remit the debt to one, and exact it of the other. If two malefactors ¹ be condemned to die, the king may pardon the one and not the other: he is not unjust if he lets one suffer, because he offended the law; nor if he save the other, because he will make use of his prerogative as he is king.

Though some are saved and others perish, yet there is no unrighteousness in God; because, whoever perishes, his destruction is of himself. ‘O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself.’ Hos 13:9. God offers grace, and the sinner refuses it. Is God bound to give grace? If a surgeon comes to heal a man’s wound, and he will not be healed, is the surgeon bound to heal him? ‘I have called, and ye refused.’ Prov 1:24. ‘Israel would none of me.’ Psa 81:11: God is not bound to force his mercies upon men. If they wilfully oppose the offer of grace, their sin is to be regarded as the cause of their perishing, and not God’s justice.”

Source: A body of divinity, by Thomas Watson

A reproof to such as are only PRETENDERS to Godliness

December 5, 2009 Comments off

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” Matthew 23:27-28 Here is a sharp rebuke to such as are “glittering dross” Christians, who only make a show of godliness, like Michal, who put “an image in the bed”, and so deceived Saul’s messengers (1 Sam. 19:16). These our Savior calls “whited sepulchers” (Matt. 23:27)—their beauty is all paint! In ancient times a third part of the inhabitants of England were called Picts, which signifies “painted”. It is to be feared that they still retain their old name. How many are painted over with a religious profession, whose seeming luster dazzles the eyes of beholders—but within there is nothing but putrefaction! Hypocrites are like the swan, which has white feathers—but a black skin; or like that flower, which has a lovely appearance—but a bad scent. “You have a name that you live, and are dead” (Rev. 3:1). These the apostle Jude compares to “clouds without water” (Jude 12). They claim to be full of the Spirit—but they are empty clouds; their goodness is but a religious cheat.

Question: But why do people content themselves with a show of godliness?

Answer: This helps to keep up their fame. Men are ambitious of credit, and wish to gain repute in the world, therefore they will dress themselves in the garb and mode of religion, so that others may write them down for saints. But alas, what is one the better for having others commend him—and his conscience condemn him? What good will it do a man when he is in hell—that others think he has gone to heaven? Oh, beware of this! Counterfeit piety is double iniquity.

1. To have only a show of godliness is a God-enraging sin

The man who is a pretender to saintship—but whose heart tells him he has nothing but the name, carries Christ in his Bible but not in his heart. Some political design spurs him on in the ways of God; he makes religion a lackey to his carnal interest. What is this but to abuse God to his face, and to serve the devil in Christ’s livery? Hypocrisy makes the fury rise up in God’s face; therefore he calls such people “the generation of his wrath” (Isaiah 10:6). God will send them to hell, to do penance for their hypocrisy!

2. To make only a show of godliness is self-delusion

It is a horrible mistake to take a show of grace, for grace. This is to cheat yourself: “deceiving your own souls” (Jas. 1:22). He who has counterfeit gold instead of true gold, wrongs himself most. The hypocrite deceives others while he lives—but deceives himself when he dies.

3. To have only a name, and make a show of godliness, is odious to God and man

The hypocrite is abhorred by all. Wicked men hate him because he makes a show, and God hates him because he only makes a show. The wicked hate him because he has so much as a mask of godliness, and God hates him because he has no more. “You have almost persuaded me to be a Christian” (Acts 26:28). The wicked hate the hypocrite because he is almost a Christian, and God hates him because he is only almost one.

4. To make a show of piety is a vain thing

Hypocrites lose all they have done. Their sham tears drop beside God’s bottle; their prayers and fasts prove abortive. “When you fasted and mourned, did you at all fast unto me, even to me?” (Zech. 7:5). As God will not recompense a slothful servant, neither will he recompense a treacherous one. The hypocrites’ full reward is in this life: “They have their reward” (Matt. 6:5). A poor reward—the empty breath of men. The hypocrite may make his receipt and write, “Received in full payment”. Hypocrites may have the praise of men—but though these triumphs are granted them, they shall never have the privilege of sitting in heaven. What acceptance can he look for from God, whose heart tells him he is no better than a charlatan in divinity?

5. To have only a pretense of godliness will yield no comfort at death

Will painted gold enrich a man? Will painted wine refresh him who is thirsty? Will the paint of godliness stand you in any stead? How were the foolish virgins better for their “blazing lamps”, when they had no oil? What is the lamp of profession without the oil of grace? He who has only a painted holiness shall have only a painted happiness.

6. You who have nothing but a specious pretext and mask of piety expose yourself to Satan’s scorn

You shall be brought forth at the last day, as was Samson, to make the devil sport (Judges 16:25). He will say, “What has become of your vows, tears, confessions? Has all your religion come to this? Did you so often defy the devil, and have you now come to dwell with me? Could you meet with no weapon to kill you—but what was made of gospel metal? Could you not suck poison anywhere but out of ordinances? Could you find no way to hell—but by counterfeit godliness?” What a vexation this will be, to have the devil thus reproach a man! What will it be to have the devil triumph over a man at the last day! Let us therefore take heed of this pious pageantry or devout stage-play. That which may make us fear our hearts the more is when we see tall cedars in the church worm-eaten with hypocrisy. Balaam a prophet, Jehu a king, Judas an apostle—all of them stand to this day on record as hypocrites. It is true that there are the seeds of this sin in the best Christian; but as it was with leprosy under the law, all who had swellings or spots in the skin of the flesh were not reputed unclean and put out of the camp (Lev. 13:6); so all who have the swellings of hypocrisy in them are not to be judged hypocrites, for these may be the spots of God’s children (Deut. 32:5). But that which distinguishes a hypocrite is when hypocrisy is predominant and is like a spreading cancer in the body.

Question: When is a man under the dominion and power of hypocrisy?

Answer: There are two signs of its predominance: (i) When one serves God for sinister ends. (ii) When there is some sin dear to a man, which he cannot part with. These two are as clear signs of a hypocrite as any I know. Oh, let us take David’s candle and lantern, and search for this leaven, and burn it before the Lord! Christian, if you mourn for hypocrisy—yet find this sin so potent that you cannot get the mastery of it, go to Christ. Beg of him that he would exercise his kingly office in your soul, that he would subdue this sin, and put it under the yoke. Beg of Christ to exercise his spiritual surgery upon you. Desire him to lance your heart and cut out the rotten flesh, and that he would apply the medicine of his blood to heal you of your hypocrisy. Say that prayer of David often: “Let my heart be sound in your statutes” (Psalm 119:80). “Lord, let me be anything rather than a hypocrite.” A double-heart will exclude from one heaven.

Source: The Godly man’s picture, by Thomas Watson

Categories: Hypocrisy Tags: ,

Repenting of our good works

July 22, 2009 Comments off

The following are two classic quotes from Puritans Thomas Watson and Joseph Alleine on those who trust in their own righteousness:

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[Some people being very moral have] “nothing to do with the business of repentance. They are so good, that they scorn God’s offer of mercy. Indeed these are often in the worst condition: these are they who think they need no repentance (Luke 15:7). Their morality undoes them. They make a “savior” of it, and so on this rock they suffer shipwreck. Morality shoots short of heaven. It is only nature refined. A moral man is but old Adam dressed in fine clothes. The king’s image counterfeited and stamped upon brass will not go current. The moral person seems to have the image of God—but he is only brass metal, which will never pass for current. Morality is insufficient for salvation. Though the life is moralized, the lust may be unmortified. The heart may be full of pride and atheism. Under the fair leaves of a tree, there may be a worm. I am not saying, repent that you are moral—but that you are no more than moral. Satan entered into the house that had just been swept and garnished (Luke 11:26). This is the emblem of a moral man, who is swept by civility and garnished with common gifts—but is not washed by true repentance. The unclean spirit enters into such a one. If morality were sufficient to salvation, Christ need not have died. The moral man has a fair lamp—but it lacks the oil of grace.”

From Thomas Watson, The Doctrine of Repentance

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[Some people end up] “Trusting in their own righteousness. This is a soul-ruining mischief. When men trust in their own righteousness they do indeed reject Christ’s. Beloved, you had need be watchful on every hand, for not only your sins—but your duties may undo you. It may be you never thought of this; but so it is, that a man may as certainly perish by his seeming righteousness and supposed graces—as by gross sins; and that is, when a man trusts to these as his righteousness before God, for satisfying His justice, appeasing His wrath, procuring His favor, and obtaining His pardon. This is to put Christ out of office, and make a Savior of our own duties and graces. Beware of this, O professing Christians; you are much in duties—but this one fly will spoil all the ointment. When you have done most and best, be sure to go out of yourselves—to Christ; reckon your own righteousness as filthy rags (Phil 3:9; Isa 64:6).”

Joseph Alleine, A Sure Guide to Heaven

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Comment: Both Christians and non-Christians are to repent of trusting in their good works. We can neither attain nor maintain our justification by them. Jesus would have us look to no other Savior but Himself. Yet true grace will always set a person to aspire after holiness (Phil 3:13; Prov 4:18).

Source

How to get the most from reading your Bible

June 17, 2009 Comments off

1. Remove hindrances. (a) remove the love of every sin (b) remove the distracting concerns of this world, especially covetousness [Matt. 13:22] (c) Don’t make jokes with and out of Scripture.

2. Prepare your heart. [1 Sam. 7:3] Do this by: (a) collecting your thoughts (b) purging unclean affections and desires (c) not coming to it rashly or carelessly.

3. Read it with reverence, considering that each line is God speaking directly to you.

4. Read the books of the Bible in order.

5. Get a true understanding of Scripture. [Ps. 119:73] This is best achieved by comparing relevant parts of Scripture with each other.

6. Read with seriousness. [Deut. 32:47] The Christian life is to be taken seriously since it requires striving [Luke 13:24] and not falling short [Heb. 4:1].

7. Persevere in remembering what you read. [Ps. 119:52] Don’t let it be stolen from you [Matt. 13:4,19]. If it doesn’t stay in your memory it is unlikely to be much benefit to you.

8. Meditate on what you read. [Ps. 119:15] The Hebrew word for meditate’ means to be intense in the mind’. Meditation without reading is wrong and bound to err; reading without meditation is barren and fruitless. It means to stir the affections, to be warmed by the fire of meditation [Ps. 39:3].

9. Read with a humble heart. Acknowledge that you are unworthy that God should reveal himself to you [James 4:6]

10. Believe it all to be God’s Holy Word. [2 Tim 3:16] We know that no sinner could have written it because of the way it describes sin. No saint could blaspheme God by pretending his own Word was God’s. No angel could have written it for the same reason. [Heb 4:2]

11. Prize the Bible highly. [Ps. 119:72] It is your lifeline; you were born by it [James 1:18] you need to grow by it [1 Pet 2:2] [cf. Job 23:12].

12. Love the Bible ardently [Ps. 119:159].

13. Come to read it with an honest heart. [Luke 8:15] (a) Willing to know the entire and complete will of God (b) reading in order to be changed and made better by it [John 17:17].

14. Apply to yourself everything that you read, take every word as spoken to yourself. Its condemnation of sins as the condemnation of your own sin; the duty that it requires as the duty God would require from you [2 Kings 22:11].

15. Pay close attention to the commands of the Word as much as the promises. Think of how you need direction just as much as you need comfort.

16. Don’t get carried away with the minor details, rather make sure to pay closest attention to the great things [Hosea 8:12].

17. Compare yourself with the Word. How do you compare? Is your heart something of a transcript of it, or not?

18. Pay special attention to those passages that speak to your individual, particular and present situation. e.g. (a) Affliction — [Heb. 12:7, Isaiah 27:9, John 16:20, 2 Cor 4:17. (b) Sense of Christ’s presence and smile withdrawn — [Isaiah 54:8, Isaiah 57:16, Ps. 97:11] (c) Sin — [Gal 5:24, James 1:15, 1 Peter 2:11, Prov 7:10&22-23, Prov 22:14] (d) Unbelief — [Isaiah 26:3, 2 Sam 22:31, John 3:15, 1 John 5:10, John 3:36]

19. Pay special attention to the examples and lives of people in the Bible as living sermons. (a) Punishments [Nebuchadnezzar, Herod, Num 25:3-4&9, 1 Kings 14:9-10, Acts 5:5,10, 1 Cor 10:11, Jude 7] (b) mercies and deliverances [Daniel, Jeremiah, the 3 youths in the fiery furnace]

20. Don’t stop reading the Bible until you find your heart warmed. [Ps 119:93] Let it not only inform you but also inflame you [Jer 23:29, Luke 24:32].

21. Put into practice what you read [Ps 119:66, Ps 119:105, Deut 17:19].

22. Christ is for us Prophet, Priest and King. Make use of His office as a Prophet [Rev 5:5, John 8:12, Ps 119:102-103]. Get Christ not only to open the Scriptures up to you, but to open up your mind and understanding [Luke 24:45]

23. Make sure to put yourself under a true ministry of the Word, faithfully and thoroughly expounding the Word [Prov 8:34] be earnest and eager in waiting on it.

24. Pray that you will profit from reading [Isaiah 48:17, Ps 119:18, Nehemiah 9:20].

Natural obstacles You may still be able to profit from reading even though:

1. You don’t seem to profit as much as others do. Remember the different yields [Matt 13:8] though the yield isn’t as much as others it is still a true and fruitful yield.

2. You may feel slow of understanding [Luke 9:45, Heb 5:11].

3. Your memory is bad (a) remember you are still able to have a good heart despite this (b) you may still remember the most important things even if you cannot remember everything, be encouraged by John 14:26.

Categories: Bible Tags: ,