January 8, 2020 by directorfsm
by Thomas Watson, 1660
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
“Blessed are those who are persecuted, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
Poverty of Spirit (Continued)
C. I shall next show the truth of this proposition—that this kingdom is infallibly entailed on the saints.
In regard of God’s free grace. ‘It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom’ (Luke 12:32). It is not for any desert in us—but the free grace in God. The papists say we merit the kingdom—but we disclaim the title of merit. Heaven is a gift of God’s grace.
There is a price paid. Jesus Christ has shed his blood for it. All saints come to the kingdom, through blood. Christ’s hanging upon the cross was to bring us to the crown. As the kingdom of heaven is a gift in regard of the Father—so it is a purchase in regard of the Son.
1. This shows us that true religion is no unreasonable thing. God does not cut us out work—and give no reward. Godliness enthrones us in a kingdom! When we hear of the doctrine of repentance, steeping our souls in brinish tears for sin; the doctrine of mortification, pulling out the right eye, beheading the king-sin; and we are ready to think it is hard to swallow down this bitter pill. But here is something in the text which may sweeten it. There is a glorious kingdom reserved for us—and that will make amends for all. This glorious recompense as far exceeds our thoughts—as it surpasses our defects. No one can say without wrong to God, that he is a hard master. God gives double pay. He bestows a kingdom upon those who fear him. Satan may disparage the ways of God, like those spies who raised a bad report of the good land (Numbers 13:32). But will Satan mend your wages if you serve him? He gives damnable pay! Instead of a kingdom—he gives ‘chains of darkness’ (Jude 6).
2. See here the mercy and bounty of God, who has prepared a kingdom for his people. It is a favor that we poor ‘worms and no men’ (Psalm 22:6) should be allowed to live. But that worms should be made kings—this is divine bounty! It is mercy to pardon us—but it is rich mercy to crown us! ‘Behold, what manner of love’ is this! Earthly princes may bestow great gifts on their subjects—but they keep the kingdom to themselves. Though Pharaoh advanced Joseph to honor and gave him a ring from his finger—yet he kept the kingdom to himself. ‘Only in the throne will I be greater than you’ (Genesis 41:40). But God gives a kingdom to his people, he sets them upon the throne! How David admires the goodness of God in bestowing upon him a temporal kingdom! ‘Then went king David in, and sat before the Lord and said, Who am I, O Lord God! and what is my house, that you have brought me hitherto?’ (2 Samuel 7:18). He wondered that God should take him from the sheepfold and set him on the throne! that God should turn his shepherd’s staff into a king’s scepter! O then how may the saints admire the riches of grace, that God should give them a glorious kingdom above all the princes of the earth, nay, far above all heavens! God thinks nothing too good for his children. We many times think much of a tear, a prayer, or to sacrifice a sin for him—but He does not think a kingdom is too much to bestow upon us! How will the saints read over the lectures of free grace in heaven, and trumpet forth the praises of that God, who has crowned them with such astonishing loving-kindness! “Don’t be afraid, little flock, because your Father delights to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32
3. This shows us that Christianity is no disgraceful thing. Wise men measure things by the final end. What is the end of godliness? It brings a glorious kingdom! A man’s sin brings him to shame (Proverbs 13:5). What fruit had you in those things, whereof you are now ashamed? (Romans 6:21). But religion brings to honor (Proverbs 4:8). It brings a man to a throne, a crown, it ends in eternal glory! It is the sinner’s folly to reproach a saint. It is just as if Shimei had reproached David when he was going to be made king. It is a saint’s wisdom to despise a reproach. Say as David when he danced before the ark, ‘I will yet be more vile’ (2 Samuel 6:22). If to pray and hear and serve my God, is be to be vile—’I will yet be more vile’. This is my excellency, my glory. I am doing now, that which will bring me to a kingdom. O think it no disgrace to be a Christian! I speak it chiefly to you who are entering upon the ways of God. Perhaps you may meet with such as will reproach and censure you. Bind their reproaches as a crown about your head. Despise their censure as much as their praise. Remember there is a kingdom entailed upon godliness. Sin draws hell after it; grace draws a crown after it!
4. See here that which may make the people of God long for death. Then they shall enter upon their glorious kingdom! Indeed the wicked may fear death. It will not lead them to a kingdom—but a horrid dungeon. Hell is the jail where they must lie rotting forever with the devil and his demons! To every Christless person—death is the king of terror; but the godly may long for death. It will raise them to a kingdom. When Scipio’s father had told him of that glory the soul should be invested with in a state of immortality, “why then,” says Scipio, “do I tarry thus long upon the earth? Why do I not hasten to die?” Believers are not perfectly happy until death. When Croesus asked Solon whom he thought happy, he told him one Tell us, a man who was dead. A Christian at death shall be completely installed into his honor. The anointing oil shall be poured on him, and the royal crown set upon his head. The Thracians, in their funerals, used festive music. The heathens (as Theocritus’ observes) had their funeral banquet, because of that felicity which they supposed the deceased were entered into. The saints are now ‘heirs of the kingdom’ (James 2:5). Does not the heir desire to be crowned?
Truly there is enough to wean us and make us willing to be gone from hence. The saints ‘eat ashes like bread’. They are here in a suffering condition. ‘Our bones are scattered at the grave’s mouth, as when one cuts wood’ (Psalm 141:7). When a man hews and cuts a tree the chips fly up and down; here and there a chip. So here a saint wounded, there a saint massacred; our bones fly like chips up and down. ‘For your sake we are killed all the day long’ (Romans 8:36). But there is a kingdom a-coming; when the body is buried the soul is crowned. Who would not be willing to sail in a storm—if he were sure to be crowned as soon as he came at the shore? Why is it that the godly look so ghastly at thoughts of death, as if they were rather going to their execution, than their coronation? Though we should be willing to stay here awhile to do service—yet we should with Paul, ‘desire to depart—and be with Christ’. The day of a believer’s dissolution—is the day of his inauguration.