Daily Devotional – The Beatitudes by Thomas Watson Part LXXIII

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Image Depicting Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount

The Beatitudes

by Thomas Watson

An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12 

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (v.9)

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”

Concerning Peaceableness

“They shall be called the children of God.” Matthew 5:9

How Christians should bring up their children

5. If we are his children—then God will shield off dangers from us. A father will protect his child from injuries. God ever lies sentinel to keep off evil from his children—both temporal evil and spiritual evil.

[1] God screens off TEMPORAL evil. There are many casualties and contingencies which are incident to life. God mercifully prevents them. He keeps watch and ward for his children. ‘My defense is of God’ (Psalm 7:10). ‘He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep’ (Psalm 121:4). The eye of providence is ever awake! God gives his angels charge over his children (Psalm 91:11). A believer has a guard of angels for his lifeguard. We read of the wings of God in Scripture. As the breast of his mercy feeds his children—so the wings of his power cover and protect them. How miraculously did God preserve Israel his firstborn! He with his wings sometimes covered, sometimes carried them. ‘He bore you as upon eagles wings’ (Exodus 19:4), an emblem of God’s providential care. The eagle fears no bird from above to hurt her young, only the arrow from beneath. Therefore she carries them upon her wings that the arrow must first hit her before it can come at her young ones. Thus God carries his children upon the wings of providence, and they are such that there is no clipping these wings, nor can any arrow hurt them.

[2] God shields off SPIRITUAL evils from his children. ‘There shall no evil befall you’ (Psalm 91:10). God does not say that no affliction shall befall us—but no evil.
But some may say, that sometimes evil in this sense befalls the godly. They spot themselves with sin. I answer:
But that evil shall not be fatal. As sin is in itself deadly—but being tempered with repentance and mixed with the sacred ointment of Christ’s blood, the venomous damning nature of it is taken away!

6. If we are his children—then God will reveal to us the great and wonderful things of his Word. ‘I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children’ (Matthew 11:25). A father will teach his children. The child goes to his father, saying, ‘Father, teach me my lesson’. So David goes to God: ‘Teach me to do your will, for you are my God’ (Psalm 143:10). The Lord glories in this title, ‘I am the Lord your God—who teaches you to profit’ (Isaiah 48:17). God’s children have that anointing which teaches them all things necessary to salvation. They see those mysteries which are veiled over to carnal eyes, as Elisha saw those horses and chariots of fire which his servant did not see (2 Kings 6:17). The adopted see their own sins, Satan’s snares, and Christ’s beauty—but those whom the god of the world has blinded, cannot discern these truths.

Whence was it that David understood more than the ancients? (Psalm 119:100) He had a Father to teach him. God was his instructor. ‘O God, you have taught me from my youth’ (Psalm 71:17). Many a child of God complains of ignorance and dullness. Remember this—your Father will be your tutor. He has promised to give ‘his Spirit to lead you into all truth’ (John 16:13). And God not only informs the understanding—but inclines the will. He not only teaches us what we should do—but enables us to do it. ‘I will cause you to walk in my statutes’ (Ezekiel 36:27). What a glorious privilege is this, to have the star of the Word pointing us to Christ, and the loadstone of the Spirit drawing us to Christ!

7. If we are his children—this gives us boldness in prayer. The child goes with confidence to his father, and he cannot find in his heart to deny him: ‘How much more shall your heavenly Father give his Holy Spirit to those who ask him!’ (Luke 11:13). All the father has, is for his child. If you come to God for pardon, for brokenness of heart—God cannot deny his child. Whom does he keep his mercies in store for—but his children?

And that which may give God’s children holy boldness in prayer is this; when they consider God not only in the relation of a father—but as having the disposition of a father. Some parents are of a morose, rugged nature—but God is ‘the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort’ (2 Corinthians 1:3). He begets all the affections which are in the world. In prayer we should look upon God under this notion, ‘a Father of mercy’, sitting upon a ‘throne of grace’. We should run to this heavenly Father in all conditions!

We should run to our heavenly Father with our sins—as that sick child who, as soon as he found himself ill, he ran to his father to support him—’My head! My head!’ (2 Kings 4:19). So in case of sin, run to God and say: “My heart, my heart! O this dead heart, Father, quicken it! This hard heart, Father, soften it! Father, my heart, my heart!”

In our temptations: A child, when another strikes him, runs to his father and complains. So when the devil strikes us by his temptations, let us run to our Father: ‘Father, Satan assaults and hurls in his fiery darts at me! He would not only wound my peace—but your glory. Father, take off the tempter! It is your child who is assaulted by this ‘red dragon’. Father, will you not ‘bruise Satan’ under my feet?’ What a sweet privilege is this! When any burden lies upon our hearts, we may go to our Father and unload all our cares and griefs into his loving bosom!

8. If we are God’s children—then we are in a state of freedom. Claudius Lysias valued his Roman freedom at a high rate (Acts 22:20). A state of sonship is a state of freedom. This is not to be understood in an Antinomian sense—that the children of God are freed from the rule of the moral law. This is such a freedom as rebels take. Was it ever heard that a child should be freed from duty to his parents? But the freedom which God’s children have, is a holy freedom. They are freed from ‘the law of sin’ (Romans 8:2).

It is the sad misery of an unregenerate person, that he is in a state of vassalage. He is under the tyranny of sin. Justin Martyr used to say, ‘It is the greatest slavery in the world for a man to be a slave to his own passions!’ A wicked man is as much a slave as he who works in the galley! Look into his heart and there are legions of lusts ruling him. He must do what sin will have him to do. A slave is at the service of a usurping tyrant. If he bids him dig in the mine, or hew in the quarries, or tug at the oar—he must do it. Thus every wicked man must do what corrupt nature inspired by the devil, bids him to do. If sin bids him be drunk, be unchaste—he is at the command of sin, as the donkey is at the command of the driver. Sin first enslaves—and then damns!

But the children of God, though they are not free from the indwelling of sin—yet they are freed from the dominion of sin. All sin’s commands are like laws repealed, which are not in force. Though sin lives in a child of God—it does not reign. ‘Sin shall not have dominion over you’ (Romans 6:14). Sin does not have a coercive power over a child of God. There is a principle of grace in his heart which gives check to corruption. This is a believer’s comfort—though sin is not removed—yet it is subdued; and though he cannot keep sin out—yet he keeps sin under.

The saints of God are said to ‘crucify the flesh’ (Galatians 5:24). Crucifying was a lingering death. First one member died, then another. Every child of God crucifies sin. Some limb of the old man is ever and anon dropping off. Though sin does not die totally—it dies daily. This is the blessed freedom of God’s children, they are freed from the dominion of sin. They are led by the Spirit of God (Romans 8:14). This Spirit makes them free and cheerful in obedience. ‘Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty’ (2 Corinthians 3:17).

9. If we are God’s children then we are heirs to all the promises. The promises are called precious (2 Peter 2:4). The promises are a cabinet of jewels. They are breasts full of the milk of the gospel. The promises are enriched with variety—and are suited to a Christian’s every condition. Does he need pardoning grace? There is a promise which carries forgiveness in it (Jeremiah 31:34). Does he need sanctifying grace? There is a promise of healing (Hosea 14:4). Does he need assisting grace? There is a promise of strength (Isaiah 41:10). And these promises are the children’s bread. The saints are called ‘heirs of the promise’ (Hebrews 6:17). There is Christ and heaven in a promise; and there is never a promise in the Bible but an adopted person may lay a legal claim to it and say, ‘This is mine!’

The natural man who remains still in the old family has nothing to do with these promises. He may read over the promises (as one may read over another man’s will or inventory) but has no right to them. The promises are like a garden of flowers, guarded in and enclosed, which no stranger may gather, only the children of the family. Ishmael was the son of the bond-woman. He had no right to the family. ‘Cast out the bond-woman and her son,’ as Sarah once said to Abraham (Genesis 21:10). So the unbeliever is not adopted, he is not of the household, and God will say at the day of judgment, ‘Cast out this son of the bond-woman into utter darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

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