Daily Devotional – The Beatitudes by Thomas Watson Part LXXVIII

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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 those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (v.10)

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 Persecution

We are now come to the last beatitude: ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted

The reasons why the storm of persecution has chiefly fallen upon the ministers are:

1. They have their corruptions as well as others, and lest they should be lifted up ‘through the abundance of revelation’, God lets loose some ‘messenger of Satan’ to vex and persecute them. God sees they have need of the flail to thresh off their husks. The fire which God puts them into, is not to consume, but to refine them.

2. The ministers are Christ’s ensign-bearers. They are the captains of the Lord’s army, therefore they are the most shot at. ‘I am set for the defense of the gospel’ (Philippians 1:17). The Greek word here used alludes to a soldier that is set in the forefront of the battle and has all the bullets flying about his ears. The minister’s work is to preach against men’s sins, which are as dear to them as their right eye—and they cannot endure this. Every man’s sin is his king to which he yields love and subjection. Now as Pilate said, ‘Shall I crucify your king?’ Men will not endure to have their king-sin crucified. This then being the work of the ministry—to divide between men and their lusts, to part these two old friends—it is no wonder that it meets with so much opposition. When Paul preached against Diana, all the city was in an uproar. We preach against men’s Dianas, those sins which bring them in pleasure and profit—this causes an uproar.

3. From the malice of Satan. The ministers of Christ come to destroy his kingdom, therefore the old serpent will spit all his venom at them. If we tread upon the devil’s head, he will bite us by the heel. The devil sets up several forts and garrisons in men’s hearts—pride, ignorance, unbelief. Now the weapons of the ministry beat down these strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4). Therefore Satan raises his militia, all the force and power of hell against the ministry. The kingdom of Satan is a ‘kingdom of darkness’ (Acts 26:18; Revelation 16:10), and God’s ministers are called the ‘light of the world’ (Matthew 5:14). They come to enlighten those who sit in darkness. This enrages Satan. Therefore he labors to eclipse the lights, to pull down the stars—that his kingdom of darkness may prevail. The devil is called a lion (1 Peter 5:8). The souls of people are the lion’s prey. The ministers’ work is to take away this prey from this lion. Therefore how will he roar upon them, and seek to destroy them!

[1] It shows us what a work the ministry is; though full of dignity—yet full of danger. The persecution of the tongue is the most gentle persecution can be expected. ‘It is not possible’ (says Luther) ‘to be a faithful preacher and not to meet with trials and oppositions.’

[2] It shows the corruption of men’s nature since the fall. They are their own enemies. They persecute those who come to do them most good. What is the work of the ministry, but to save men’s souls from hell? to pull them as ‘brands out of the fire’. Yet worldly men are angry at this. We do not hate the physician who brings such a remedy as makes us nauseated, because it is to make us well; nor the surgeon who lances the flesh, because it is in order to a cure. Why then should we quarrel with the minister? What is our work but to bring men to heaven? ‘We are ambassadors for Christ . . .’ (2 Corinthians 5:20). We would have a peace made up between you and God; yet this is the folly of depraved nature, to requite evil for good.

Aristoxenus used to moisten his flowers with wine, honey, and perfumes that they might not only smell more fragrantly but put forth more fruit. So should we do with our ministers. Give them wine and honey. Encourage them in their work that they might act more vigorously. But instead of this we give them gall and vinegar to drink. We hate and persecute them. Most deal with their ministers as Israel did with Moses. He prayed for them and wrought miracles for them—yet they were continually quarreling with him and sometimes ready to take away his life.

[3] If the fury of the world is against the ministers, then you who fear God had need pray much for them. ‘Pray for us, that the Word of the Lord may have free course, and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men.’ (2 Thessalonians 3:1, 2). People should pray for their ministers that God would give them wisdom of the serpent—that they may not betray themselves to danger by indiscretion; and the boldness of the lion—that they may not betray the truth by fear.

5. What that suffering persecution is, which makes a man blessed.

1. I shall show what that suffering is, which will NOT make us blessed.

[1] That is not Christian suffering, when we pull a cross upon ourselves. There is little comfort in such suffering. Augustine speaks of some in his time who were called Circumcellions, who out of a zeal for martyrdom, would run themselves into sufferings. These were accessory to their own death, like King Saul who fell upon his own sword. We are bound by all lawful means to preserve our own lives. Jesus Christ did not suffer until he was called to it. Suspect that to be a temptation, which bids us cast ourselves down into sufferings. When men through rashness run themselves into trouble, it is a cross of their own making and not of God’s laying upon them.

[2] That is not Christian suffering, when we suffer for our offences. ‘Let none of you suffer as an evildoer’ (1 Peter 4:15). ‘We indeed suffer justly’ (Luke 23:41). I am not of Cyprian’s mind that the thief on the cross suffered as a martyr. No! he suffered as an evildoer! Christ indeed took pity on him and saved him. He died a saint—but not a martyr. When men suffer by the hand of the magistrate for their uncleanness, blasphemies etc., these do not suffer persecution—but execution. They die not as martyrs—but as malefactors. They suffer evil—for being evil.

[3] That is not Christian suffering, when they suffer, out of sinister respects, to be cried up as head of a party, or to keep up a faction. The apostle implies that a man may give his body to be burned—yet go to hell (1 Corinthians 13:3). Ambitious men may sacrifice their lives to purchase fame. These are the devil’s martyrs.

2. What that suffering persecution is, which will make us blessed, and shall wear the crown of martyrdom.

[1] We suffer as a Christian, when we suffer in a good cause. So it is in the text. ‘Blessed are those who suffer for righteousness sake’. It is the cause which makes a martyr. When we suffer for the truth and espouse the quarrel of true religion, this is to suffer for righteousness’ sake. ‘For the hope of Israel, I am bound with this chain’ (Acts 28:20).

[2] We suffer as a Christian, when we suffer with a good conscience. A man may have a good cause—and a bad conscience. He may suffer for ‘righteousness sake’—yet he himself be unrighteous. Paul, as he had a just cause, so he had a pure conscience. ‘I have lived in all good conscience to this day’ (Acts 23:1). Paul kept a good conscience to his dying day. It has made the saints go as cheerfully to the stake—as if they had been going to a crown. See to it that there is no flaw in conscience. A ship that is to sail upon the waters must be preserved from leaking. When Christians are to sail on the waters of persecution, let them take heed there be no leak of guilt in their conscience. He who suffers (though it is in God’s own cause) with a bad conscience, suffers two hells; a hell of persecution, and a hell of damnation.

[3] We suffer as a Christian, when we have a good call. ‘You shall be brought before kings . . .’ (Matthew 10:18). There is no question but a man may so far consult for his safety that if God by his providence opens a door, he may flee in time of persecution (Matthew 10:23). But when he is brought before kings, and the case is such that either he must suffer, or the truth must suffer—here is a clear call to suffering, and this is reckoned for martyrdom.

[4] We suffer as a Christian, when we have good ends in our suffering, namely, that we may glorify God, set a seal to the truth, and show our love to Christ. ‘You shall be brought before kings for my sake’ (Matthew 10:18). The primitive Christians burned more in love, than in fire. When we look at God in our sufferings and are willing to make his crown flourish, though it be in our ashes—this is that suffering which carries away the garland of glory.

[5] When we suffer with Christian virtues. ‘If any man suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed’ (1 Peter 4:16). To suffer as a Christian is to suffer with such a spirit as becomes a Christian, which is:

When we suffer with patience. ‘Take, my brethren, the prophets for an example of suffering affliction and of patience’ (James 5:10). A Christian must not repine but say, ‘Shall I not drink the cup’ of martyrdom which my Father has given me? There should be such a spirit of meekness in a Christian’s suffering, that it should be hard to say which is greater—his persecution or his patience. When Job had lost all, he kept the breastplate of innocence and the shield of patience. An impatient martyr is a contradiction.

To suffer as Christians is when we suffer with courage. Courage is a Christian’s armor. It steels and animates him. The three Hebrew children, or rather the three champions, were of brave heroic spirits. They do not say to the king, ‘We ought not to serve your gods’—but ‘We will not!’ (Daniel 3:18). Neither Nebuchadnezzar’s music nor his furnace could alter their resolution. Tertullian was called an adamant, for his invincible courage. Holy courage makes us (as one of the fathers says) ‘have such faces of brass that we are not ashamed of the cross’. This is to suffer as Christians, when we are meek yet resolute. The more the fire is blown—the more it flames. So it is with a brave-spirited Christian. The more opposition he meets with—the more zeal and courage flames forth.

To suffer as Christians is to suffer with cheerfulness. Patience is a bearing the cross; cheerfulness is a taking up the cross. Christ suffered for us cheerfully. His death was a freewill offering (Luke 12:50). He thirsted to drink of that cup of blood! Such must our sufferings be for Christ. Cheerfulness perfumes suffering and makes it the sacrifice of a sweet-smelling savor to God. Thus Moses suffered cheerfully. ‘Moses, when he was come to years, chose to suffer affliction with the people of God,rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season’ (Hebrews 11:24, 25). Observe: ‘When he was come to years’: It was no childish act. It was when he was of years of discretion. ‘He chose to suffer affliction.’ Suffering was not so much his task—as his choice. The cross was not so much imposed—as embraced. This is to suffer as Christians, when we are volunteers; we take up the cross cheerfully, nay, joyfully. ‘They departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name’ (Acts 5:41). Or as it is more emphatic in the original, ‘They rejoiced that they were so far graced as to be disgraced for the name of Christ’. Tertullian says of the primitive Christians, that they took more comfort in their sufferings than in their deliverance. And indeed well may a Christian be joyful in suffering, because it is a great favor when God honors a man to be a witness to the truth. Christ’s marks in Paul’s body were prints of glory. The saints have worn their sufferings as ornaments. Ignatius’ chains were his jewels. Never have any princes been so famous for their victories, as the martyrs for their sufferings.

We suffer as Christians when we suffer and pray for our persecutors. ‘Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you’ (Luke 6:27-28).

There are two reasons why we should pray for our persecutors.

Because our prayers may be a means to convert them. Stephen prayed for his persecutors: ‘Lord, lay not this sin to their charge’ (Acts 7:60). And this prayer was effectual to some of their conversions. Augustine says that the church of God was indebted to Stephen’s prayer for all that benefit which was reaped by Paul’s ministry.
We should pray for our persecutors because they do us good, though against their will. They shall increase our reward. Every reproach shall add to our glory. Every injury shall serve to make our crown heavier. As Gregory Nazianzen speaks in one of his orations, Every stone which was thrown at Stephen was a precious stone which enriched him and made him shine brighter in the kingdom of heaven.

Daily Devotional – The Beatitudes by Thomas Watson Part LXXVII

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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 those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (v.10)

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 Persecution

We are now come to the last beatitude: ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted . . ‘. Our Lord Christ would have us reckon the cost. ‘Which of you intending to build a tower sits not down first and counts the cost, whether he have enough to finish it?’ (Luke 14:28). Religion will cost us the tears of repentance and the blood of persecution. But we see here a great encouragement that may keep us from fainting in the day of adversity. For the present, blessed; for the future, crowned.

The words fall into two general parts.

1. The condition of the godly in this life: ‘They are persecuted’.

2. Their reward after this life: ‘Theirs is the kingdom of heaven’.

I shall speak chiefly of the first, and wind in the other in the application. The observation is that true godliness is usually attended with persecution. ‘We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God’ (Acts 14:22). ‘The Jews stirred up the chief men of the city and raised persecution against Paul . . .’ (Acts 13:50). Luther makes persecution the very definition of a Christian. Though Christ died to take away the curse from us—yet not to take away the cross from us. Those stones which are cut out for a building are first under the saw and hammer—to be hewed and squared. The godly are called ‘living stones’ (1 Peter 2:5). And they must be hewn and polished by the persecutor’s hand, that they may be fit for the heavenly building.

The saints have no charter of exemption from trials. Though they live ever so meek, merciful, pure in heart—their piety will not shield them from sufferings. They must hang their harp on the willows and take the cross. The way to heaven is by way of thorns and blood. Though it be full of roses in regard of the comforts of the Holy Spirit—yet it is full of thorns in regard of persecutions. Before Israel got to Canaan, a land flowing with milk and honey, they must go through a wilderness of serpents and a Red Sea. So the children of God in their passage to the holy land must meet with fiery serpents and a red sea of persecution. It is a saying of Ambrose, ‘There is no Abel, but has his Cain.’ Paul fought with beasts at Ephesus (1 Corinthians 15:32). Set it down as a maxim—if you will follow Christ, you must see the swords and staves. ‘Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.’ (2 Timothy 3:12). Put the cross in your creed. For the amplification of this, there are several things we are to take cognizance of.

1. What is meant by persecution.
2. The several kinds of persecution.
3. Why there must be persecution.
4. The chief persecutions are raised against the ministers of Christ.
5. What that persecution is, which makes a man blessed.

1. What is meant by persecution? The Greek word ‘to persecute’, signifies ‘to vex and molest’, sometimes ‘to prosecute another’, to ‘arraign him at the bar’, and ‘to pursue him to the death’. A persecutor is a ‘pricking briar’ (Ezekiel 28:24); therefore the church is described to be a ‘lily among thorns’ (Canticles 2:2).

2. What are the several kinds of persecution? There is a twofold persecution; a persecution of the hand; a persecution of the tongue.

1. A persecution of the HAND. ‘Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted?’ (Acts 7:52). ‘For your sake we are killed all the day long’ (Romans 8:36; Galatians 4:29). This I call a bloody persecution, when the people of God are persecuted with fire and sword. So we read of the ten persecutions in the time of Nero, Domitian, Trajan etc.; and of the Marian persecution. England for five years drank a cup of blood, and lately Christians in Bohemia have been scourged to death with the rod of the persecutor. God’s Church has always, like Abraham’s ram, been tied in a bush of thorns.

2. The persecution of the TONGUE, which is twofold.

[1] Reviling. This few think of or lay to heart—but it is called in the text, persecution. ‘When men shall revile you and persecute you’. This is tongue persecution. ‘His words were drawn swords’ (Psalm 55:21). You may kill a man as well in his name, as in his person. A good name is as ‘precious ointment’ (Ecclesiastes 7:1). A good conscience and a good name is like a gold ring set with a rich diamond. Now to smite another by his name, is by our Savior called persecution. Thus the primitive Christians endured the persecution of the tongue. ‘They had trial of cruel mockings’ (Hebrews 2:36). David was ‘the song of the drunkards’ (Psalm 69:12). They would sit on their ale-bench and jeer at him. How frequently do the wicked cast out the squibs of reproach at God’s children: ‘These are the holy ones!’ Little do they think what they do. They are now doing Cain’s work! They are persecuting.

[2] Slandering. So it is in the text: ‘When they shall persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely’. Slandering is tongue persecution. Thus Paul was slandered in his doctrine. Report had it that he preached, ‘Men might do evil that good might come of it’ (Romans 3:8). Thus Christ who cast out devils—was charged to have a devil (John 8:48). The primitive Christians were falsely accused for killing their children, and for incest. ‘They laid to my charge things that I knew not’ (Psalm 35:11)
Let us take heed of becoming persecutors. Some think there is no persecution but fire and sword. Yes, there is persecution of the tongue. There are many of these persecutors nowadays, who by a devilish chemistry can turn gold into dung—the precious names of God’s saints into reproach and disgrace! There have been many punished for clipping of coin. Of how much sorer punishment shall they be thought worthy, who clip the names of God’s people to make them weigh lighter!

3. WHY there must be persecution. I answer for two reasons.

1. In regard of GOD: his decree and his design.

God’s DECREE: ‘We are appointed ‘hereunto’ (1 Thessalonians 3:3). Whoever brings the suffering—God sends it! God bade Shimei curse. Shimei’s tongue was the arrow—but it was God who shot it!

God’s DESIGN. God has a twofold design in the persecutions of his children.

[1] TRIALS. ‘Many shall be tried’ (Daniel 12:10). Persecution is the touchstone of sincerity. It discovers true saints from hypocrites. Unsound hearts look good in prosperity—but in time of persecution fall away (Matthew 13:20, 21). Hypocrites cannot sail in stormy weather. They will follow Christ to Mount Olivet—but not to Mount Calvary. Like green timber they shrink in the scorching sun of persecution. If trouble arises, hypocrites will rather make Demas their choice than, Moses their choice. They will prefer thirty pieces of silver before Christ. God will have persecutions in the world to make a discovery of men. Suffering times are sifting times. ‘When I am tried I shall come forth as gold’ (Job 23:10). Job had a furnace-faith. A Christian of right breed (who is born of God), whatever he loses, will ‘hold fast his integrity’ (Job 2:3). Christ’s true disciples will follow him upon the water.

[2] PURITY. God lets his children be in the furnace that they may be ‘partakers of his holiness’ (Hebrews 12:10). The cross is cleansing. It purges out pride, impatience, love of the world. God washes his people in bloody waters to get out their spots and make them look white (Daniel 12:10). ‘I am black—but lovely’ (Canticles 1:5). The torrid zone of persecution made the spouse’s skin black—but her soul lovely. See how differently afflictions work upon the wicked and godly. They make the wicked worse; they make the godly better. Take a cloth that is rotten. If you scour and rub it, it frets and tears; but if you scour a piece of plate, it looks brighter. When afflictions are upon the wicked, they fret against God and tear themselves in impatience—but when the godly are scoured by these, they look brighter.

2. There will be persecutions in regard of the enemies of the church. These vultures prey upon God’s doves. The church has two sorts of enemies.

Open enemies. The wicked hate the godly. There is ‘enmity between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent’ (Genesis 3:15). As in nature there is an antipathy between the elephant and the dragon; and as vultures have an antipathy against sweet smells; so in the wicked there is an antipathy against the people of God. They hate the sweet perfumes of their graces. It is true the saints have their infirmities—but the wicked do not hate them for these—but for their holiness, and from this hatred arises open violence. The thief hates the light, therefore would blow it out.

Secret enemies, who pretend friendship but secretly raise persecutions against the godly. Such are hypocrites and heretics. Paul calls them ‘false brethren’ (2 Corinthians 11:26). The church complains that her own sons had vexed her (Canticles 1:6). That is, those who had been bred up in her bosom and pretended religion and sympathy, these false friends vexed her. The church’s enemies are those ‘of her own house’. Such as are open pretenders, but secret opposers of the faith, are ever worst. They are the vilest and basest of men, who hang forth Christ’s colors—yet fight against him.

4. The fourth particular, is that the chief persecutions are raised against the ministers. Our Lord Christ turns himself directly to the apostles whom he was ready to commission and send abroad to preach: ‘Blessed are you when men shall persecute you’ (verse 11). ‘So persecuted they the prophets before you’ (verse 12). ‘Take, my brethren, the prophets for an example of suffering affliction’ (James 5:10). No sooner is any man a minister—but he is part martyr. The ministers of Christ are his chosen vessels. Now as the best vessel of gold and silver passes through the fire, so God’s chosen vessels pass often through the fire of persecution. Ministers must expect an alarum.

Peter knew how ‘to cast the net on the right side of the ship’, and at one sermon he converted three thousand souls. Yet neither the divinity of his doctrine nor the sanctity of his life could exempt him from persecution. ‘When you shall be old, another shall gird you, and carry you where you would not’. It alludes to his suffering death for Christ. He was (says Eusebius) bound with chains and afterwards crucified at Jerusalem with his head downwards.

Paul, a holy man, who is steeled with courage, and fired with zeal, as soon as he entered into the ministry ‘bonds and persecutions awaited him’ (Acts 9:16; 20:23). He was made up of sufferings. ‘I am ready to be offered up’ (2 Timothy 4:6). He alludes to the drink offerings wherein the wine or blood used in sacrifice was poured out, thereby intimating by what manner of death he would glorify God; not by being sacrificed in the fire—but by pouring out his blood, which was when he was beheaded. And that it might seem no strange thing for God’s ministers to be under the heat and rage of persecution, Stephen puts the question, ‘Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted?’ (Acts 7:52). Ignatius was torn with wild beasts. Cyprian and Polycarp were martyred. Maximus, the emperor gave charge to his officers to put none to death but the governors and pastors of the Church

Daily Devotional – The Beatitudes by Thomas Watson Part LXXVI

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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

Exhortations

1. There is a bill of indictment against those who declare to the world they are not the children of God—all profane people. These have damnation written upon their forehead.

Scoffers at religion. It were blasphemy to call these the children of God. Will a true child jeer at his Father’s picture?

Drunkards, who drown reason and stupefy conscience. These declare their sin as Sodom! They are children indeed—but ‘cursed children!’ (2 Peter 2:14).

2. Exhortation to believers, which consists of two branches.

[1] Let us prove ourselves to be the children of God. 

[2] Let us carry ourselves as the children of God.

[1] Let us prove ourselves to be the children of God. There are many false and unscriptural evidences.

Says one, ‘The minister thinks me to be godly, and can he be mistaken?’
Others can but see the outward carriage and deportment. If that is fair, the minister may by the rule of charity, judge well of you. But what does God say? He is your judge. Are you a saint in God’s calendar? It is a poor thing to have an applauding world—and an accusing God.
‘Oh but,’ says another, ‘I hope I am a child of God; I love my heavenly Father.’

Why do you love God? Perhaps because God gives you food and wine. This is a mercenary love, a love to yourself more than to God. You may lead a sheep all the field over with a bunch of hay in your hand—but throw away the hay, now the sheep will follow you no longer. So the squint-eyed hypocrite loves God only for the provender. When this fails, his affection fails too.
But leaving these vain and false evidences of adoption, let us enquire for a sound evidence. The main evidence of adoption is sanctification. Search, O Christian, whether the work of sanctification has passed upon your soul! Is your understanding sanctified to discern the things which are excellent? Is your will sanctified to embrace heavenly objects? Do you love where God loves—and hate where God hates? Are you a holy person? This argues the heart of a child of God. God will never reject those who have his image and superscription upon them!

[2] Let us walk as befits the children of God, and let us deport ourselves as the children of the holy God.

Let us walk as the children of God, in OBEDIENCE. ‘As obedient children’ (1 Peter 1:14). If a stranger bids a child to do a thing, he regards him not. But if his father commands—he presently obeys. Obey God out of love, obey him readily, obey every command. If he bids you to part with your bosom-sin, leave and loathe it. ‘I set cups and jugs of wine before them and invited them to have a drink, but they refused. “No,” they said. “We don’t drink wine, because Jehonadab son of Recab, our ancestor, gave us this command—You and your descendants must never drink wine.’ (Jeremiah 35:5, 6). Thus when Satan and your own heart would be tempting you to a sin and set cups of wine before you, refuse to drink. Say, ‘My heavenly Father has commanded me not to drink!’ Hypocrites will obey God in some things which are consistent either with their credit or profit—but in other things they desire to be excused. Like Esau who obeyed his father in bringing him venison, because probably he liked the sport of hunting—but refused to obey him in a business of greater importance, namely, in the choice of his wife.

Let us walk as the children of God, in HUMILITY. ‘Be clothed with humility’ (1 Peter 5:5). Humility is a lovely garment. Let a child of God look at his face every morning in the looking-glass of God’s Word and see his sinful spots. This will make him walk humbly all the day after. God cannot endure to see his children grow proud. He allows them to fall into sin, as he did Peter, that their plumes of pride may fall off, and that they may walk humbly.

Let us walk as the children of God, in SOBRIETY. ‘But let us who are of the day be sober’ (1 Thessalonians 5:8). God’s children must not do as others. They must be sober.
Our speech must be sober—not rash, not unfitting. ‘Let your speech be seasoned with salt’ (Colossians 4:6). Grace must be the salt which seasons our words and makes them savory. Our words must be solid and weighty, not feathery. God’s children must speak the language of Canaan. Many pretend to be God’s children—but their speech betrays them. Their lips do not drop as a honeycomb—but are like the sink, where all the filth of the house is carried out.

The children of God must be sober in their opinions; hold nothing but what a sober man would hold. ‘Error,’ as Basil says, ‘is a spiritual intoxication, a kind of frenzy.’ If Christ were upon the earth again, he would have patients enough. There are an abundance of spiritual lunatics among us which need healing.
The children of God must be sober in their attire. ‘Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty that depends on fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God’ (1 Peter 3:3-4). God’s children must not be conformed to the world (Romans 12:2). It is not for God’s children to do as others, taking up every fashion. What is a naked breast but a looking-glass in which you may see a vain heart? Walk soberly.

Let us walk as the children of God, in our LABORS. We must be diligent in our calling. Religion does not seal warrants to idleness. It was Jerome’s advice to his friend, to be always well employed. ‘Six days shall you labor’. God sets all his children to work. They must not be like the ‘lilies which neither toil nor spin’. Heaven indeed is a place of rest. ‘They rest from their labors’ (Revelation 14:13). There the saints shall lay aside all their working tools, and take the harp and violin—but while we are here, we must labor in a calling. God will bless our diligence, not our laziness.

Let us walk as the children of God, in MAGNANIMITY and courage. The saints are highborn. They are of the true blood-royal, born of God. They must do nothing sneakingly or sordidly. They must not fear the faces of men. As said that brave-spirited Nehemiah, ‘Shall such a man as I flee?’ (Nehemiah 6:11) so should a child of God say, Shall I be afraid to do my duty? Shall I unworthily comply and prostitute myself to the lusts and desires of men? The children of the most High should do nothing to stain or dishonor their noble birth. A king’s son scorns to do anything that is below him.

Let us walk as the children of God, in SANCTITY (1 Peter 1:16). Holiness is the diadem of beauty. In this let us imitate our heavenly Father. A debauched child is a disgrace to his father. There is nothing which more casts a reflection on our heavenly Father, than the unholy lives of such as profess themselves his children. What will others say? ‘Are these the children of the holy God? Can God be their Father?’ ‘The world blasphemes the name of God because of you’ (Romans 2:24). Oh let us do nothing unworthy of our heavenly Father.

Let us walk as the children of God, in CHEERFULNESS. ‘Why should the son of a king look so dejected morning after morning?’ (2 Samuel 13:4). Why do the children of God walk so pensively? Are they not ‘heirs of heaven’? Perhaps they may meet with hard usage in the world—but let them remember they are the seed-royal, and are of the family of God. Suppose a man were in a strange land, and should meet there with unkind usage—yet he rejoices that he has a great estate in his own country. Just so, should the children of God comfort themselves with this, though they are now in a strange country—yet they have a title to the Jerusalem above; and though sin at present hangs about them (for they still have some relics of their disease) yet shortly they shall get rid of it. At death they shall shake off this viper!

Let us walk as the children of God, in holy LONGINGS and expectations. Children are always longing to be at home. ‘Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling.’ (2 Corinthians 5:2). There is bread enough in our Father’s house. How should we long for home! Death carries a child of God to his Father’s house! Paul desired ‘to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far!’ It is comfortable dying, when by faith we can resign up our souls into our Father’s hands. ‘Father, into your hands I commend my spirit’ (Luke 23:46).

Thus ends the lessons Concerning Peaceableness, next we shall look at the lessons Concerning Persecution

Daily Devotional – The Beatitudes by Thomas Watson Part LXXV

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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

12. And lastly, if we are children of God, we shall never finally perish (John 5:24; 10:28). Those who are adopted—are out of the power of damnation. ‘There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ’ (Romans 8:1). Will a father condemn his own son? God will never disinherit any of his children. Earthly fathers may disinherit for some fault. Reuben for incest lost his birthright (Genesis 49:4). What is the reason parents disinherit their children? Surely this, because they can make them no better. They cannot make them fit for the inheritance. But when we are bad—our heavenly Father knows how to make us better. He can make us fit to inherit. ‘Giving thanks to the Father who has made us fit for the inheritance’ (Colossians 1:12). Therefore it being in his power to make us better, and to work in us fitness for the inheritance, certainly he will never finally disinherit.

Because this is so sweet a privilege, and the life of a Christian’s comfort lies in it, therefore I shall clear it by arguments that the children of God cannot finally perish. The curse of hell and damnation is cut off. Not but that the best of God’s children have that guilt which deserves hell—but Christ is the friend at court, who has purchased their pardon. Therefore the damning power of sin is taken away, which I prove thus:
The children of God cannot finally perish, because God’s justice is satisfied for their sins. The blood of Christ is the price paid not only meritoriously—but efficaciously for all those who believe. This being the ‘blood of God’ (Acts 20:28), justice is fully satisfied and cannot condemn those for whom this blood was shed, and to whom it is applied. Jesus Christ was a substitute. He stood bound for every child of God as a surety. He said to justice, ‘Have patience with them and I will pay you all’, so that the believer cannot be liable to wrath. God will not require the debt twice, both of the surety and the debtor (Romans 3:24, 26). God is not only merciful in pardoning his children—but righteous, ‘He is just to forgive’ (1 John 1:9). It is an act of God’s equity and justice—to spare the sinner when he has been satisfied in the surety.

A damnatory sentence cannot pass upon the children of God, because they are so God’s children, as also they are Christ’s spouse (Canticles 4:11). There is a marriage union between Christ and the saints. Every child of God is a part of Christ. Now, shall a member of Christ perish? A child of God cannot perish—unless Christ perishes. Jesus Christ who is the Husband, is the Judge, and will he condemn his own spouse?
Every child of God is transformed into the likeness of Christ. He has the same Spirit, the same judgment, the same will. He is a living picture of Christ. As Christ bears the saints’ names upon his breast, so they bear his image upon their hearts (Galatians 4:19). Will Christ allow his own image to be destroyed? Theodosius counted them traitors, who defaced his image. Christ will not let his image in believers be defaced and rent. He will not endure to see his own picture take fire. The sea has not only stinking carrion—but jewels thrown into it—but none of God’s jewels shall ever be thrown into the dread sea of hell.

If God’s children could be capable of final perishing, then pardon of sin is no privilege. The Scripture says, ‘Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven’ (Psalm 32:1). But what blessedness is there in having sin forgiven, if afterwards a final and damnatory sentence should pass upon the heirs of promise? What is a man the better for the king’s pardon—if he were condemned after he were pardoned?

If the children of God should be finally disinherited, then the Scripture could not be fulfilled which tells us of glorious rewards. ‘Truly there is a reward for the righteous’ (Psalm 58:11). God sweetens his commands with promises. He ties duty and reward together. One part of the Word carries duty in it, and another part of the Word carries reward. Now if the adopted of God should eternally miscarry, what reward is there for the righteous? And Moses was deceived, in looking to the ‘recompense of the reward’ (Hebrews 11:26). And so by consequence there would be a door opened to despair.
By all which it appears that the children of God cannot be disinherited or reprobated. If they should lose eternal happiness—then Christ would lose his purchase and would die in vain.

Thus we have seen the glorious privileges of the children of God. What an encouragement is here to true religion! How may this tempt men to turn godly! Can the world vie with a child of God? Can the world give such privileges as these? Can the world do that for you, which God does for his children? Can it give you pardon of sin and eternal life? Is not godliness gain? What is there in sin that men should love it? The work of sin is drudgery—and the wages death! Those who see more in sin, than in the privileges of adoption—let them go on and have their ears bored to the devil’s service

Daily Devotional – The Beatitudes by Thomas Watson Part LXXIV

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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

10. If we are children, then we shall have our Father’s blessing. ‘They are the seed which the Lord has blessed’ (Isaiah 61:9). We read that Isaac blessed his son Jacob: ‘May God give you of heaven’s dew and of earth’s richness– an abundance of grain and new wine’ (Genesis 27:28), which was not only a prayer for Jacob—but (as Luther says) a prophecy of that happiness and blessing which should come upon him and all his posterity. Thus every adopted child has his heavenly Father’s benediction. There is a special blessing distilled into all that he possesses. ‘The Lord will bless his people with peace’ (Exodus 23:25; Psalm 29:11). He will not only give them peace—but they shall have it with a blessing. The wicked have the things they enjoy with God’s permission—but the adopted have them with God’s love. The wicked have them by providence; the saints by promise. Isaac had but one blessing to bestow. ‘Have you but one blessing, my father?’ (Genesis 27:38). But God has many blessings for his children. He blesses them in their souls, bodies, names, estate, posterity. He blesses them with the upper springs and the nether springs. He multiplies to bless them and his blessing cannot be reversed. As Isaac said concerning Jacob, ‘I have blessed him, yes and he shall be blessed’ (Genesis 27:33), so God blesses his children and they shall be blessed.

11. If we are God’s children, then all things which happen to them, shall turn to our good. ‘All things work together for good to those who love God’ (Romans 8:28). Both good things and evil things work to their eternal good.

[1] GOOD things work for good to God’s children.

Mercies shall do them good. The mercies of God shall SOFTEN them. David’s heart was overcome with God’s mercy. ‘Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?’ (2 Samuel 7:18). I who was of a poor family, I who held the shepherd’s staff—that now I should hold the royal scepter! Nay, you have spoken of your servant’s house for a great while to come. You have made a promise that my children shall sit upon the throne; yes, that the blessed Messiah shall come of my line and race. And is this the manner of man, O Lord God! As if he had said, ‘Do men show such undeserved kindness?’ See how this good man’s heart was dissolved and softened by mercy! The flint is soonest broken upon a soft pillow.
Mercies make the children of God more FRUITFUL. The ground bears the better crop for the labor which is spent upon it. God gives his children health—and they spend and are spent for Christ. He gives them estates—and they honor the Lord with their substance. The backs and bellies of the poor are the field where they sow the precious seed of their charity. A child of God makes his estate a golden clasp to bind his heart faster to God, a footstool to raise him up higher towards heaven.

Ordinances shall work for good to God’s children. The Word preached shall do them good. It is a savor of life; it is a lamp to the feet and a laver to their hearts. The word preached is a means of spiritual health, a chariot of salvation. It is an engrafting and a transforming word; it is a word with unction, anointing their eyes to see that light. The preaching of the Word is that lattice where Christ looks forth and shows himself to his saints. This golden pipe of the sanctuary conveys the water of life. To the wicked the Word preached works for evil; even the Word of life becomes a savor of death. The same cause may have divers, nay, contrary effects. The sun dissolves the ice—but hardens the clay. To the unregenerate and profane, the Word is not humbling—but hardening. Jesus Christ, the best of preachers, was to some a rock of offence. The Jews sucked death from his sweet lips. It is sad that the breast should kill any. The wicked suck poison from that breast of ordinances, where the children of God suck milk and are nourished unto salvation.

The sacrament works for good to the children of God. In the Word preached the saints hear Christ’s voice; in the sacrament they have his kiss. The Lord’s Supper is to the saints ‘a feast of fat things’. It is a healing and a sealing ordinance. In this chalice, a bleeding Savior is brought in to revive drooping spirits. The sacrament has glorious effects in the hearts of God’s children. It quickens their affections, strengthens their faith, mortifies their sin, revives their hopes, increases their joy. It gives a foretaste of heaven.

[2] EVIL things work for good to God’s children. ‘Unto the upright arises light in the darkness’ (Psalm 112:4).

Poverty works for good to God’s children. It starves their lusts. It increases their graces. ‘Poor in the world—rich in faith’ (James 2:5). Poverty tends to prayer. When God has clipped his children’s wings by poverty—they fly swiftest to the throne of grace.

Sickness works for their good. It shall bring the body of death into a consumption. ‘Though our outward man perishes—yet the inward man is renewed day by day’ (2 Corinthians 4:16). Like those two laurels at Rome—when the one withered the other flourished.’ When the body withers—the soul of a Christian flourishes. How often have we seen a lively faith—in a languishing body! Hezekiah was better on his sick bed—than upon his throne. When he was upon his sickbed he humbles himself and weeps. When he was on his throne he grew proud (Isaiah 39:2). God’s children recover spiritual health, by physical sickness. In this sense, ‘out of weakness they are made strong’ (Hebrews 11:34).

Reproach works for good to God’s children; it increases their grace and their glory.

Disgrace increases their grace. The farmer by fertilizing his ground makes the soil more rich and fertile. God lets the wicked fertilize his people with reproaches and calumnies, that their hearts may be a richer soil for grace to grow in.

Reproach increases their glory. He who unjustly takes from a saint’s credit, shall add to his crown. The sun shines brighter after an eclipse. The more a child of God is eclipsed by reproaches, the brighter he shall shine in the kingdom of heaven.

Persecution to God’s children works for good. The godly may be compared to that plant which grows by cutting. The zeal and love of the saints is blown up by sufferings. Their joy flourishes. Tertullian says the primitive Christians rejoiced more in their persecutions than in their deliverances.

Death works for good to the children of God. It is like the whirlwind to the prophet Elijah, which blew off his mantle—but carried him up to heaven. So death to a child of God is like a boisterous whirlwind which blows off the mantle of his flesh (for the body is but the mantle the soul is wrapped in)—but it carries up the soul to God. This is the glorious privilege of the sons of God. Everything which happens, shall do them good. The children of God, when they come to heaven, shall bless God for all cross providences.

 

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.’

Daily Devotional – The Beatitudes by Thomas Watson Part LXXII

Image result for Beatitudes
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

But there may be another objection, that sometimes God’s children are under the black clouds of desertion. Is not this far from love?

[2] I answer, God has a design of mercy in hiding his face from his adopted ones.
First, it is for the TRIAL of grace, and there are two graces brought to trial in time of desertion, faith and love.

Faith: When we can believe against sense and feeling; when we are without experience—yet can trust to a promise; when we do not have the ‘kisses of God’s mouth’—yet can cleave to ‘the word of his mouth’; this is faith indeed. Here is the sparkling of the diamond.

Love: When God smiles upon us—it is not difficult to love him. But when he seems to put us away in anger (Psalm 27:9), now to love him—this is love indeed. That love sure is as ‘strong as death’ (Canticles 8:6) which the waters of desertion cannot quench.
Secondly, it is for the EXERCISE of grace. We are all for comfort. If it be put to our choice, we would be ever upon Mount Pisgah, looking into Canaan. We are loath to be in trials, agonies, desertions—as if God could not love us except he had us in his arms. It is hard to lie long in the lap of spiritual joy—and not fall asleep. Too much sunshine causes a drought in our graces. Oftentimes when God lets down comfort into the heart, we begin to let down our efforts. As it is with musicians, before they have money they will play you many a sweet lesson—but as soon as you throw them down money they are gone. You hear no more of them. Before joy and assurance, O the sweet music of prayer and repentance! But when God bestows the comforts of his Spirit, we either leave off duty or at least slacken the strings of our violin, and grow remiss in it. You are taken with the money—but God is taken with the music. Grace is better than comfort. Rachel is more beautiful—but Leah is more fruitful. Comfort is fair to look upon—but grace has the fruitful womb. Now the only way to exercise grace and make it more vigorous and lively, is sometimes to ‘walk in darkness and have no light’ (Isaiah 50:16). Faith is a star which shines brightest in the night of desertion. ‘I said, I am cast out of your sight; yet will I look again toward your holy temple’ (Jonah 2:4). Grace usually puts forth its most heroic acts at such a time.

[3] I answer: God may forsake his children in regard of vision—but not in regard of union. Thus it was with Jesus Christ when he cried out, ‘my God, my God! Why have you forsaken me?’ There was not a separation of the union between him and his Father, only a suspension of the vision. God’s love, through the interposition of our sins, may be darkened and eclipsed—but still he is our Father. The sun may be hidden in a cloud—but it is not out of the sky. The promises in time of desertion may be, as it were, sequestered. We do not have the comfort from them as formerly—but still the believer’s union holds good.

[4] I answer: when God hides his face from his child—his heart may be towards him. As Joseph, when he spoke roughly to his brethren and made them believe he would take them for spies, still his heart was towards them and he was as full of love as ever. He had to go aside and weep. So God is full of love to his children even when he seems to appear withdrawn. And as Moses’ mother when she put her child into the basket in the river, and went away a little from it—yet still her eye was toward it. ‘The babe wept’; yes, and the mother wept too. So God, when he goes aside as if he had forsaken his children—yet he is full of sympathy and love towards them. God may change his countenance—but not break his covenant. It is one thing for God to desert, another thing to disinherit.

‘Oh, how can I give you up, Israel? How can I let you go? My heart is torn within me, and my compassion overflows.’ (Hosea 11:8). It is a metaphor taken from a father going to disinherit his son, and while he is setting his hand to the deed, his affections begin to melt and to yearn over him and he thinks thus within himself, ‘Though he is a prodigal child—yet he is my child; I will not disinherit him.’ So says God, ‘How shall I give you up? Though Ephraim has been a rebellious son—yet he is my son, I will not disinherit him.’ God’s thoughts may be full of love when there is a veil upon his face. The Lord may change his dispensation towards his children—but not his disposition. He may have the look of an enemy—but still, the heart of a Father. So that the believer may say, ‘I am adopted; let God do what he will with me; let him take the rod or the staff; it is all the same; He loves me.’

2. The second privilege of adoption is this—if we are his children, then God will bear with many infirmities. A father bears much with a child he loves. ‘I will spare them as a father spares an obedient and dutiful child’ (Malachi 3:17). We often grieve the Spirit, and abuse his kindness. God will pass by much disobedience in his children. ‘He has not seen iniquity in Jacob’ (Numbers 23:21). His love does not make him blind. He sees sin in his people—but not with an eye of revenge. He see their sins with an eye of pity. He sees sin in his children as a physician does a disease in his patient. He has not seen iniquity in Jacob, so as to destroy him. God may use the rod (2 Samuel 7:14), not the scorpion. O how much is God willing to pass by in his children, because they are his children!

God takes notice of the good that is in his children, and passes by the infirmity. God does quite contrary to us. We often take notice of the evil that is in others and overlook the good. Our eye is upon the flaw in the diamond—but we do not observe its sparkling. But God takes notice of the good that is in his children. God sees their faith—and winks at their failings (1 Peter 3:6). ‘Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him Lord’; the Holy Spirit does not mention her unbelief and laughing at the promise—but takes notice of the good in her, namely, her obedience to her husband. ‘She obeyed Abraham, calling him Lord’. God puts his finger upon the scars and infirmities of his children! How much did God wink at—in Israel his firstborn! Israel often provoked him with their murmurings (Deuteronomy 1:27)—but God answered their murmurings with mercies. He spared them as a father spares his son.

3. The third privilege of adoption is this—if we are his children then God will accept of our imperfect services. A parent takes anything in good part from his child. God accepts of the will for the deed (2 Corinthians 8:12). Often times we come with broken prayers—but if we are children, God spells out our meaning and will take our prayers as a grateful present. A father loves to hear his child speak, though he but lisps and stammers. Like a ‘crane, so did I chatter’ (Isaiah 38:14). Good Hezekiah looked upon his praying as chattering—yet that prayer was heard (verse 5). A sigh and groan from a humble heart, goes up as the smoke of incense to God. ‘My groaning is not hidden from you’ (Psalm 38:9).
When all the glistening shows of hypocrites evaporate and come to nothing—a little that a child of God does in sincerity is crowned with acceptance. A father is glad for a letter from his young son, though there are blots in the letter, though there are wrong spellings and broken English. O what blottings are there in our holy things! What broken English sometimes! Yet coming from broken hearts it is accepted. Though there be weakness in duty—yet if there be willingness, the Lord is much taken with it. Says God, “It is my child, and he would do better if he could!” ‘He has accepted us in the beloved!’ (Ephesians 1:6).

4. If we are his children—then God will provide for us. A father will take care for his children. He gives them allowance and lays up a portion (2 Corinthians 12:14). So does our heavenly Father.

He gives us our allowance: ‘The God who fed me all my life long unto this day’ (Genesis 48:15). Whence is our daily bread—but from his daily care? God will not let his children starve, though our unbelief is ready sometimes to question his goodness and say, ‘Can God prepare a table in this wilderness?’ See what arguments Christ brings to prove God’s paternal care for his children. ‘Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?’ (Matthew 6:26). Does a man feed his bird—and will he not feed his child? ‘See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you?’ (Luke 12:27). Does God clothe the lilies—and will he not clothe his lambs? ‘Cast all your cares on him—because he cares for you’ (1 Peter 5:7). As long as his heart is full of love—so long his head will be full of care for his children. This should be as medicine—to kill the worm of unbelief.

As God gives his children a portion along the way—so he lays up a portion for them in eternity. ‘It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom’ (Luke 12:32). Our Father keeps the purse and will give us enough to bear our charges here—and when at death we shall be set upon the shore of eternity, then will our heavenly Father bestow upon us an eternal and glorious kingdom upon us! Lo, here is a portion which can never be summed up

 

Miracles in American History Series: In God We Trust

From the early days of America to the present, the nation faced overwhelming challenges, but men and women of courage stepped forward in faith to see obstacles miraculously overcome. Join William J. Federer to explore these stories in short 5 minute videos.

 

 

God Is Spirit

by John MacArthur / Friday, February 28, 2020

Every form of unbelief is just another version of idolatry. Even atheists refute themselves by voicing hatred for the God they deny. Creation is proof of a Creator, but those who do not acknowledge the God of the Bible often imagine it was the work of some nebulous, distant, and uncaring superpower. Like the Deists who picture God as a great clockmaker, who wound up His creation and then left it to itself, unbelievers—some of whom are professing Christians—go through life hoping this impersonal cosmic force will ultimately work in their favor.

But the true and living God isn’t distant, uncaring, or impersonal. Our attributes of emotion, intellect, and will did not just happen—God made us in His image. He has revealed Himself in the Bible to be a person. The Bible uses personal titles to describe Him. He is called Father. He is pictured as a shepherd. He is called a brother, a friend, a counselor. Scripture uses personal pronouns to refer to Him.  READ MORE

 

Sunday’s Sermon Series

 

Image result for Ps 11:3

“If the foundations [of a godly society] are destroyed, What can the righteous do?” (AMP)

Si fueren destruidos los fundamentos, ¿Qué ha de hacer el justo? (RVR 1960) 


SERMON: 

The Providence of God  by  B.H. Carroll 


Other Resources: 

An Immovable Foundation C.H. Spurgeon