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

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

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

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

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

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

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