Monday, September 29, 2008

The Godly Man's Picture - Thomas Watson

In Sunday school, we are going through a book called The Godly Man’s Picture by Thomas Watson. This week was really great. Every week is great, because Shaun teaches, but this week was especially great!

One section of the chapter was particularly great:

How do the godly reveal their holiness?

In hating "the garment spotted by the flesh" (Jude 23). The godly set themselves against evil, both in purpose and in practice. They are fearful of that which looks like sin (1 Thess. 5:22). The appearance of evil may harm a weak Christian. If it does not defile a man's own conscience, it may offend his brother's conscience; and to sin against him is to sin against Christ (1 Cor. 8:12). A godly man will not go as far as he may, lest he go further than he should.

I was really struck by this. Even though something is not sin in itself, if it causes another believer to stumble, it is sin. Oh, how I could go on and on about how I’m guilty of this. I think I’m safe because I have a clear conscience about something... but it’s not the doing of the thing that is’s me causing another believer to stumble that makes it sin. And my conscience should not be clear. Wowzer!

I pray God will give me wisdom to know and remember that it DOES matter if I am offending a brother or sister in the Lord. It DOES matter how my actions appear. I am NOT free to exercise any freedoms I feel I may have in scripture just because they are not sin....I need to be fearful of anything that could even look like sin to another person.

On the flip side of this, when we are offended by a brother, we should forgive and forgive quickly. God doesn’t want us to walk around being offended, nor does he want us telling everyone about every feeling of offense.

I believe God intended for us to be quick to forgive and careful to not offend. This creates a cycle. A cycle that creates unity in the body of Christ. THAT is what God wants for his people. Holiness that comes from quick forgiveness and thoughtful, careful choices. Unity that comes from holiness in the people of the church.

Why are the ungodly considered godly?

They have nothing of God in them, not one shred of holiness. They call themselves Christians—but blot out the word holiness; you may as well call it day at midnight.

1. So impudent are some, that they boast they are none of the holy ones. Is it not the Spirit of holiness which marks off the sheep of Christ, from the goats? "You were sealed (or marked) with the Holy Spirit" (Eph. 1:13). And is it a matter for men to boast of, that they have none of the Spirit's earmark upon them? Does not the apostle say that "without holiness no man shall see the Lord" (Heb. 12:14)? Such as bless themselves in their unholiness had best go and ring the bells for joy, that they shall never see God.

2. There are others who hate holiness. Sin and holiness never meet but they fight. Holiness discharges its fire of zeal against sin, and sin spits its venom of malice at holiness. Many pretend to love Christ as a Savior—but hate him as he is the Holy One (Acts 3:14).

Let us strive to be like God in holiness.
This is God's great design. As the Lord makes use of all the seasons of the year, frost and heat, to produce the harvest, so all prosperous and adverse providences are for the promoting of the work of holiness in the soul. What is the object of the mission of the Spirit—but to make the heart holy? When the air is unwholesome by reason of fog and mist, the wind is a fan to winnow and purify the air. So the blowing of God's Spirit upon the heart is to purify it, and make it holy.

I love this part. Just like God created the seasons to work together to produce a growing harvest. He also uses seasons of our life, of our walk with him, to produce what should be a more godly and holy harvest.

Is there harvest in my life?

I want to constantly seek to make sure I'm His. To make sure He is at work in me, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

Read more of The Godly Man's Picture.

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