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The Potter's Clay

Scripture, Theology, the Christian worldview, and other ramblings.

22 June 2005

Expounding the Nature of Godliness, part 2

4. Godliness is an extensive thing

It is a sacred leaven that spreads itself into the whole soul: 'the very God of peace sanctify you wholly' (I Thess. 5:23). There is light in the understanding, order in the affections, pliableness in the will, exemplariness in the life. We do not call a black man white because he has white teeth. He who is good only in some part is not godly. Grace is called 'the new man' (Col. 3:10), not a new eye, or tongue, but a new man. He who is godly is good all over; though he is regenerate only in part, yet it is in every part.

5. Godliness is an intense thing

It does not lie in a dead formality and indifference, but is vigorous and flaming: 'fervent in spirit' (Rom. 12:11). We call water hot when it is so in the third or fourth degree. He whose devotion is inflamed is godly and his heart boils over in holy affections.

6. Godliness is a glorious thing

As the jewel to the ring, so is piety to the soul, bespangling it in God's eyes. Reason makes us men; godliness makes us earthly angels; by it we 'partake of the divine nature' (2 Pet. 1:4). Godliness is near akin to glory; 'glory and virtue' (2 Pet. 1:3). Godliness is glory in the seed, and glory is godliness in the flower.

7. Godliness is a permanent thing

Aristotle says, 'Names are given from the habit'. We do not call the one who blushes sanguine, but the one who is of a ruddy complexion (I Sam. 17:42). A blush of godliness is not enough to distinguish a Christian, but godliness must be the temper and complexion of the soul. Godliness is a fixed thing. There is a great deal of difference between a stake in the hedge and a tree in the garden. A stake rots and moulders, but a tree, having life in it, abides and flourishes. When godliness has taken root in the soul, it abides to eternity: 'his seed remaineth in him' (I John 3:9). Godliness being engraved in the heart by the Holy Ghost, as with the point of a diamond, can never be erased.

--Thomas Watson. A Godly Man's Picture. The Banner of Truth. 13-14.

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