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The Potter's Clay

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

15 June 2005

Expounding the Nature of Godliness

Expounding the Nature of Godliness

'EVERY ONE THAT IS GODLY'

It will first be enquired, 'What is godliness?' I answer in general, 'Godliness is the sacred impression and workmanship of God in a man, whereby from being carnal he is made spiritual.' When godliness is wrought in a person, he does not receive a new soul, but he has 'another spirit' Numb. 14:24). The faculties are not new, but the qualities are; the strings are the same, but the tune is corrected. Concerning godliness, I shall lay down these seven maxims or propositions:

I. Godliness is a real thing

It is not a fantasy but a fact. Godliness is not the feverish conceit of a sick brain; a Christian is no enthusiast whose religion is all made up of fancy. Godliness has truth for its foundation; it is called 'the way of truth (Psa. 119:30). Godliness is a ray and beam that shines from God. If God is true, then godliness is true.

2. Godliness is an intrinsic thing

It lies chiefly in the heart: 'circumcision is that of the heart (Rom. 2:29). The dew lies on the leaf, the sap is the root. The moralist's religion is all in the leaf; it consists only in externals, but godliness is a holy sap which is rooted in the soul: 'in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom' (Psa. 51:6). The Chaldean expounds it, 'in the close place of the heart'.

3. Godliness is a supernatural thing

By nature we inherit nothing but evil. 'When we were in the flesh, the motions of sins did work in our members' (Rom. 7:5). We sucked in sin as naturally as our mother's milk, but godliness is the 'wisdom from above' (Jas. 3:17). It is breathed in from heaven. God must light up the lamp of grace in the heart. Weeds grow of themselves; flowers are planted. Godliness is a celestial plant that comes from the New Jerusalem. Therefore it is called a 'fruit of the Spirit' (Gal. 5:22). A man has no more power to change himself than to create himself.

--Thomas Watson. A Godly Man's Picture. The Banner of Truth. 12-13.

(to be continued...)

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