Watson begins by comparing the natural man to the spiritual man. The natural man cannot understand the things of God, therefore he "does not see the evil of his heart" nor does he see "the beauties of the Savior". The believer, the spiritual man, on the other hand, experiences the "sweet and delicious" treasure of having the true knowledge of Jesus Christ. How do you know what type of knowledge you have? Watson gives eight "rare ingredients":
- It is a grounded knowledge (it is certain)
- It is an appreciative knowledge (it appreciates the beauty of God)
- It is an enlivening knowledge (it brings about godly affections)
- It is an appropriating knowledge (it applies Christ to the soul)
- It is a transforming knowledge (it changes us)
- It is a self-emptying knowledge (it brings us out of love for self)
- It is a growing knowledge (the more you have the more you desire)
- It is a practical knowledge (it is obedient in practice)
Watson then gives three uses for this doctrine of knowledge. The first of which is to "test ourselves" by this characteristic. By which Watson means, let us see if we have this godliness. He then gives three tests:
- Those who are still in the region of darkness do not have godly knowledge. Watson here does not necessarily mean the darkness of sin. It seems that Watson is more concerned with darkness of being ignorant of the knowledge of God. This knowledge does indeed lead to a hatred of sin, yet, it is also much more.
- Those who do not know God experimentally do not have godly knowledge. These are the men that know about God, yet they do not know God experientially. They have "head" knowledge but not "heart" knowledge.
- Those that have "knowledge" but do not trust Christ do not have godly knowledge. This point is very close to the preceding, the only addition is the application of Christ. It is one thing to know that there is a Savior, it is quite another to trust in him personally. As Watson eloquently puts it, "many in the old world knew there was an ark, but were drowned, because they did not get into it."
The second use of this doctrine is to encourage the those that do not have it to labor for this good knowledge of the Lord. The knowledge that Watson is here referring to is "saving knowledge". How do we get this knowledge? It is not by our power or might, but by God's mercy.
The third use of this doctrine is for those that have found that they do, indeed, have saving knowledge. Watson says that we ought to "bless God for it". We ought to be forever thankful for the work that God has done in us.
Do you agree that, "to compare other things with God is to debase deity"?
On page 25, Watson says, "many Christians are no better than baptized heathens". Is it fitting to refer to them as Christians?
Does this knowledge of God, "usher in salvation" or is it the essence of salvation? (p26)
I find Watson's counsel to the unconverted a little lacking on page 26-27. It is right and true to speak of the work of God in the salvation of the sinner. It is even permissible to let them know that salvation is not ultimately in their hands. Yet, we are called to urge them to repentance and trusting in Christ. Watson does suggest that they "implore the help of God's Spirit". Is this fitting counsel, or ought he to urge them to repentance and belief?
Strokes of Genius:
"True knowledge animates." (p21)
"True knowledge brings a man out of love with himself". (p23)
"There is no going to heaven blindfold." (p25)
"It is one thing not to know, another thing not to be willing to know..." (p25)
"Knowledge which is not applied will only light a man to hell. It would be better to live a savage than to die an infidel under the gospel."
On to Part 2...