Today we will deal with the third part of the fourth chapter in Watson's Godly Man's Picture. We will cover the topic of being like God in holiness and being reverent in our worship of God.
A godly man is like God. Could there be a more obvious statement? Yet, how many would claim to be godly yet not reflect Him in holiness? This is Watson's concern in this section. A man is not truly a Christian unless he is said to be holy. How then do we know whether or not we are holy? Watson gives two principle evidences: 1) in hating 'the garment spotted by the flesh' and 2) in being advocates for holiness.
There are two uses of this truth. The first is that holiness is exposes whether we are believers or not. Secondly, it ought to cause us to strive to be like God in holiness, because:
- This is God's great design he drives on in the world
- Holiness is that alone which God is delighted with
- Holiness fits us for communion with God
Not only is the godly man holy but he is also a "true worshipper of God". One will not fully understand this section unless you put yourself in the historical situation that Watson found himself. The Puritans were not only fighting a battle with the Church of England being swayed toward "Romanism" but also the "Papists" themselves. In this section, you can hear the warning of Watson to his fellow nonconformist, and also his countrymen's Church of England, not to adulterate the true worship of God.
Watson may seem to come off a little strong here in regards to the regulative principle. Yet, his four consequences to "making a medley in religion" serve as fitting warnings to us today:
- Those who will add to one part of God's worship will be as ready to take away from another
- Those who are for outward commixtures in God's worship are usually regardless of the vitals of religion
- Superstition and profanity kiss each other
- Such as are devoted to superstition are seldom or never converted
In this section Watson does give a very strong defense of not adding "strange fire" to our worship. "And no wonder he is so highly incensed at it, for it is as if God were not wise enough to appoint the manner in which he will be served. Men will try to direct Him, and as if the rules for His worship were defective, they will attempt to correct the copy, and superadd their inventions".
This is not really a matter of discussion, more informative. The word calumniated on page 33 is another word for slandered. I had to look it up. Maybe I was the only one.
Does Watson's statement, "A godly man will not go as far as he may, lest he go further than he should", nullify Christian freedom or actually strengthen it?
Do you like how Watson makes holiness "God's great design for which he drives the world"? Should it not be His glory? Or is Watson correct and simply saying that his glory is his holiness?
Watson says that if God does not "see this stamp [holiness] upon us, he will not own us". Do you think he is referring to the imputed righteousness and holiness of Christ imparted to us, or is he referring to actual holiness that is produced as a fruit from our union with Christ?
In the section on worship, what are examples of things we have added to "worship"? It is my opinion that the Puritans get this correct. They understand, rightly, that true worship is about God and not us. Whenever we make it about us, or worse yet, unbelievers, we are moving from the center of worship. God has directed how He wants to be worshipped, why should we add to that? Or is this too narrow, and actually an unbiblical, way of thinking?
Watson says that, "Those who will introduce into God's worship that which he has not commanded, will be as ready to blot out that which he has commanded". Do you find this experientially true?
Strokes of Genius:
On to Part 4...
"Holiness defends the godly, and they will defend holiness; it defends them from danger, and they will defend it from disgrace." (p33)
"Where God sees his likeness, there he gives his love" (p35)