Today we will discuss the tenth characteristic of a godly man: he has the Spirit of God residing in him. Watson starts this section by dismissing the heresy of Montanus and instead proposing that rather than taking upon His essence he flow to us in measure. He reveals himself in us, Watson says by his motions and by his virtues. We are then given seven virtues of the Spirit of God:
- Vivifying (giving of life)
- Jurisdictive (ruling and governing)
- Mollifying (softening)
- Corroborating (confirming, making certain)
Watson then discusses how the Spirit comforts. The Spirit comforts, says Watson, by showing us that we are in a state of grace, by helping us apprehend the love of God, by take us to the blood of Christ, by enabling our conscience to comfort, and through the divine ordinances.
Our author then considers whether or not the wicked may partake of the Holy Spirit. His argument is simple. The wicked only partake, the godly are indwelt. The unregenerate merely taste, the godly feast.
What are the uses of these doctrines? For one, it marks those that do and do not have the Spirit. If a man does not have the Spirit then we know he is not a godly man. Furthermore it marks off those that not only do not possess the Spirit but also deride Him. It admonishes those that do have the Spirit to acknowledge God's distinguishing love and not to grieve the Spirit.
The second use is for those that are godly to strive for the blessed indwelling of the Spirit. We ought to consider how necessary the Spirit is. We cannot pray without Him. We cannot resist temptation without him. We cannot be fruitful without Him. The ordinances will not be effectual without him. Therefore, we must strive to attain more of the Spirit.
Do you agree with Watson's counsel concerning whether or not we are laboring in our strength or God's? Would you add anything, or do you find his three answers sufficient? (His answers are that when we minister humbly, when our aims are pure, and when we glorify God in everything we can know it is through His power and not ours).
As a Southern Baptist I have noticed that the Puritans put more stock in the ordinances than we typically do. Perhaps we labor with such fervor to make certain that people understand them as "only symbols" that we forget they are symbols that display grace. In as much as they preach the Word they can be effectual as conduits of grace. Thoughts?
Do you agree with this quote: "The Spirit is the soul of the Word without which it is but a dead letter"?
What about this one? "The blood of God is not enough without the breath of God."
On page 75 Watson urges those that are godly to "strive for the blessed indwelling of the Spirit". I do not understand his view of the indwelling of the Spirit. Is he simply saying we ought to strive for more of the Spirit (as in "be filled with the Spirit"). If so, then I agree. Does he believe that a believer is saved and then indwelt later? Does anyone have any insight into this?
Strokes of Genius:
On to Part 9...
"The motions of the Spirit are always consonant with the Word." (p68)
"The Spirit gives not only a sufficiency of strength, but a redundance" (p70)
"The Spirit applies whatever Christ has purchased; he shows us that our sins are done away in Christ, and though we are spotted in ourselves, we are undefiled in our Head." (p72)
"Ordinances are the conduit pipes of grace, but the Spirit is the spring." (p76)
"The blood of God is not enough without the breath of God." (p76)
"If we check the motions of the Spirit, we shall lose the comforts of the Spirit." (p77)