Godliness - Thankful, Loving the Saints, Non-Indulgent, Relationally Good
This month we are continuing with Thomas Watson on characteristics of the godly person from “The Godly Man’s Picture”. This goes together with the earlier series I did in August, 2015. Thomas Watson’s words will be in italics as a means of identification.
A godly person is thankful. The practice of being thankful is a saint-like work that begins now and will continue in heaven. Only a redeemed person can rightly and genuinely thank God; for all others are at enmity with God. A profane man stuck with God’s praise is like a dunghill stuck with flowers. Not only is thankfulness saint-like work, it is a God-exalting work. Though nothing can add the least mite to God’s essential glory, yet praise exalts him in the eyes of others. Consider also the things we are thankful for. Are we thankful in every circumstance? The godly are not just thankful for things asked for, but also genuinely thankful for things unasked for, good or bad; for the godly person is infused with a strong faith that God will work all things for his good (Romans 8:28).
A godly person also loves the Church – not the building, but the people. This is apious and holy love expressed in sincerity, not merely in tongue but in deed and truth (1 John 3:18). It is a spiritual love in that we love the saints not because they may be nice to us, but because of who they are and the good that is in them. This love is extensive. It is not respective of persons. It is also not a cold love, but one that is appreciating and social. It is not a secret love, but one that is demonstrated in practical ways. It is not fickle and sporadic but is characterised by constancy in its action.
A godly person is self controlled, that is, he does not indulge himself in any sin. To indulge oneself in sin is to nurture and feed it. It is to commit it with delight. The godly person makes no peace with their sin but is troubled by it. It is a cancer that needs to be cut out and is not natural to the newly redeemed man. A godly man will not entertain secret sins. All will not sin on a balcony but perhaps they will sin behind the curtain. Nor will a godly person indulge sins that may result in personal gain. Thought tempted with advantage, sin is still heinous. Also, beloved sins, those that our heart is most fond of, which has the most power over us, which we use arguments to defend are not excused as being inevitable but are fought in even more intentional and deliberate ways. Finally, those sins which the world deems acceptable or “little” are not acceptable or of no consequence to the godly.
A godly man is good in his relationships. He is good as a magistrate in that he holds the balance of justice and gives everyone his right. He is good in his ministry, the goodness of which is characterised by carefulness, knowledge, zealousness, plainness, and holiness in heart and life. The godly person is good in their role as a husband or wife, mother or father or child, boss or worker, friend or stranger. The goodness here is demonstrated in a biblical understanding of role, of complementarian relationships. To demonstrate integrity in godliness one must seek to be godly in both the private and public spheres of life.