When we note that the complete title of the Thomas Watson book that we have been reading this month is The Godly Man's Picture Drawn with a Scripture Pencil, or, Some Characteristic Marks of a Man who is Going to Heaven, we get some clue as to what Watson wants to accomplish. He wants us to note the "characteristic marks" of God's people.
Page after page he describes these characteristics, drawing heavily from Scripture. Page after page the reader is challenged, at least this one was, when we see that we do not measure up to the mark in demonstrating all of these characteristics, "Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?" (Romans 7:24). Page after page we find cause to pray and to confess.
Watson must have known, to some degree, that this would be the effect upon his readers. I am so, so thankful that he does not conclude his book before telling us, just as Richard Sibbes did in our January reading, that "A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoking flax he will not quench." (Isaiah 42:3, Matt. 12;20) I am so thankful that Watson reminds us that our journey is not complete, our sanctification, while sure, is not yet perfected, and that we are mysteriously joined to Christ our Savior in such a way that no one can snatch us out of His hand.
The benefit in reading a book such as this is found in the fact that we can use it to show us in which ways God has already begun a work in us, as well as discovering those areas in which He still desires to change us. One should read a work like this, mark out those areas of deficiency, and then periodically review in the future to see the work of God in His continuing to sanctify us.
We can say, with the Apostle Paul, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Romans 8:1) In Christ Jesus, trusting Him to do His work in us.
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