grace and glory

In his work on the Beatitudes, the puritan Thomas Watson makes the point early on that those who are saved, have many of the benefits of salvation here and now, not just in the future. (Actually it strikes me as odd to write that – there is a huge pressure to think in the opposite direction, as if all the benefits of salvation were only for here-and-now, and the future blessings more or less irrelevant, or too far into the future to think much about for the moment. I suppose the context is that most of the beatitudes in Matthew 5 are phrased in terms of ‘shall be’ – ‘Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted …’, as Watson himself would surely say it was a mistake to think too much in one direction or the other.)

Anyway, he gives a list of seven points in support of the statement that ‘the godly are blessed already,’ and the first in the list is, In that they are enriched with heavenly blessings (Eph 1:3).

“How are the saints already blessed? In that they are enriched with heavenly blessings, Ephesians 1:3. They are ‘partakers of the divine nature,’ 2 Peter 1:4, not by an incorporation into the divine essence, but by transformation into the divine likeness. This is blessedness begun. As the new-born babe is said to have life in it as well as he who is fully grown, so the saints, who are partakers of the divine nature, have an inchoate blessedness, though they have not arrived yet at perfection. Believers have the seed of God abiding in them, 1 John 3:9. And this is a seed of blessedness. The flower of glory grows out of the seed of grace. Grace and glory differ not in kind but degree. The one is the root, the other the fruit. Grace is glory in the dawning; glory is grace in the meridian. And in this sense that assertion of Augustine is true, ‘Blessed are we in faith and in hope.’ Grace is the first link in the chain of blessedness. Now he that has the first link of the chain in his hand, has the whole chain. …”

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Thomas Watson, The Beatitudes, first published 1660. My copy was published in 1971 by the Banner of Truth; quote from p34-35

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4 thoughts on “grace and glory

  1. Indeed …

    and another afterthought , obviously the full benefits of redemption can’t be experienced until eternity – not that anyone here can imagine much what the ‘full benefits’ really means, but there are twin dangers of forgetting what’s ahead by becoming too absorbed in what is temporary and transient here, and of despising the real blessings and opportunities which believers are given here. Baxter’s point about there being none of the means of grace in heaven is one illustration of that – the life of grace here is inextricably linked with prayer and the scriptures etc, and access to the means of grace is an invaluable/priceless privilege which we must make full use of, but somehow these things will be superseded or swallowed up in something even greater and better for people who get to heaven. Eye has not seen, nor ear heard …

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  2. By the immediate vision of God.

    “the written word of God is like the words of men in everything except error” – so they only tell us of God. God, except in the incarnate Word of God, can’t be touched, smelt, heard, seen or tasted; and then He is touched or smelt in His humanity. In the light of glory we will (well, the saints will, let’s hope we get in there) “see” God in His Divinity. The rest will fall away because there will be no need for it. But the union of God with the soul that is NOW through charity, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (eh! and here I am pootling around thinking of bread boards while the HOLY SPIRIT, like, I mean, GOD, is living in me by grace. category error…) that remains.

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  3. Ah, something you’ve just said here has reminded me of something you said earlier and which i was intending to try and write a post about. (Actually it hasn’t so much reminded me, as made sense of a note-to-self which had hitherto become utterly cryptic … so, thanks on several counts!)

    basically it was something to do with how-or-wehther we can see/know God, but i’ll write something out properly once i’ve reorientated myself to it properly if that’s okay :) got to run now for a meeting on linguistic nativism, which should be fun

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