spirit of bondage (4)

Dr. Curt Daniel writes the following about Thomas Watson:

Thomas Watson (c. 1620-1686). Presbyterian. Studied at Cambridge. One of the most famous Puritan preachers. Popular writer: A Body of Divinity (a systematic theology based on the Westminster Shorter Catechism);The Lord’s Prayer; The Ten Commandments; The Beatitudes; A Divine Cordial; Repentance; others.

Thomas Watson (one of the most popular & pithy of the, not precious, but pernicious Puritans) writes:

“By having the renewing of the Spirit, which is nothing else but regeneration, which is called a being born of the Spirit. John iii. 5. This regenerating work of the Spirit is a transformation, or change of nature. ‘Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.’ Rom xii 2. He who is born of God has a new heart:

new, not for substance, but for qualities. The strings of a viol may be the same, but the tune is altered. Before regeneration, there are spiritual pangs, much heart-breaking for sin. It is called a called a circumcision of the heart. Col ii 11. In circumcision there was a pain in the flesh; so in spiritual circumcision there is a pain in the heart; there is much sorrow arising from a sense of guilt and wrath. The jailor’s trembling was a pang in the new birth. Acts xvi 29. God’s Spirit is a spirit of bondage before it is a spirit of adoption” (Thomas Watson, The Lord’s Prayer, pp. 10-11).

What of the complete removal of the stony heart in Ezekiel 36:26? Note Watson’s “not for substance, but for qualities,” along with his accompanying analogy of the “strings of a viol.” Obviously Watson (and those like-minded with him here) will emptily affirm the truth of Ezekiel 36:26. But for Watson the “regenerating work of the Spirit” leaves the “regenerated” person with the same totally depraved & discordant strings still attached (with only the “tune” being “altered”). It’s like the same polluted stream that was running towards irreligion and immorality has redirected its course, and is now flowing in the direction of outwardly religious and moral Pharisaism. Watson clearly denies the Biblical view of the transforming work of the Spirit of God (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Next Watson speaks of some sort of “pre-regenerating” pangs that take place in those who are “heart-broken” over sin (whatever that means). This “pre-regenerating” activity Watson calls “a circumcision of the heart” (he mangles a Colossians text to support his nefarious notion). Watson’s version of “circumcision of the heart” leaves the sinner ignorant of the righteousness of God revealed in the gospel and blinded to the redemptive glory of God seen in the face of Jesus Christ (Romans 10:1-4; cf. 2 Corinthians 4:3-6).

And not being content to adulterate Colossians to his own destruction, Watson scampers to the book of Acts to further his self-righteous cause. It is here where Watson violently twists the Philippian jailer’s experience into some sort of “pre-regenerating spiritual pang of circumcision” that is woefully ignorant of what true Holy Spirit conviction consists of — which is sin, righteousness, and judgment:

[…] “when the Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas what he needed to do to be saved, [he was] ignorant of the righteousness of God. [He was] lost. There was no Holy Spirit work in [him], only a false spirit. The TRUE SPIRIT convinces men of SIN, of RIGHTEOUSNESS, and of JUDGMENT. Would you say that a person who is in deep despair over his own sin and can’t find a way out has been convinced of righteousness? Of course not. He is yet dead in his sins.”
http://www.outsidethecamp.org/truefalse3.htm

Thomas Watson (and those like-minded with him) confounds the Spirit of God with the spirit of the world. Why do they so confound? Because they have the spirit of the world, and do NOT have the Spirit of God. If they had the Spirit of God, then they would know the things that are freely given by God to those who are indwelt by His Spirit.

“But God revealed them to us by His Spirit, for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the things of a man, except the spirit of a man within him? So also no one has known the things of God except the Spirit of God. But we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit from God, so that we might know the things that are freely given to us by God. Which things we also speak, not in words taught in human wisdom, but in Words taught of the Holy Spirit, comparing spiritual things with spiritual things. But a natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he is not able to know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But the spiritual one discerns all things, but he is discerned by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord? Who will teach Him? But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:10-16).

Watson is a natural man who has NOT the mind of Christ, but the mind of the world. For he is BLINDED to the Biblical fact that ALL who are indwelt by God’s Spirit KNOW the redemptive glory of God in face of Jesus Christ:

“But also if our gospel is being hidden, it has been hidden in those being lost, in whom the god of this age has blinded the thoughts of the unbelieving, so that the brightness of the gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God, should not dawn on them. For we do not proclaim ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves your slaves for the sake of Jesus. Because it is God who said, Out of darkness Light shall shine, who shone in our hearts to give the brightness of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:3-6).

The god of this age has blinded Watson’s thoughts. Watson believes that the brightness of the gospel of the glory of Christ has NOT dawned on ALL who have God’s Spirit — Watson does not believe that this bright and glorious knowledge has dawned on them, because it has not yet dawned on him.

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