The fifth anniversary of my blog Transforming Grace is coming up in December. It all started because I wanted somewhere to keep my notes from Thomas Watson’s Exposition of the Beatitudes. It took me 11 months to read it the first time and I thought it was so helpful I’ve just started reading it again.
Before he begins his exposition, Watson sets the scene with various general comments, such as the preaching ministry of Christ and the blessedness already enjoyed by the saints. Here are seven ways believers are already blessed, before considering the beatitudes. I’ve abridged them so that there’s enough to get the gist and whet the appetite for more:
(1) 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.
(2) The saints are already blessed because their sins are not imputed to them. ‘Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity’ (Psalm 32: 2). God’s not imputing iniquity, signifies God’s making of sin not to be. It is as if the man had never sinned.
(3) The saints are already blessed because they are in covenant with God. This is clear by comparing two scriptures: ‘I will be their God’, (Jeremiah 31: 33), and ‘Happy is that people whose God is the Lord’ (Psalm 144: 15).
(4) The saints are already blessed because they have a reversion of heaven, as, on the contrary, he who has hell in reversion is said to be already condemned. ‘He that believeth not is condemned already’ (John 3: 18). He is as sure to be condemned, as if he were condemned already. So he who has heaven in reversion may be said to be already blessed.
(5) The saints are already blessed because they have the first-fruits of blessedness here. We read of the earnest of the Spirit, and the seal (2 Corinthians 1: 22), and the first-fruits (Romans 8: 23). Heaven is already begun in a believer.
(6) The saints may be said in this life to be blessed, because all things tend to make them blessed. ‘All things work together for good to them that love God’ (Romans 8: 28). …Prosperity does them good; adversity does them good. Nay, sin turns to their good. Every trip makes them more watchful. Their maladies are their medicines. Are not they happy persons that have every wind blowing them to the right port?
(7) A saint may be said to be blessed, because part of him is already blessed. He is blessed in his head; Christ, his head, is in glory; Christ and believers make one body mystical; their head is gotten into heaven.