A Godly Man is Like God

By Thomas Watson; excerpted with minor editing from The Godly Man’s Picture,—

Drawn with a Scripture Pencil, or Some Characteristic Marks of a Man who is Going to Heaven
(BOT, 1992 [666]), 32-35 [Sect. 4 of chap 4, "Showing the Characteristics of a Godly Man"]

He has the same judgement as God; he thinks of things as God does; he has a Godlike disposition; he "partakes of the divine nature" (2 Pet 1:4). A godly man bears God’s name and image; godliness is Godlikeness. It is one thing to profess God, another thing to resemble him.

A godly man is like God in holiness. Holiness is the most brilliant pearl in the King of Heaven’s crown: "glorious in holiness" (Ex 15:11). God’s power makes him mighty; his mercy makes him lovely; but his holiness makes him glorious. The holiness of God is the intrinsic purity of his nature and his abhorrence of sin. A godly man bears some kind of analogy with God in this. He has the holy oil of consecration upon him: "Aaron the saint of the Lord" (Ps 106:16). Holiness is the badge and livery of Christ’s people: "The people of thy holiness" (Is 63:18). The godly are a holy as well as a royal priesthood (1 Pet 2:9). Nor have they only a frontispiece of holiness, like the Egyptian temples which were fair outside, but they are like Solomon’s temple, which had gold inside. They have written upon their heart, ‘Holiness to the Lord.’ The holiness of the saints consists in their conformity to God’s will, which is the rule and pattern of all holiness.

Holiness is a man’s glory. Aaron put on garments "for glory and for beauty" (Ex 28:2). So when a person is invested with the embroidered garment of holiness, it is for glory and beauty.

The goodness of a Christian lies in his holiness, as the goodness of the air lies in its clarity, the worth of gold in its purity.


In what do the godly reveal their holiness?


1. In hating "the garment spotted by the flesh" (Jude 23).The godly set themselves against evil, both in purpose and in practice. They are fearful of that which looks like sin (1 Th 5:22). The appearance of evil may prejudice a weak Christian. If it does not defile a man’s own conscience, it may offend his brother’s conscience; and to sin against him is to sin against Christ (1 Cor 8:12). A godly man will not go as far as he may, lest he go further than he should; he will not swallow all that others (bribed with promotion) may plead for. It is easy to put a golden colour on rotten material.

2. In being advocates for holiness. "I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed" (Ps 119:46). When piety is calumniated in the world, the saints will stand up in its defence; they will wipe the dust of a reproach off the face of religion. Holiness defends the godly, and they will defend holiness; it defends them from danger, and they will defend it from disgrace.

Use 1:

How can those who are unlike God be reputed to be godly? They have nothing of God in them, not one shred of holiness. They call themselves Christians, but blot out the word holiness; you may as well call it day at midnight.

So impudent are some, that they boast they are none of the holy ones. Is it not the Spirit of holiness which marks off the sheep of Christ from the goats? "Ye are sealed (or marked) with the Holy Spirit" (Eph 1:13). And it is a matter for men to boast of, that they have none of the Spirit’s earmark upon them? Does not the apostle say that "without holiness no man shall see the Lord" (Heb 12:14)? Such as bless themselves in their unholiness had best go and ring the bells for joy that they shall never see God.

There are others who hate holiness. Sin and holiness never meet but they fight. Holiness discharges its fire of zeal against sin, and sin spits its venom of malice at holiness. Many pretend to love Christ as a Saviour but hate him as he is the Holy One (Acts 3:14).

Use 2:

Let us strive to be like God in holiness.

1. This is God’s great design he drives on in the world. It is the object of the Word preached. The silver drops of the sanctuary are to water the seed of grace, and make a crop of holiness spring up. What use is there in the promises if not to bribe us to holiness? What are all God’s providential dispensations for, but to promote holiness? As the Lord makes use of all the seasons of the year, frost and heat, to produce the harvest, so all prosperous and adverse providences are for the promoting of the work of holiness in the soul. What is the object of the mission of the Spirit, but to make the heart holy? When the air is unwholesome by reason of fog and mist, the wind is a fan to winnow and purify the air. So the blowing of God’s Spirit upon the heart is to purify it, and make it holy.

2. Holiness is that alone which God is delighted with. When Tamerlane was presented with a pot of gold, he asked whether the gold had his father’s stamp upon it. But when he saw it had the Roman stamp, he rejected it. Holiness is God’s stamp and impress; if he does not see this stamp upon us, he will not own us.

3. Holiness fits us for communion with God. Communion with God is a paradox to the men of the world. Not everyone who hangs about the court speaks with the king. We may approach God in duties, and as it were hang about the court of heaven, yet not have communion with God. That which keeps up the intercourse with God is holiness. The holy heart enjoys much of God’s presence; he feels heart-warming and heart-comforting virtue in an ordinance. Where God sees his likeness, there he gives his love. W

"Know that the Lord has set apart him that is godly for Himself."
Therefore, it is no excuse for him to say, "I do but as others do."
He is to reckon his hours by the sun, not the town clock"

(Thomas Manton).