The Puritans were extremely practical people. They loved the Scripture, but they loved the application of Scripture as well. This is one of the reasons I am drawn to the Puritans.
Enter my wife: one Christmas she purchased me a set of Thomas Manton and Thomas Brooks. I am alternating between the two, working my way through one at a time. I was delighted with Thomas Brooks’ first volume, and I eagerly began Mr. Manton’s.
Currently, I am working my way through his Exposition of the Lord’s Prayer. The doctrine he presents from Matthew 6:9 is, “That God will be so glorified in the world as that his name may be hallowed or sanctified.” (Manton, 85)
He asks the question, “How many ways is God’s name sanctified?” (Manton, 86) and then answers:
- “Upon us, by the righteous executions and judgments of his providence.” (Manton, 86) This thought struck me, for it both profound and yet simple. God gets glory from the righteous as well as the unrighteous.I always found it difficult to grasp how the unrighteous could glorify God. Paul’s description of the unrighteous is anything but flattering (see Romans 1:18-32). God is sanctified when He, through His righteousness, judges the wicked. This, God’s name can be sanctified upon us.
- “By us. And so he is sanctified in our thoughts, words, and actions; in our heart, tongue, or life.” (Manton, 86)This is where Thomas Manton gets practical. How can one sanctify God in one’s thoughts?
- Sanctifying God in our thoughts:
- “When we have awful thoughts of his majesty (Psalm 111:9). (Manton, 86) This is so important, because we often bring God down to our own level. We refer to Him as “daddy”. Of course, we must balance a high view of God with the truth of His immanence and fatherhood (see, for example, Romans 8:15 and Galatians 4:6). Yet, when individuals get a glimpse of the Sovereign God, they are not running up to Him and calling Him daddy; they are bowing before His infinite majesty (see Isaiah 6 and Revelation 1). When we envision God in His unlimited glory we sanctify Him in our thoughts.
- “More especially God is sanctified when, in straits, difficulties, and dangers, we can bear ourselves upon the power and sufficiency of God, and go on resolutely and cheerfully with our duty, notwithstanding discouragements.” (Manton, 86) Manton is referring to a resolute trust in the Sovereign God. Rather than focusing on the problems at hand, we choose to focus on the Perfect God. Manton writes, “To sanctify God is to set apart, as the alone object of fear and trust, that he alone is to be feared and trusted, so that we can see no match for God among the creatures; therefore we are to embolden ourselves in the Lord, and go on cheerfully, when we can counterbalance all fears and dangers with his surpassing excellency.” (Manton, 86) What help! O, how much our souls be blessed and encouraged were we to constantly dwell on our Mighty Maker!
- Sanctifying God in our thoughts:
We shall take up the remainder of how to sanctify God in our hearts. Brothers and sisters, sanctify God in your thoughts. May you ever dwell on the Divine Lord, our Heavenly Father. Be lost in the fields of His infinite strength. Fly through the endless space of His unrivaled rule. Sleep soundly in the bed of His ever-watching care.
With Manton we agree, “It is a practical acknowledgement of God’s matchless excellency. Thus we sanctify God in our hearts.” (Manton, 87)