The Riches of God’s Wisdom Seen in the Work of Redemption — Thomas Watson


“God’s wisdom shines forth [in] the work of redemption. (1.) Here was the masterpiece of divine wisdom, to contrive a way to happiness between the sin of man and the justice of God. We may cry out with the apostle, ‘O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God.’ Rom 11:33. This astonished men and angels. If God had put us to find out a way of salvation when we were lost, we could neither have had a head to devise, nor aA Body of Divinity by Thomas Watson heart to desire, what God’s infinite wisdom had found out for us. Mercy had a mind to save sinners, and was loath that the justice of God should be wronged. It is a pity, says Mercy, that such a noble creature as man should be made to be undone; and yet God’s justice must not be a loser. What way then shall be found out? Angels cannot satisfy for the wrong done to God’s justice, nor is it fit that one nature should sin, and another nature suffer. What then? Shall man be for ever lost? Now, while Mercy was thus debating with itself, what to do for the recovery of fallen man, the Wisdom of God stepped in; and thus the oracle spake: – Let God become man; let the Second Person in the Trinity be incarnate, and suffer; and so for fitness he shall be man, and for ability he shall be God; thus justice may be satisfied, and man saved. O the depth of the riches of the wisdom of God, thus to make justice and mercy to kiss each other! Great is this mystery, ‘God manifest in the flesh.’ 1 Tim 3:36. What wisdom was this, that Christ should be made sin, yet know no sin; that God should condemn the sin, yet save the sinner! Here was wisdom, to find out the way of salvation. (2.) The means by which salvation is applied sets forth God’s wisdom; that salvation should be by faith, not by works. Faith is a humble grace, it gives all to Christ; it is an adorer of free grace; and free grace being advanced here, God has his glory; and it is his highest wisdom to exalt his own glory. (3.) The way of working faith declares God’s wisdom. It is wrought by the word preached. ‘Faith comes by hearing.’ Rom 10:17. What is the weak breath of a man to convert a soul? It is like whispering in the ears of a dead man. This is foolishness in the eye of the world; but the Lord loves to show his wisdom by that which seems folly. ‘He has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise.’ I Cor 1:17. Why so? verse 29. ‘That no flesh should glory in his presence.’ Should God convert by the ministry of angels, then we should be ready to glory in angels, and give that honour to them which is due to God; but when God works by weak tools, makes use of men who are of like passions with ourselves, and by them converts, then the power is plainly seen to be of God. ‘We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us.’ 2 Cor 4:7. Herein is God’s wisdom seen, that no flesh may glory in his Presence.”

– Thomas Watson (c. 1620-1686)
taken from: A Body of Divinity