Tag Archives: D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

“The happiness of the Christian is a serious happiness” by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

“For the Christian man who mourns because of sin and because of the state of the world, there is this comfort—the comfort of the blessed hope, the glory that yet remains.

So that even here, though he is groaning, he is happy at the same time because of the hope that is set before him. There is this ultimate hope in eternity.

In that eternal state we shall be wholly and entirely blessed, there will be nothing to mar life, nothing to detract from it, nothing to spoil it.

Sorrow and sighing shall be no more; all tears shall be wiped away; and we shall bask for ever and ever in the eternal sunshine, and experience joy and bliss and glory unmixed and unspoiled. ‘Happy are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.’

How true it is. Unless we know that, we are not Christian.

If we are Christian, we do know it, this joy of sins forgiven and the knowledge of it; the joy of reconciliation; the joy of knowing that God takes us back when we have fallen away from Him; the joy and contemplation of the glory that is set before us; the joy that comes from anticipation of the eternal state.

Let us, then, try to define this man who mourns. What sort of a man is he?

He is a sorrowful man, but he is not morose.

He is a sorrowful man, but he is not a miserable man.

He is a serious man, but he is not a solemn man.

He is a sober-minded man, but he is not a sullen man. He is a grave man, but he is never cold or prohibitive.

There is with his gravity a warmth and attraction. This man, in other words, is always serious; but he does not have to affect the seriousness.

The true Christian is never a man who has to put on an appearance of either sadness or joviality. No, no; he is a man who looks at life seriously; he contemplates it spiritually, and he sees in it sin and its effects.

He is a serious, sober-minded man. His outlook is always serious, but because of these views which he has, and his understanding of truth, he also has ‘a joy unspeakable and full of glory’.

So he is like the apostle Paul, ‘groaning within himself’, and yet happy because of his experience of Christ and the glory that is to come.

The Christian is not superficial in any sense, but is fundamentally serious and fundamentally happy.

You see, the joy of the Christian is a holy joy, the happiness of the Christian is a serious happiness.

None of that superficial appearance of happiness and joy! No, no; it is a solemn joy, it is a holy joy, it is a serious happiness; so that, though he is grave and sober-minded and serious, he is never cold and prohibitive.

Indeed, he is like our Lord Himself, groaning, weeping, and yet, ‘for the joy that was set before him’ enduring the cross, despising the shame.

That is the man who mourns; that is the Christian. That is the type of Christian seen in the Church in ages past, when the doctrine of sin was preached and emphasized, and men were not merely urged to take a sudden decision.

A deep doctrine of sin, a high doctrine of joy, and the two together produce this blessed, happy man who mourns, and who at the same time is comforted.

The way to experience that, obviously, is to read the Scriptures, to study and meditate upon them, to pray to God for His Spirit to reveal sin in us to ourselves, and then to reveal to us the Lord Jesus Christ in all His fullness.

‘Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.’(Matt. 5:4)”

–D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, Second edition. (England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1976), 65-66.

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“We stand in the righteousness of Christ” by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

“This is a painful subject, and so far we have looked only at the injunction. We have not yet considered the reason which our Lord adds to the injunction.

We have just taken the two words, and I trust we shall always remember them. ‘Judge not’. (Matt. 7:1)

As we do so let us thank God that we have a gospel which tells us that ‘while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us’, (Rom. 5:8) that not one of us stands in his own righteousness, but in the righteousness of Christ.

Without Him we are damned, utterly lost. We have condemned ourselves by judging others.

But then God the Lord is our Judge, and He has provided a way whereby we pass ‘from judgment unto life’. (John 5:24)

The exhortation is that we should live our lives in this world as people who have passed through the judgment ‘in Christ’, and who now live for Him and live like Him, realizing that we have been saved by His wondrous grace and mercy.”

–D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, Second edition. (England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1976), 485–486.

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“Rejoice that your names are written heaven” by D.A. Carson

“The story is told of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, one of the most influential preachers of the twentieth century.

When he was dying of cancer, one of his friends and former associates asked him, in effect, ‘How are you managing to bear up? You have been accustomed to preaching several times a week. You have begun important Christian enterprises; your influence has extended through tapes and books to Christians on five continents. And now you have been put on the shelf. You are reduced to sitting quietly, sometimes managing a little editing. I am not so much asking therefore how you are coping with the disease itself. Rather, how are you coping with the stress of being out of the swim of things?’

Lloyd-Jones responded in the words of Luke 10: ‘[D]o not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven’ (10:20—though of course Lloyd-Jones would have cited the King James Version).

The quotation was remarkably apposite. The disciples have just returned from a trainee mission, and marvel that ‘even the demons submit to us in your name’ (10:17).

At one level, Jesus encourages them. He assures them that (in some visionary experience?) he has seen Satan fall like lightning from heaven (10:18). Apparently Jesus understands this trainee mission by his disciples as a sign, a way-stage, of Satan’s overthrow, accomplished in principle at the cross (cf. Rev. 12:9–12).

He tells his disciples that they will witness yet more astonishing things than these (Luke 10:18–19). ‘However,’ he adds (and then come the words quoted by Lloyd-Jones), ‘do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven’ (10:20).

It is so easy to rejoice in success. Our self-identity may become entangled with the fruitfulness of our ministry. Of course, that is dangerous when the success turns sour—but that is not the problem here.

Things could not be going better for Jesus’ disciples. And then the danger, of course, is that it is not God who is being worshiped. Our own wonderful acceptance by God himself no longer moves us, but only our apparent success.

This has been the sin of more than a few ‘successful’ pastors, and of no fewer ‘successful’ lay people. While proud of their orthodoxy and while entrusted with a valid mission, they have surreptitiously turned to idolizing something different: success.

Few false gods are so deceitful. When faced with such temptations, it is desperately important to rejoice for the best reasons—and there is none better than that our sins are forgiven, and that by God’s own gracious initiative our names have been written in heaven.”

–D.A. Carson, “February 24” in For the Love of God: a Daily Companion for Discovering the Riches of God’s Word (vol. 1; Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1998), 55.

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“An utter travesty of the Gospel” by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

“Here is something which is truly important, and something which is basic and fundamental to the whole Christian position. The order in which these things are put is absolutely vital. The Apostle does not ask us to do anything until he has first of all emphasized and repeated what God has done for us in Christ.

How often have men given the impression that to be Christian means that you display in your life a kind of general belief of faith, and then you add to it virtue and knowledge and charity! To them the Christian message is an exhortation to us to live a certain type of life, and an exhortation to put these things into practice.

But that is an utter travesty of the Gospel. The Christian Gospel in the first instance does not ask us to do anything. It first of all proclaims and announces to us what God has done for us.

The first statement of the Gospel is not an exhortation to action or to conduct and behavior. Before man is called upon to do anything, he must have received something. Before God calls upon a man to put anything into practice, He has made it possible for man to put it into practice.”

— D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones,  Expository Sermons on 2 Peter (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1983), 23-24.

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“The most staggering thing in the universe” by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

“Test your view of the Cross. Where does this statement about ‘declaring’ His righteousness and so on come into your thinking? Is it something that you just skip over and say: ‘Well, I don’t know what that means. All I know is, that God is love and that He forgives.’ But you should know the meaning of this. This is an essential part of the glorious Gospel. On Calvary God was making a way of salvation so that you and I might be forgiven.

But He had to do so in a way that will leave His character inviolate, that will leave His eternal consistency still absolute and unbroken. Once you begin to look at it like that, you see that this is the most tremendous, the most glorious, the most staggering thing in the universe and in the whole of history. God is there declaring what He has done for us. He is declaring at the same time His own eternal greatness and glory… God was declaring publicly once and forever His eternal justice AND His eternal love. Never separate them, for they belong together in the character of God.”

–D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Cross: The Vindication of God (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1976/1999), 19-20.

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“The Cross is the vindication of God” by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

“The Cross does not merely tell us that God forgives, it tells us that that is God’s way of making forgiveness possible. It is the way in which we understand how God forgives. I will go further: How can God forgive and still remain God? –that is the question. The Cross is the vindication of God.  The Cross is the vindication of the character of God. The Cross not only shows the love of God more gloriously than anything else, it show His righteousness, His justice, His holiness, and all the glory of His eternal attributes. They are all to be seen shining together there. If you do not see them all you have not seen the Cross.”

–D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Cross: The Vindication of God (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1976/1999), 17.

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“The great public act of God” by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

“The death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross on Calvary was not an accident; it was God’s work. It was God who ‘set Him forth’ there. How often is the whole glory of the Cross missed when men sentimentalize it away and say, ‘Ah, He was too good for the world, He was too pure. His teaching was too wonderful; and cruel men crucified Him!’ The result is that we begin to feel sorry for Him, forgetting that He Himself turned on those ‘daughters of Jerusalem’ that were beginning to feel sorry for Him, and said, ‘Weep not for me but weep for yourselves.’

If our view of the Cross is one that makes us feel sorry for the Lord Jesus Christ, it just means that we have never seen it truly. It is God who ‘set Him forth.’ It was not an accident, but something deliberate… It is a great public act of God. God has done something here in public on the stage of the world history, in order that it might be seen, and looked at, and recorded once and forever– the most public action that has ever taken place.”

–D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Cross: The Vindication of God (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1976/1999), 4.

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