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Entries in D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (34)


The purpose of life

From Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled, by Martyn Lloyd-Jones:

The main function and purpose of life in this world is to prepare us for the next one. Now let us be clear about this. That does not mean escapism; it does not mean that you turn your back on this world or that you despise life here. It does not mean that you shut yourself up in a monastery or become a monk or a hermit, not at all! Notice what I said -- the main function. There are many other functions. Oh yes, carry on in business or in your profession or in your family life, live it to the maximum; but never forget that the main object of life in this world is to prepare us for the next. That is the whole philosophy of the Bible. It is the secret of all the saints; read again that eleventh chapter of Hebrews. The secret of every one of those men and women was that they were looking "for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." They were "strangers and piligrims on the earth" (vv. 10, 13), and they went on in the journey preparing for that which was to come.


Driving us to God

From Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled, by Martyn Lloyd-Jones:

If you really believe in God, anything that may happen to you will drive you nearer to God, and anything that drives you nearer to him is a "good" thing for you. I will apply this to your experience as I apply it to my own; let us be frank and honest. When life is running smoothly and easily, and the sun is shining in the heavens, and everything is going well, how easy it is to forget all about God. We do not seem to need him, and we forget him, and we are far away from him. But then something goes wrong -- there is an announcement of war, or there is trouble or an accident -- and these thing drive me back to my knees. I then get nearer to God, and "It is good for me that I have been afflicted" because "before I was afflicted I went astray" (Psalm 119:71, 67). Each one of us can echo the sentiment of the psalmist. God himself has to chastise us in order to draw us a little nearer to himself.


The world is in you

Lloyd-Jones discusses overcoming the world. He points out that cloistering oneself off from the world, similar to what the monastic movement did, is ultimately not the answer:

... the world is not only outside us with its sin and temptations and attractions, but it is also inside us -- the flesh, our own unregenerate nature. So in a sense, it is almost childish to think I can overcome the world by taking myself out of it, because when I have gone into my cell the world is still within me; so my attempt is to escape by physical means is almost doomed to failure. This is something that we all must now from experience. We have all been alone, we have all been isolated at certain times; the world has not been there to tempt us. But was all well with us? Were we perfectly happy; were we free from temptation; was the mind and the outlook and the spirit of the world entirely absent? God knows that such is not the case!

You can go away and spend your day on top of a mountain, but you cannot get away from the world; it is in you, so that any retirement to a monastery, or becoming an anchorite or a hermit, is doomed to failure. That is the whole story of Martin Luther; look at the excellent monk in his cell -- fasting, sweating, praying, out of the world in a sense, and yet finding that the world was in him and he could get no peace. Therefore, withdrawal from the world and from society does not get rid of the world in the New Testament sense of the term.


A very thorough and practical test

As he discusses I John 5:1-3, Lloyd-Jones emphasizes that someone who is truly a Christian does not find God's commandments burdensome:

... someone who is truly Christian does not find the commandments of God to go against the grain. He may be acutely aware of his failure -- if he is facing them truly he must be -- but he does not resent them, he loves them. He knows they are right, and wants to keep them and to love them. He does not feel they are a heavy load imposed upon him: he says, rather, 'This is right; this is how I would like to live. I want to be like Christ Himself -- His commandments are not grievous.'

So  here is a very thorough and practical test: is my Christian living a task? Is it something I resent and object to? Do I spend my time trying to get out of it? Am I trying to compromise with the life of the world? Am I just living on the edge of the Christian life, or do I want to get right into the centre and live the life of God and be perfect even as my Father in heaven is perfect? 'His commandments are not grievous' to Christian men and women; they know that is what God asks of them. They love God and therefore they want to keep his commandments.


... if I say I believe this, then I must live like that ... 

Lloyd-Jones speaks about the New Testament method of teaching about holiness:

The living of the Christian life, according to the New Testament, is not primarily dependent upon some experience or some blessing which we have received. It is, rather, the outworking of the truth which we claim to believe. Now I suggest that that can never be repeated too frequently. Go through these New Testament epistles, and I think you will always find that that is their invariable method. The first half of most of these epistles is pure doctrine, a reminder to the people of what God has done to them and the exalted position in which they have been placed. And then the writer says, "Therefore ... "

This is the New Testament method. If I say I believe this, then I must live like that. There is no use in me saying I believe this unless I behave like that, and there are terrible warnings against not doing this. The New Testament teaching of holiness is always in terms of truth.