Martyn Lloyd-Jones

The Nature of Worldly Corruption

“…having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.”

– 2 Peter 1:4

 

As a result of sin and the fall, man no longer lives the life that he have been living before; he has become alienated from God and the godly way of life, and the world in which he lives is likewise in a state of corruption. In other words, the world in which we live is a world that is inimical to our best and truest and highest interests; the world is for ever trying to come between us and God. If we listen to the world, as we all do by nature, it makes us not only think less and less of God, but even makes us feel that God is against us. It may even create an enmity against God, and a hatred of God within us. It gives us a positive liking and longing for the things that are hurtful to us, the things that debase us, the things that lower us, the things that drag us further and further away from God. Such is the corruption that is in the world through lust. The characteristic of man’s natural life is that its is a life lived according to desire. Man by nature does not ask, ‘Is it good, is this god-like, is this pure, is this clean, is this elevating, is this spiritual?’ He asks, ‘Do I like it?’ He is governed by his desires, by that which pleases him, and by that which panders to his lower nature. That is what Peter means by corruption – it is the corruption that results from lust or inordinate desire.

– D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Expository Sermons on 2 Peter, pp. 16-17.

Persecuted for Foolishness’ Sake?

Our home group is working our way through the Sermon on the Mount currently and of the resources I’ve used in preparation, I have to say that Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ is the most helpful. Here is the first part of his commentary on v 11:

It does not say, ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted because they are objectionable.’ It does not say, ‘Blessed are those who are having a hard time in their Christian life because they are being difficult.’ It does not say, ‘Blessed are those who are being persecuted as Christians because they are seriously lacking in wisdom and are really foolish and unwise in what they regard as being their testimony.’ It is not that. There is no need for one to elaborate thsi, but so often one has known Christian people who are suffering mild persecution entirely because of their own folly, because of something either in themselves or in what they are doing. But the promise does not apply to such people. It is for righteousness’ sake. Let us be very clear about that. We can bring endless suffering upon ourselves, we can create difficulties for ourselves which are quite unnecessary, because we have some rather foolish notion of witnessing and testifying, or because, in a spirit of self-righteousness, we really do call it down on our own heads. We are often so foolish in these matters. We are slow to realize the difference between prejudice and principle; and we are so slow to understand the difference between being offensive, in a natural sense, because o four particular makeup and temperament, and causing offense because we are righteous.

– Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, p. 112.

Holiness – God’s Work and Ours

No one can attain any degree of holiness without God working in his life, but just as surely no one will attain it without effort on his own part. God has made it possible for us to walk in holiness. But He has given us the responsibility of doing the walking.

– Jerry Bridges

The New Testament calls upon us to take action; it does not tell us that the work of sanctification is going to be done for us…We are in the ‘good fight of faith’, and we have to do the fighting. But, thank God, we are enabled to do it; for the moment we believe, and are justified by faith, and are born again of the Spirit of God, we have the ability. So the New Testament method of sanctification is to remind us of that; and having reminded us of it, it says, ‘Now then, go and do it’.

– Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Christian, Preach to Yourself!

The main art in the matter of spiritual living is to know how to handle yourself. You have to take yourself in hand, preach to yourself, question yourself. . . . You must turn on yourself, upbraid yourself, condemn yourself, exhort yourself, and say to yourself: “Hope thou in God”—instead of muttering in this depressed, unhappy way, and then you must go on to remind yourself of God, Who God is, and . . . what God has done, and what God has pledged Himself to do. Then, having done that, end on this great note: defy yourself, and defy other people, and defy the devil and the whole world, and say with this man: “I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance, who is also the health of my countenance and my God.”

– Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Am I Critical or Hypercritical?

From Lloyd-Jones’ teachings on Matthew 7:1 (“Judge not.”):

Now there is all the difference in the world between being critical and being hypercritical. True criticism is an excellent thing. Unfortunately there is very little of it. But true criticism of literature, or art, or music, or anything else, is one of the highest exercises of the human mind. Criticism in a true sense is never merely destructive; it is constructive, it is appreciation. There is all the difference in the world between exercising criticism and being hypercritical. The man who is guilty of judging, in the sense in which our Lord uses the term here, is the man who is hypercritical, which means that he delights in criticism for its own sake and enjoys it. I am afraid I must go further and say that he is a man who approaches anything which he is asked to criticize expecting to find faults, indeed, almost hoping to find them.

The simplest way, perhaps, of putting all this is to ask you to read 1 Corinthians 13. Look at the negative of everything positive which Paul says about love. Love ‘hopeth all things’, but this spirit hopes for the worst; it gets a malicious, malign satisfaction in finding faults and blemishes. It is a spirit that is always expecting them, and is almost disappointed if it does not find them; it is always on the lookout for them, and rather delights in them. There is no question about that, the hypercritical spirit is never really happy unless it finds these faults. And, of course, the result of all this is that it tends to fix attention upon matters that are indifferent and to make of them matters of vital importance.

[…]

If we ever know the feeling of being rather pleased when we hear something unpleasant about another, that is this wrong spirit. If we are jealous, or envious, and then suddenly hear that the one of whom we are jealous or envious has made a mistake and find there is an immediate sense of pleasure within us, that is it. That is the condition which leads to this spirit of judgment.

– MLJ, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, pp. 432-33.