Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Quoting Martyn Lloyd-Jones #2

One of the devotionals I am using this year is Walking with God Day by Day by Martyn Lloyd-Jones. I thought I would share some of my favorite passages month-by-month. (January). Here is what I loved in February:

From February 14th:
The Holy Spirit not only reveals Christ—He also applies His Word, which convicts us of sin. Well, if you do not feel you are a sinner, it is simply because you do not know yourself, and you do not know yourself because the Holy Spirit has not convicted you. Some of the best people who have ever trodden this earth have been those who have been most conscious of their sinfulness. I cannot imagine a worse state for anybody to be in than for him or her to say he or she does not feel he or she is a sinner. The Holy Spirit convicts and convinces of sin, and if He has not done it for you, if you value your own soul, ask Him to do it. Christ came to die for sinners, not for the righteous, and the first work of the Spirit is to convict of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He is a seal given to us to show that we belong to God. He testifies with our spirits that we are the children of God. No Christian has a right to be uncertain about his or her salvation; the Holy Spirit has been given in order that we might be certain, for “the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Romans 8:16).
From February 15th:
The work of the Spirit is to make the Lord Jesus Christ real to us. So do not waste your time trying to picture the Lord Jesus Christ. Do not go and look at portraits of Him that are wholly imaginary. There is a sense, I believe, in which nobody should ever try to paint Him—it is wrong. I do not like these paintings of Christ; they are the efforts of the natural mind. If you want a photograph of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit will give it to you in the inner man. That is the work of the Spirit—to make Christ living, to make us certain He is there, so that when we speak to Him, and He to us, the Spirit makes Him real, and He is formed in us.
From February 17th:
God, being God, cannot simply forgive sin. Now the common idea about God, the one that we have instinctively, is that when we admit we have sinned, all that is necessary is that we should come to God, say we are very sorry, and God will forgive us. But according to the Bible that is impossible, and I do not hesitate to use that word. As a preacher of the Christian Gospel, I am compelled to say this, and I say it with reverence: God, because He is God, cannot just forgive sin like that. If you want me to prove what I am saying, this is how I do it. If God could have forgiven sin just by saying, “I forgive,” He would have done so, and Christ would never have been sent into this world. The work that was given to Him to do, this work, this assignment, this task, was given to the Lord Jesus Christ because, I say again, without it God cannot forgive sin. He must not only justify the ungodly—He must remain just. The way of salvation must be consistent with the character of God. He cannot deny Himself; He cannot change Himself; He is unchangeable. “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). He is “the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17). He is eternally the same, and He is absolutely righteous and holy and just. He cannot remain that and simply forgive sin. It is wrong to say, “God is love, and because He is love, He will forgive me.” My friend, He cannot, because He is God! The work of Christ was essential because of the character of God, and it was essential because of man being in sin; something had to be done to render man fit for God.
From February 18th:
The work of salvation was something that Christ Himself had to do, and He could therefore speak of it as being done. “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” Now I want to put that in the form of a negative like this: The Lord Jesus Christ did not come into this world to tell us what we have to do; He came Himself to do something for us that we could never do for ourselves. These negatives are all so essential, because there are people who believe in the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, but if you ask them what He came into this world to do, their answer will be that He came to tell us what we must do ourselves. Or they talk about good works and say that if we do this or that, we will make ourselves Christian and make ourselves right with God. No! Our Lord says here, “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” The truth that we have to take hold of is that which is emphasized here, and the best way to understand it is to consider what it was He did, and, too, what He was doing beforehand. He came to do certain things Himself, and we are saved by what Christ has done for us, and not by what He tells us to do. The work of salvation is His work and His doing, and He came specifically to do it; and here, in these words, He looks ahead, as it were, to His death on the cross, as well as back to what He has already done. Under the shadow of the cross, he reviews the whole work, and He is able to say, “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” “I have completed it.” So a very good way of testing whether we have a right or wrong way of looking at salvation is to ask ourselves whether we see Christian salvation as something that is exclusively and entirely the work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
From February 19th:
He has done everything that is necessary for man to be reconciled to God. Have you realized, my friends, that this work is finished ? Have you realized that it is finished as far as you are concerned? You are asked whether you are a Christian, and you reply that you are hoping to be, but that you need to do this, that, and the other. No! Christ says, “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” The work has been done, and what proves whether we are truly Christians or not is whether we know and realize that the work has been done and that we then rest, and rest only, upon the finished work of our blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. If we see it all in Him and the work done and completed in Him, it means we are Christians.
From February 21st:
The cross does not only reveal sin for what it is—at one and the same time it pronounces doom on the whole world and everything that belongs to that realm. The cross of Jesus Christ makes this great proclamation. Unless I believe in Him, unless I believe that His death at that hour is the only thing that reconciles me to God, I remain under the wrath of God. If I do not see that the wrath of God against my sin has been borne there by the Son of God, then the alternative is that I must experience the wrath of God. That is the essence of the Christian Gospel. I either believe that my sins have been punished in the body of the Son of God, or else they will be punished in me. It is the judgment of the world. The world apart from Him is under the wrath of God, it is doomed, it is damned, and He alone can save it in that way. There was no other way, for God would never have allowed His Son to endure all that if there had been another way. It is the only way; so it is the judgment of the world.
From February 29th:
I find it quite extraordinary that anybody calling himself a Christian can believe that he can receive the gift of the life of God and then, because of sin, lose it and then accept it again and then lose it once more. You cannot go on being born and dying! No. If you receive the life of God, then God Himself gives you this gift through His Son, and the very quality, the nature, and the character of the life means that it is imperishable. Our Lord had already said in John’s Gospel, “Neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (John 19:28); it is impossible. Or again, the apostle Paul says, “Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39). Furthermore, this is especially true because He Himself has given us this life. So we are in this new relationship, we belong to the family of God, we are separated out of the world, we are separated unto God, we are a part of His plan and purpose, and we belong to Him. That is why Paul can say with such confidence that “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). We are saved by hope, hope that is sure and certain, because it is based upon the character, indeed upon the life, of God Himself. Therefore, if we know that we have eternal life, that should encourage us and strengthen us. It should enable us to know that because God has given us that gift, it is indeed, as God Himself has said, an eternal life.
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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