The Doctor: “I Reckon…” (Romans 8:18)

If a Christian is suffering, Paul’s teaching does not merely administer to him a general word of comfort and of good cheer, telling him that all is well, that things are not as bad as he thinks they are, and that they must get better after a while, that the clouds cannot persist forever, and there is always a silver lining!  That kind of teaching is often presented in the name of Christianity, a mixture of psychology and suggestion treatment.  But it is not Christianity at all!  ‘I reckon’, says the Apostle; I am drawing this deduction; this is the inevitable logical conclusion that I come to as the result of working my way through the great doctrines of the Faith.  And if we are to know truly Christian comfort in our suffering we must do exactly the same.  In other words, we are entitled to say that any Christian who is unhappy because of suffering, or who is guilty of any of the things I have mentioned under my negative headings, is found in such a condition for one reason only, namely, he has not been thinking clearly.  The business of preaching is not merely to make the hearer feel a little happier while he is listening or while he is singing particular hymns; it is not meant to be a way of producing an atmosphere of comfort.  If I do that I am a quack, and a very false friend indeed.  No, the business of preaching is to teach you what to think.  – D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Romans vol. 8, p. 24

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