The Doctor: The Difference

“The difference between being a Christian and not being a Christian is not one of degree, it is one of essence and quality, so that the most unworthy Christian is in a better position than the best man outside Christianity. Perhaps the best way of understanding all this is to think of it in terms of relationship. It is a question of blood, if you like; the humblest and the most unworthy member of the royal family is in a more advantageous position from the standpoint of social arrangements in most countries than the greatest and most able person outside that family. A man outside the royal family may be much more cultured, may be a finer specimen of humanity in every respect, yet on all state occasions and great occasions, he has to follow after the humblest and the least worthy member of the royal family. How do you assess his position? You do not assess it in terms of ability and achievement, you assess it in terms of blood relationship. Now that is precisely what the New Testament says about the Christian. He is one who had become a partaker of the divine nature; he is in an entirely new relationship; he has a new nature and quality; a new order of life has entered into him.” —D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Assurance of Our Salvation, (Crossway, 2000) pp. 137, 138

The Doctor: There’s Too Much “Speaking the Truth in Love”

“What matters, we are told, is that a man should have ‘the spirit of Christ’ and that he should desire to imitate Christ’s example. That makes him a Christian! Doctrinal correctness, they maintain, has been over-emphasized in the past. A man may be shaky on the very Person of Christ may not believe in the doctrine of the Atonement, or in the Virgin birth, or in the literal physical resurrection of our Lord, but if he has an open mind, and is tolerant of other opinions, and is kind and friendly and ‘gracious’ and concerned about others, and especially about suffering and need and anxious to right all wrongs, political and social, he is a true Christian. What a man is, and does, we are told, is of much greater importance than his doctrinal views. Moreover, it is argued, nothing but a demonstration of this so-called ‘Christian spirit’ will have any effect upon those outside the Church who have no interest whatsoever in doctrine. Indeed, to hold doctrinal views strongly and to criticize other views is virtually regarded as sinful and is frequently described as being ‘sub-Christian’. This is how the phrase ‘speaking the truth in love’ is being commonly interpreted.

It would be very easy to give some remarkable and almost astonishing illustrations of what I am saying. For instance, it is quite amusing to notice how a well-known reviewer of religious books, when he comes across any criticism of other views in the book he is reviewing, immediately criticizes the spirit of the author. That seems to be his one test of scholarship! ‘Scholarship’ has come to mean that you find all views very interesting, and that there is something to be said for all points of view. If you want to be regarded as scholarly you must not say that one view is right and the other wrong; you must not criticize, for to criticize is to deny the spirit of Christ, and to be entirely devoid of love. ‘Speaking the truth in love’ has come to mean that you more or less praise everything, but above all, that you never criticize any view strongly, because, after all, there is a certain amount of right and truth in everything.” —D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Christian Unity, (Baker Book House, 1987) p. 243

The Doctor: Admiration without Information or Imitation

“The history of the Church shows clearly that her great and glorious periods, such as during and after the Protestant Reformation, always follow the mighty preaching of doctrine. It is unintelligent to admire great heroes of the faith such as the Covenanters unless you understand them. What made those men the men they were was the fact that they knew the great doctrines of the Christian faith. This is the protein and the iron which give strength. The great doctrines of the faith must be the basis of the Christian diet. Following the doctrine must come the teaching which applies the doctrine.” —D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Christian Unity, (Baker Book House, 1987) p. 205

The Doctor: Reading the Scriptures Will Demand All of You and More

“It is possible for us to read the Scriptures in an utterly profitless manner. If you only read the Scriptures mechanically because you believe it is right and good to do so, or because you have been told to do so, you will probably derive little benefit. You may have an immediate sense of self-satisfaction and self-righteousness because you have read your portion for the day; but that is not to read the Scriptures. Every bit of intelligence we possess is needed as we read the Scriptures; all our faculties and propensities must be employed. Even that is not enough; we must pray for the illumination and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.” —D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Unsearchable Riches of Christ, (Baker Book House, 1988) p. 266

The Doctor: Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?

“For particularly sensitive issues ML-J [Martyn-Lloyd-Jones] was usually sought out by the Graduates Fellowship of the IVF. At their London Reunion on October 4, 1947 he was given the subject, ‘The Position of Evangelicals in their Churches’, and asked to make reference to the whole question of secession. At the conclusion of this address and the discussion which followed, he listed these questions: 

Those who are contemplating withdrawal or secession should ask themselves continually:

  1. Am I absolutely certain that Christ’s honour is really involved, or that my basic Christian liberties are threatened?
  2. Am I going out because it is easier, and am I following the line of least resistance? 
  3. Am I going out because I am impatient? 
  4. Am I going out because I am an egotist and cannot endure being a ‘Brother of the common lot’ with its disadvantages as well as its spiritual advantages? 

Those who are staying in their Church should ask themselves:

  1. Am I staying in and not joining others who may be fighting the Lord’s battle because I am a coward?
  2. Am I staying in because I am trying to persuade myself that I am a man of peace and because peace seems to be worth any price? 
  3. Am I staying in because I am just a vacillator or at a very low spiritual ebb?
  4. Am I swayed by some self-interest or any monetary considerations?”

—Iain Murray, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: The Fight of Faith (Banner of Truth, 2004) p. 184

The Doctor: Have You Been Made Nigh?

“I want to ask you a question. Have you been made nigh? I can tell you, very simply, how to know whether you have or not. If you are still talking about being good enough, you have not been made nigh. If you are still relying on yourself in any shape or form, you are still afar off. If you are still talking of not being good enough, you also have not been made nigh. Because as long as you keep on talking of not being good enough, what you really are saying is that you think you can make yourself good enough. But you never can. You will never be nearer than you are now. Never! If you lived a thousand years you would be no nearer. You will never be good enough to come into the presence of God. So if you are still saying: Ah, that is wonderful, but I am not good enough, I am a sinner, that means you are not made nigh. The one who is made nigh is one who says: I know that I am a sinner, I know the sins of the past, I know that I still have a sinful nature within me; but though I know that, I know that I am in the presence of God, because I am in Christ. I have listened to the voice of the blood of Christ and it has spoken to me of forgiveness, of reconciliation, ofexpiation, of God being satisfied, of God being ‘just and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus’. The blood is sprinkled on my conscience. Let hell try to denounce me, that God accepts me; I am relying only, utterly, entirely, upon Jesus Christ and Him crucified. ‘His blood can make the foulest clean. His blood avails for me.’ In His merits alone I know that I have access to God and that God receives me, that I have been ‘made nigh by the blood of Christ.’” —D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, God’s Way of Reconciliation, (Baker Book House, 1987) p. 11

The Doctor: The Height of Sin

“The fatal mistake is to think of sin always in terms of acts and of actions rather than in terms of nature, and of disposition. The mistake is to think of it in terms of particular things instead of thinking of it, as we should, in terms of our relationship to God. Do you want to know what sin is? I will tell you. Sin is the exact opposite of the attitude and the life which conform to, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.’ If you are not doing that you are a sinner. It does not matter how respectable you are; if you are not living entirely to the glory of God you are a sinner. And the more you imagine that you are perfect in and of yourself and apart from your relationship to God, the greater is your sin. That is why anyone who reads the New Testament objectively can see clearly that the Pharisees of our Lord’s time were greater sinners (if you can use such terms) than were the publicans and open sinners. Why? Because they were self-satisfied, because they were self-sufficient. The height of sin is not to feel any need of the grace of God. There is no greater sin than that. Infinitely worse than committing some sin of the flesh is to feel that you are independent of God, or that Christ need never have died on the cross of Calvary. There is no greater sin than that. That final self-sufficiency, and self-satisfaction, and self righteousness is the sin of sins; it is sin at its height, because it is a spiritual sin.” —D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, God’s Way of Reconciliation, (Baker Book House, 1987) p. 11

The Doctor: Ignorance of Our Impotence

“The trouble with all false evangelism is that it does not start with doctrine, it does not start by realising man’s condition. All fleshly, carnal, manmade evangelism is the result of inadequate understanding of what the apostle teaches us in the first ten verses of this second chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians. If you and I but realised that every man who is yet a sinner is absolutely dominated by ‘the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience,” if we only understood that he is really a child of wrath and dead in trespasses and sins, we would realise that only one power can deal with such an individual, and that is the power of God, the power of the Holy Ghost. And so we would put our confidence, not in man-made organisations, but in the power of God, in the prayer that holds on to God and asks for revival and a descent of the Spirit. We would realise that nothing else can do it. We can change men superficially, we can win men to our side and to our party, we can persuade them to join a church, but we can never raise the spiritually dead; God alone can do that. The realisation of these truths would of necessity determine and control all our evangelism.” —D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, God’s Way of Reconciliation, (Baker Book House, 1987) p. 11,

The Doctor: All Self Made Sinners, No Self Made Saints

“Our starting point must always be, ‘I am what I am by the grace of God,’ and by the power of God. A Christian is the result of the operation of God, nothing less, nothing else. No man can make himself a Christian; God alone makes Christians.” —D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, God’s Ultimate Purpose, (Baker Book House, 1979) p. 395

The Doctor: The Summum Bonum of Knowledge

“The Apostle also prays that the Ephesian Christians may have ‘the spirit of wisdom and revelation,’ that they may come to such a knowledge of God. This is something beyond believing, beyond trusting, even beyond being sealed with the Spirit. The difference is that in the sealing with the Spirit we are given to know that we are His; the Holy Spirit ‘bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God’ (Romans 8 :16). It is God saying to us, ‘Thou art my son, my child.’ Is there anything beyond that? Yes; to know God Himself! That is the summit, the ‘summum bonum.’ It is wonderful to know that I belong to God; it is an infinitely greater privilege and blessing to know God Himself. Such is the knowledge which the Apostle desires for these Ephesian Christians.” —D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, God’s Ultimate Purpose, (Baker Book House, 1979) p. 347