The Doctor: The Gospel Viewed from Above

“Another way in which the peculiar characteristic of this great Epistle can be stated is that it is a letter in which the Apostle looks at the Christian salvation from the vantage point of the ‘heavenly places’. In all his Epistles he expounds and explains the way of salvation; he deals with particular doctrines, and with arguments or controversies that had arisen in the churches. But the peculiar feature and characteristic of the Epistle to the Ephesians is that here the Apostle seems to be, as he puts it himself, in ‘the heavenly paces’, and he is looking down at the great panorama of salvation and redemption from that particular aspect. The result is that in Epistle there is very little controversy; and that is so because his great concern here was to give to the Ephesians and others to whom the letter is addressed, a panoramic view of this wondrous and glorious work of God in Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Luther says of the Epistle to the Romans that it is ‘the most important document in the New Testament, the gospel in its purest expression’, and in many ways I agree that there is no purer, plainer statement of the gospel than in the Epistle to the Romans. Accepting that as true I would venture to add that if the Epistle to the Romans is the purest expression of the gospel, the Epistle to the Ephesians is the sublimest and the most majestic expression of it. Here the standpoint is a wider one, a larger one. There are statements and passages in this Epistle which really baffle description. The great Apostle piles epithet upon epithet, adjective upon adjective, and still he cannot express himself adequately. There are passages in this first chapter, and others in the third chapter, especially towards its end, where the Apostle is carried out above and beyond himself, and loses and abandons himself in a great outburst of worship and praise and thanksgiving. I repeat, therefore, that there is nothing more sublime in the whole range of Scripture than this Epstle to the Ephesians.” —D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, God’s Ultimate Purpose, (Baker Book House, 1979) pp. 11, 12

The Doctor: God’s Accountancy

Sometimes God has been gracious on a Sunday and I have been conscious of exceptional liberty, and I have been foolish enough to listen to the devil when he says, ‘Now, then, you wait until next Sunday, it is going to be marvellous, there will be even larger congregations’. And I go into the pulpit the next Sunday and I see a smaller congregation. But then on another occasion I stand in this pulpit labouring, as it were left to myself, preaching badly and utterly weak, and the devil has come and said, ‘There will be nobody there at all next Sunday’. But, thank God, I have found on the following Sunday a larger congregation. That is God’s method of accountancy. You never know. I enter the pulpit in weakness and I end with power. I enter with self-confidence and I am made to feel a fool. It is God’s accountancy…. He is always giving us surprises. His book-keeping is the most romantic thing I know of in the whole world.

Our Lord spoke of it again in the third parable in the twenty-fifth chapter of the Gospel according to St Matthew. You remember His description of the people who will come at the end of the world expecting a reward but to whom He will give nothing, and then the others to whom He will say, ‘Come ye blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you.’ And they will say, ‘We have done nothing. When have we seen you naked, when have we seen you hungry or thirsty and given you drink?’ And He will say, ‘Because you have done it unto the least of my brethren you have done it unto me’. What a surprise that will be. This life is full of romance. Our ledgers are out of date; they are of no value. We are in the Kingdom of God and it is God’s accountancy. It is all of grace.  – D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression, pp. 131-132

The Doctor: Stop Praying and Think

Let me put this plainly and bluntly in order that I may emphasize it even at the risk of being misunderstood. There is a sense in which the one thing that any believers who are in this condition [spiritual depression due to a particular past sin] must not do is to pray to be delivered from it. That is what they always do, and the more they pray the more they begin thinking about this one sin that they’ve committed in the past, and the more and more unhappy and depressed they become. Now the Christian must always pray, the Christian must ‘pray without ceasing’, but this is one of these points at which the Christian must stop praying for a moment and begin to think. So you must stop praying and think, and work out your doctrine.  – D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression, p. 69

The Doctor: The Essence of Sin

The essence of sin, in other words, is that we do not live entirely to the glory of God.  – D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression, p. 31

The Doctor: Healthy Christians Talk to Themselves

The ultimate cause of all spiritual depression is unbelief. For if it were not for unbelief even the devil could do nothing. It is because we listen to the devil instead of listening to God that we go down before him and fall before his attacks. That is why this psalmist keeps on saying to himself: “Hope thou in God for I shall yet praise Him…” He reminds himself of God. Why? Because he was depressed and had forgotten God, so that his faith and his unbelief in God and in God’s power, and in his relationship to God, were not what they ought to be. We can indeed sum it all up by saying that the final and ultimate cause is just sheer unbelief.

…The main trouble in this whole matter of spiritual depression in a sense is this, that we allow our self to talk to us instead of talking to our self. Am I just trying to be deliberately paradoxical? Far from it. This is the very essence of wisdom in this matter. Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them, but they start talking to you, they bring back the problem of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking. Who is talking to you? Your self is talking to you. Now this man’s treatment [Psalm 42] was this; instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself, ‘Why art thou cast down, O my soul?’ he asks. His soul had been repressing him, crushing him. So he stands up and says: ‘Self, listen for a moment, I will speak to you’. Do you know what I mean? If you do not, you have but little experience.

The main art in the matter of spiritual living is to know how to handle yourself. You have to take yourself in hand, you have to address yourself, preach to yourself, question yourself. You must say to your soul: ‘Why art thou cast down’–what business have you to be disquieted? 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 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 priase Him for the help of His countenance, who is also the health of my countenance and my God’.  – D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression

The Doctor: When Indifference Becomes Essential

[T]he liberty that the Apostle allows with regard to things that are indifferent ceases the moment they are regarded as essential.  … We read in Acts 16 that Paul agreed to have Timothy circumcised.  but we find in Galatians 2 that Paul refused to have Titus circumcised.  Was he being inconsistent?  Not at all!  Paul had Timothy circumcised in order not to cause offence – the same principle that we have in this chapter.  But he refused to circumcise Titus when he met the Judaizers, because they said that circumcision was essential.  – D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Romans Vol. 14, p. 200

The Doctor: Faith Is Not Reason, Nor Unreasonable

Faith brings you into the Bible and then you see the great reasonableness of it all.  For Christ is not only the power or God, He is the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24), and when you are in it, you see that this alone is wisdom and everything else would be unfair and unreasonable.  If faith were a matter of reason, then only people with great intellects could be Christians.  On the other hand, faith is not unreasonable, because if that were so, no one with an intellect could be a Christian either.  But because it is what it is, it puts us all oin the same level.  We accept this revelation and then proceed to understand.  That is the relation between faith and reason.  – D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Great Doctrines of the Bible, Volume 2, p. 148

The Doctor: The Real Division of the Bible

The real division of the Bible is this: first, everything you get from Genesis 1 :1 to Genesis 3:14; then everything from Genesis 3:15 to the very end of the Bible.  What you have up until Genesis 3:14 is the account of the creation, and of God’s covenant of works with man, and how that failed because man broke it.  Beginning with Genesis 3:15 you get the announcement of the gospel, the covenant of grace, the way of salvation, and that is the whole theme of the Bible until you come to the last verse of the book of Revelation.  That is the real division of the Bible.  – D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Great Doctrines of the Bible, Volume 1, p. 228

The Doctor: Savoring Scripture

I always feel that a portion of Scripture like this can in many ways be compared with food.  There are some people who bolt their food.  They get something out of it, of course they are getting their calories, but they are missing the enjoyment of the flavor and aroma.  Many people are like that with the Scriptures.  They rush through the passage; they have done it, they think, but oh, what they have missed.

So I propose to chew this with you, and to keep it in our mouths a good time before we swallow it.  Do not miss the pleasure of savoring the Scripture.  Masticate it thoroughly, break it up, and you will find that there are things there that you never imagined.  – D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Romans Vol. 13, pp. 208-209

The Doctor: Devolution

The theory of evolution tells us that man has not only evolved, but that is is always an upward process, from the primitive and simple to the more highly organized and involved, moving steadily in the direction of perfection. …

But the Bible, of course, tells us the exact opposite ; the Bible tells us that man started, as it were on top and then fell from that. – D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Great Doctrines of the Bible, Volume 1, p. 156