The Bishop: Unhappy in Heaven if Unholy

“Heaven is essentially a holy place; its inhabitants are all holy; its occupations are all holy. To be really happy in heaven, it is clear and plain that we must be somewhat trained and made ready for heaven while we are on earth. The notion of a purgatory after death, which shall turn sinners into saints, is a lying invention of man, and is nowhere taught in the Bible. We must be saints before we die, if we are to be saints afterwards in glory. The favourite idea of many, that dying men need nothing except absolution and forgiveness of sins to fit them for their great change, is a profound delusion. We need the work of the Holy Spirit as well as the work of Christ; we need renewal of the heart as well as the atoning blood; we need to be sanctified as well as to be justified. It is common to hear people saying on their death-beds, ‘I only want the Lord to forgive me my sins, and take me to rest.’ But those who say such things forget that the rest of heaven would be utterly useless if we had no heart to enjoy it! What could an unsanctified man do in heaven, if by any chance he got there? Let that question be fairly looked in the face, and fairly answered. No man can possibly be happy in a place where he is not in his element, and where all around him is not congenial to his tastes, habits, and character. When an eagle is happy in an iron cage, when a sheep is happy in the water, when an owl is happy in the blaze of noonday sun, when a fish is happy on the dry land—then, and not till then, will I admit that the unsanctified man could be happy in heaven.” —J.C. Ryle, Holiness

The Bishop: A Majestic Temple in Ruins

“I admit fully that man has many grand and noble faculties left about him, and that in arts and sciences and literature he shows immense capacity. But the fact still remains that in spiritual things he is utterly ‘dead’, and has no natural knowledge, or love, or fear of God. His best things are so interwoven and intermingled with corruption, that the contrast only brings out into sharper relief the truth and extent of the fall . That one and the same creature should be in some things so high and in others so low—so great and yet so little—so noble and yet so mean—so grand in his conception and execution of material things, and yet so grovelling and debased in his affections—that he should be able to plan and erect buildings like those of Carnac and Luxor in Egypt, and the Parthenon at Athens, and yet worship vile gods and goddesses, and birds, and beasts, and creeping things—that he should be able to produce tragedies like those of Æschylus and Sophocles, and histories like that of Thucydides, and yet be a slave to abominable vices like those described in the first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans—all this is a sore puzzle to those who sneer at ‘God’s Word written’, and scoff at us as ‘Bibliolaters’. But it is a knot that we can untie with the Bible in our hands. We can acknowledge that man has all the marks of a majestic temple about him—a temple in which God once dwelt, but a temple which is now in utter ruins—a temple in which a shattered window here, and a doorway there, and a column there, still give some faint idea of the magnificence of the original design, but a temple which from end to end has lost its glory and fallen from its high estate. And we say that nothing solves the complicated problem of man’s condition but the doctrine of original or birth-sin and the crushing effects of the fall.” —J.C. Ryle, Holiness

The Bishop: Disease before Remedy

“He that wishes to attain right views about Christian holiness, must begin by examining the vast and solemn subject of sin. He must dig down very low if he would build high. A mistake here is most mischievous. Wrong views about holiness are generally traceable to wrong views about human corruption.

…Dim or indistinct views of sin are the origin of most of the errors, heresies, and false doctrines of the present day. If a man does not realize the dangerous nature of his soul’s disease, you cannot wonder if he is content with false or imperfect remedies.” —J.C. Ryle, Holiness

The Doctor: Justifying Justification in Translation

“Take the argument about the terms that the modern man does not understand, the words ‘justification’, ‘sanctification’, and so on. I want to ask a question: When did the ordinary man ever understand those terms? I am told the modern Teddy boy does not understand them. But consider the colliers to whom John Wesley and George Whitfield used to preach in the eighteenth century. Did they understand them? They had not even been to a day school, an elementary school. They could not read, they could not write…

Yet we are told, It must be put in such simple terms and language that anybody taking it up and reading it is going to understand all about it. My friends, this is nothing but sheer nonsense! What we must do is to educate the masses of the people up to the Bible, not bring the Bible down to their level. One of the greatest troubles in life today is that everything is being brought down to the same level; everything is being cheapened. The common man is made the standard and the authority; he decides everything, and everything has got to be brought down to him. You are getting it on your wireless, your television, in your newspapers; everywhere standards are coming down and down. Are we to do this with the Word of God? I say, No! What has always happened in the past has been this: an ignorant, illiterate people in this country and in foreign countries, coming into salvation, have been educated up to the Book and have begun to understand it, and to glory in it, and to praise God for it. I am here to say that we need to do the same at this present time.” —D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Knowing the Times

The Doctor: You Must Read

“Let me summarize all that I have been trying to say to you thus. If you want to be able ministers of the gospel, if you want to present the truth in the right and only true way, you must be constant students of the Word of God, you must read it without ceasing. You must read all good books that will assist you to understand it, and the best commentaries you can find on the Bible. You must read what I would call biblical theology, the explanation of the great doctrines of the New Testament, so that you may come to understand them more and more clearly, and may therefore be able to present them with ever increasing clarity to those who come to listen to you. The work of the ministry does not consist merely in giving our own personal experience, or talking about our own lives or the lives of others, but in presenting the truth of God in as simple and clear a manner as possible. And the way to do that is to study the Word and anything and everything which aids us in that supreme task.

You may say to me: Who is sufficient for these things? We have other things to do; we are busy men. How can we do this which you have asked us to do? My reply is that none of us is sufficient for these things, but God can enable us to do them if we are really anxious thus to serve Him. I am not much impressed by these arguments that you are busy men, that you have much to do in the world and therefore have no time to read these books on the Bible and to study theology. and for this good reason: that some of the best theologians I have met, some of the most saintly, some of the most learned men, have had to work very much harder than any of you, and at the same time have been denied the advantages that you have enjoyed. ‘Where there’s a will there’s a way.’ If you and I are concerned about lost souls, we must never plead that we have no time to equip ourselves for this great ministry; we must make the time. We must equip ourselves for the task, realizing the serious and terrible responsibility of the work. We must learn, and labour, and sweat, and pray in order that we may know the truth ever more and more perfectly. We must put into practice in our own lives the words to be found in I Timothy 4:12-16. God grant us the grace and the power to do so, to the honour and glory of His holy name.” —D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Knowing the Times

The Doctor: Be Strong in the Lord—An Illustration

“Go back to the Old Testament. We find Moses leading those grumbling, recalcitrant children of Israel. They come to him one day and say: ‘There is no water here; have you brought us out of Egypt in order that we may die of thirst here in the wilderness? There is no water; everything is as dry as a bone; what can we do?’ And God told Moses to strike a rock, informing him that when he did so water would come pouring out of it. Now there lies the predicament. Moses was a man, and though he was a very good man he knows that if he strikes rocks nothing will happen. He may have struck many a rock but no water had come gushing out. But here he is told that if he strikes a certain rock with his rod water will come gushing out of it. That constitutes the whole predicament of faith. That is exactly the position of all of us as we stand face to face with the command: ‘Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might’. ‘But who am I?’ you say. ‘I am just a weakling. What is the use of telling me to be strong?’ The answer is this. Moses in faith took his rod and he smote, he struck, the rock; and out of it came the water gushing forth. It was not Moses’ power, but it was his arm and it was his rod. Moses did not just stand by and see the water gushing out. Moses had to lift up his arm and he had to strike, to smite, that rock. But as he did so the power was given to him, and the water came gushing out of the rock. There you see the two elements in this matter. You see the activity of the man, but you see that the power is given to him by God. It was not Moses—Moses lacked the power to do such things. But Moses was given the power to do them. The two things come together. But the point I am emphasizing now is that Moses, if he had hesitated there, and had done nothing, would not have seen this marvellous miracle; but by acting he discovered that the power was given. He ‘tasted’ and he ‘saw’! That is the way in which it happens.” D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Christian Soldier

The Doctor: Smiling Sin

“Sin always comes with a smile; it is most ingratiating, it always pays us compliments; we are very wonderful—if we only listen! It plays on our pride in some shape or form, our appearance, our good looks, our nature, something about us—wonderful! And so it deceives us by flattering us. It is always attractive, of course. It is a very ugly thing in itself, but as I have said, it knows how to use the paint and the powder. That is how the Bible always describes the harlot. The paint and the powderl she always pretends to be something she is not. And she knows that if she does not appear attractive she will not entice. Sin does that in every realm, it always comes in an attractive form. And we are fools enough to look on the surface and to judge by outward appearance and not by the reality itself.” —D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Darkness and Light

The Doctor: Major in Sin to Major in Grace

” It is people who have the deepest understanding of sin and what it means who have the greatest understanding and appreciation of the love and the grace and the mercy and the kindness of God. A superficial view of sin leads to a superficial view of salvation, and to a superficial view of everything else. So we follow the Apostle as he shows us the depths of sin and iniquity, in order that we may be enabled to measure the height and the depth and the breadth and the length, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge.” —D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Darkness and Light

The Doctor: We Bear His Name

“This is the astounding thing that happens to all who are Christians, all who are members of this body, which is the Bride of Christ. You have been given a new name by the Prince of glory, and wonder of wonders! it is His own name. There is no honour or glory greater than this. You are lost in a new name, and it is the highest name of all. We read that a day is coming when (at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth’ – and that is the name that is given to us who are constituted the Bride of Christ.

Then we see that out of that comes the fact that we are sharers in His dignity, in His great and glorious posidon. The Apostle has already said as much in chapter 2 where he has told us the amazing truth that ‘He hath raised us up together (in Christ), and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.’ That is true of us now. If we are Chrisdans at all we are ‘in Christ’ and that means that we are ‘seated with Him in the heavenly places.’ Wherever the bridegroom is the bride is also, and the standing, the dignity, and the position that belong to him belong to her. It does not matter at all who she was; the moment she becomes his bride she shares all with him. And woe betide anyone who does not accord to her the posidon and the dignity! There is no greater insult that can be offered to the bridegroom than a refusal to honour his bride. This is the truth, says the New Testament, about the Christian. It is something that we are told repeatedly. One statement of it occurs in the 17th chapter of John’s Gospel, verse 22, where our Lord says: ‘And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them.’ The glory. He says, which the Father had given Him He has given to His people. It is something that happens invariably in a marriage; the bride, being a part of the husband, and having his name on her, shares his whole position. The glory which Thou gavest Me I have eiven them.'” —D. Martyn Lloyd Jones, Life in the Spirit

The Doctor: The Real Division of the Bible

“What then, are the ways in which the covenant of grace has been dispensed under”the”old dispensation? Well, you go first of all Genesis 3:15. If you are interested in the technical term it is generally called the protevangel. In other words, there is a kind of foreshadowing of the whole gospel in Genesis 3:15. Now to me this is one of the most fascinating and thrilling things anyone can ever encounter. Here is this great book; we divide it up and we call it the Old Testament and the New Testament and we all know what we mean by that. But, you know, if we were to be strictly accurate we would not describe it in that way. 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 original covenant of works with man, and of 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