Christian Library Australia

...because God cares about you

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
Home New Testiment Studies 4# Martyn Lloyd-Jones on ‘Alive now’ - Text

4# Martyn Lloyd-Jones on ‘Alive now’ - Text

E-mail Print PDF

4#  Martyn Lloyd-Jones on ‘Alive now’ 

 alt

A Review by    This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   

  

Editor's note: The brief introduction and text in colours are by Clay Lovegrove. He welcomes discussion by email. 

 

Big Logic: Since with Christ, resurrection necessarily follows death, therefore anyone who has been crucified with Christ will logically also be raised with him. Therefore, anyone in Christ has been crucified with him and have also been raised with him.

Big Distinction: I, myself have been raised with Christ now, and am alive to God now. My physical, bodily resurrection is still future.

 

Romans 6:1-14

Ro 6:1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

5 If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin- 7 because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

 

Ephesians 2:1-6

1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus

 

Galatians 2:1-6

19 For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.


The New Man: An Exposition of Romans Chapter 6

 

 

D. M. Lloyd-Jones

Copyright © 1972 Lady Catherwood and Mrs Ann Beatt. The Banner of Truth Trust, Edinburgh & Carlisle.

Pg 93-98


Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:

Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.

For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Romans 6:8-10

 

In these verses we begin to look at the exposition of the second half of verse 5. We have noticed that the Apostle’s method in this chapter is to make a general statement and then to proceed to an explication of it. The key verse in many ways is verse 5 which says, ‘For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection’. We have seen that verses 6 and 7 are an exposition of the first half of that statement. Now in verses 8, 9, and 10 the Apostle takes up the second half of verse 5 which says, ‘We shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection’. As the first half of verse 5 is negative, so verses 6 and 7 are negative; but now we come to the positive side corresponding to the second half of verse 5 which is positive. Death is negative, resurrection is positive. So these three verses expound and explain this positive aspect. It is a great thing to know that we are dead to sin, as a man who dies is outside the territory of sin. Sin cannot do anything to him, cannot tempt him, cannot bring a charge against him; he is freed from sin. But that is not all that is true of us. We are not left in a void. We have come out of that territory, but we have also been promoted, or translated into another territory. This is positive; and this, of course, is much more striking and more reassuring and comforting to our faith.

 

The Apostle states the matter as a general proposition in verse 8; ‘Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.’ That is but a repetition of what he said in the second half of verse 5, ‘We shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection’. He says that this is something that follows quite inevitably. We must not be tripped by the expression ‘We believe that we shall also live with him’. There are some who assert that the Apostle is merely saying, ‘We just hold on to a belief in the resurrection by faith’. But that is not what he is saying. This ‘believe’ really stands here for ‘We are well aware of the fact’, ‘we are sure’. He says that if we be dead with Christ it follows of necessity that we shall rise with Him. If we really are joined to Him, and everything that happens to Him of necessity happens to us, it follows that if we have died with Him we must also rise with Him. There are many affirmations in Paul’s Epistles which are put in the form of ‘We believe’. Take for instance the end of chapter 8 where he says, ‘I am persuaded that neither death nor life’ — That really means, ‘I am absolutely certain’, ‘I am confident’, ‘I am assured’. What the Apostle is saying, is that because of this doctrine of our union with Christ it follows beyond any question that if we have died with Him we must of necessity rise with Him.

 

But, again, a slight difficulty arises in people’s minds because of Paul’s use of the future tense at this point: ‘If we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.’ The tense used leads some to argue that the Apostle is referring here to nothing but the future resurrection of the bodies of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. As usual, the authorities differ greatly concerning the matter. There are those who say quite plainly that the Apostle’s use of the future tense makes it certain that he refers to our future bodily resurrection, and to nothing else. I regard that way of viewing this matter as completely wrong. I tried to show that in my comments on verse 3,and I must do so again. I have no doubt that this statement includes our future resurrection, but I am anxious to stress that that is the least important aspect of what the Apostle has in mind at this particular point. At the moment he is not concerned to deal with something that is yet to be true of us; he is concerned, rather, to show what is true of us now. The whole object of the passage is to refute the charge that we may now in the present continue in sin that grace may superabound. The entire discussion is about what is true of us in the present. It is true of us in the present that we died with Christ, that we are no longer in the realm and territory of sin. In the same way it is true of us now in the present that we ‘live with him’. This is the main thrust of the Apostle’s words. He is not concerned to speak only of what will happen to us in the resurrection which is to come. I can prove that. I have already given one proof. To throw it right forward into the future would mean that it would be more or less valueless from the practical standpoint in this particular context.

But here is a further argument. In verse 4 the Apostle says, ‘Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death, that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life’. When? Is that after the resurrection? Is it in the eternal state? Of course not! ‘We should also walk in newness of life’ here and now in this world. Paul says this because it is the best way to refute the suggestion that this doctrine of justification by faith, and by grace, means that it does not matter how we live in the present. That is a false - deduction, he says, because we have been raised, as Christ was raised by the glory of the Father, in order that we should walk in newness of life here and now. That, in and of itself, would be sufficient to clinch this argument that it is not merely a reference to the resurrection.

 

But I have yet another proof which is surely conclusive and final. Take the exhortation in verse 11. There Paul draws a deduction from all this argument, in the following words: ‘Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.’ When? Is all that to be reserved to the future resurrection? Of course not! We are to ‘reckon ourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God in Jesus Christ’ now. This is the whole point. But if you throw ‘shall also live with him’ into the future, and postpone it to the resurrection, then you cannot show how verse 11 is a legitimate deduction from all this argument.

I am taking this trouble because, regretfully once more, I find myself in complete disagreement with Robert Haldane who says that this statement in verse 8 has no reference except to the life after the resurrection. There are others who agree with him. Take, for instance, a quotation from the well-known Commentary on this Epistle by Sanday and Headlam, regarded by most scholars as the best commentary on it. Here is what they say about this matter. ‘The different senses of “life” and “death” always lie near together with St. Paul, and his thought glides backwards and forwards from one to another almost imperceptibly; now he lays a little more stress on the physical sense, now on the ethical; at one moment on the present state, and at another on the future.’

 

What they are saying is that the Apostle in his use of the terms ‘life’ and ‘death’ sometimes uses the terms in a physical sense, sometimes in an ethical sense; that sometimes he is thinking of the present, sometimes of the future. So they go on to say: ‘Here (in verse 8) and in verse 9 the future eternal life is most prominent; but verse 10 is transitional, and in verse 11 we are back again at the standpoint of the present.’

 

That is, surely, really amusing. They have to postulate that the Apostle’s meaning is constantly gliding — now this, now that — that it is always on the move, in order to say that. How comes it that great scholars like Sanday and Headlam should be capable of writing what I must describe as such rubbish? The answer is clear. Verse 11 makes it plain to them, as to everyone else, that the Apostle is dealing with the present — there is no question about that. So they have to say that in verse 11 ‘We are back again at the standpoint of the present’. Now if they had realized that that should have governed their exposition in verses 8, 9 and 10 also, they would have avoided having to write about what they term Paul’s shifting, changing position. They do not tell us how we are to decide which it is in any one case, whereas if they had adopted the exposition that I am putting forward there would be no need to write about shifting meanings and changing positions. Indeed the difficulty entirely disappears. So by paying too much attention to this ‘shall be’ they put themselves in that ludicrous position.

But someone may ask, ‘Why then does Paul say “shall be”?’ For this reason: He is looking at the position from the standpoint of our being joined with Christ in His death; then he looks beyond that death to something that follows. So he says in effect, ‘We are here now; and if we are here now with Him, we shall also be there with Him’. It is simply future from the standpoint of the place at which he left off at the end of verse 7, which leaves us with the death. Resurrection is always future to death; that is all. So it means that, if we be dead with Him, we know that of necessity we also rise with Him, or have risen with Him. That is precisely what it means, and nothing more. That other view confuses the exposition of the entire paragraph. This becomes yet clearer if you read Haldane on the last phrase of verse 10 — ‘But in that He liveth, He liveth unto God’. I confess that I cannot follow his argument or discover what he really is saying.

 

Consider now certain parallel statements elsewhere, as supporting arguments. Take the parallel which we have in Ephesians 2 , where the Apostle says precisely the same thing. ‘You hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins’ (verse 1). But go on especially to verse 4— ‘But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved); and hath raised us up together. . .‘ Paul does not say that God is going to do this; He has done it already, ‘and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus’. There, quite plainly, the Apostle is not talking about something that is going to happen to us. It will yet happen in a physical sense, thank God for that, but his object here in Romans chapter 6 as in Ephesians chapter 2, is to show what is true of us now. He does that in order to show how it affects our conduct and behaviour here and now, not our conduct and behaviour when we shall be glorified and entirely free from sin.

 

Another parallel is found in Galatians 2 verses 19 and 20: ‘For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God’. Not after I am resurrected, but now! ‘I am crucified (was crucified) with Christ, nevertheless I live’ — not ‘I am going to live’, I live now ‘yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.’ That is exactly the same as what we have here. It does not refer to what will be true of me after the resurrection; it is what is true of me in the here and now. If we but realized the object of this entire argument, which is to deal with our living in the present, we should be saved from all those vagaries of interpretation.

 

Let me sum it up like this. Here, then, is the general proposition, that we have died with Christ to sin, and have risen with Him also to an entirely new life, in an entirely new realm, which has nothing to do with sin. We have finished with the realm of sin, he says, not only by dying but also by rising again. The dying really does make it complete, but if you further realize your rising again into another different realm, then it becomes quite clear. We have not only died, we have risen again into a new and resurrection life with the Lord Jesus Christ. That is the proposition of verse 8.

 

Clay Lovegrove – Copyright 2013

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 February 2014 15:13  

Follow us on Twitter