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Home New Testiment Studies 6# D M Martyn Lloyd-Jones on ‘Assurance’ (#2)

6# D M Martyn Lloyd-Jones on ‘Assurance’ (#2)

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6#  D M Martyn Lloyd-Jones on ‘Assurance’ (2) 

 

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

 

Big Assurance: If we are ‘in Christ’ sin can never make us its slave or its captive again. God’s purpose - to make us ‘holy and blameless before him in love’ - is absolutely certain; nothing can stop it. It is being carried out in us whether we realize it or not. The result is guaranteed because it is based upon the character and the power of God Himself.

Big Encouragement: We may be conscious of sin’s activity in our bodies, we may be troubled and harassed very much by Satan, we can certainly fall, but we can never fall again into slavery. We have simply to get up from where we are and go on.

Big Wisdom: The Christian is always a fool when he sins. The compulsion has gone; it is he who now yields voluntarily. Though he is actually committing acts of sin he is miserable.

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.

 

Romans 8:38-39

38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Philippians 1:3-6

3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

 

Ephesians 5:25-17

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

 


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 128-131, 141-143

 

 

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Romans 6:11

 

 

 

…These are the things which we are to reckon, these are the things we are to remind ourselves of constantly. We look into the future; we do not know what is going to happen to us. Many things may happen to the body, but that does not matter. If we are ‘in Christ’ we have finished for ever with the dominion and the rule and the reign of sin and of death. We have nothing to look forward to except complete and perfect glory. Death, as far as we are concerned, is such a defeated enemy that to pass through it really becomes the greatest gain imaginable. And that is why it is really sinful for those of us who are Christians to be afraid of death in any shape or form. It is sheer ignorance of what it means to be with Christ, it is sheer ignorance of the glory to which we are going, the ‘mansions’ which Christ has ‘prepared’ for us, and for our reception. That is part of the meaning of this statement, ‘Reckon ye yourselves also to be dead indeed unto sin’.

 

But we must draw one other deduction, which is, that we must learn to look at ourselves in our relationship to sin and death in the way indicated, so that we may learn one further practical lesson. Sin can never make me its slave or its captive again. Look at the way in which the Apostle John states that truth in his First Epistle, chapter 3, verse 9: ‘Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin’, by which he means ‘does not practise sin’, does not go on living in sin and committing it and practising it — ‘for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin because he is born of God’. He does not say that he is incapable of committing an act of sin; what he does say is that he cannot go on in slavery and the dominion of sin. That is impossible. So the position of the Christian now is this: when a Christian sins he does not sin as a slave, but he sins as a free man who is choosing to do that which is wrong.

 

Do we get the significance of that distinction? A man who is not a Christian sins as a slave, he is in ‘bondage’, he is in ‘captivity’ he is one of the people, part of the goods, whom ‘the strong man armed keepeth in peace’. He has no choice, he cannot get out. He cannot stop sinning, he cannot live the Christian life. It is impossible for him to do so because he is under the dominion of sin and of Satan. Such men try to break out of their captivity frequently, but they never succeed, because they are slaves, and they sin as such. But the Christian, when he sins, does not sin as a slave, for he has been brought out of slavery. He belongs to a new territory, he has been ‘delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son’ [Colossians 1:13]. That is where he is, and when he falls he falls there, not where he once was.

 

This is of tremendous significance, and yet I find in my pastoral experience that more people trip up over this than perhaps over anything else. Cannot you see that it is your status and your position that chiefly matters? I sometimes use this illustration. Imagine yourself at the foot of a mountain and that you are walking along the level, and you fall. Very well, you have fallen. But now imagine that you have been climbing up that mountain, and that you have got two-thirds of the way to the summit. Suddenly you fall. Is your falling there identical with your falling down at the bottom? Of course it isn’t. But there are many Christian people who seem to think that it is. They come to me and they say, ‘I have fallen into sin; I do not think that I have ever been a Christian’. They are simply putting themselves back at the foot of the mountain again; they do not realize that while it is true to say that they have fallen, they have not fallen back to the ground level at the foot of the mountain. They have simply fallen two-thirds of the way up. Does not that make a difference? They do not have to climb all that two-thirds of the mountain once more; they have simply to get up from where they are and go on. The point at which you fall is of tremendous importance. You do not go all the way back to the foot of the mountain because you fall, you can fall just short of the summit. You have fallen into sin, but you are nevertheless near the summit of the mountain.

 

Now that is the position of the Christian. He is no longer where he was, he is in an entirely different position, he is in a different realm. He can certainly fall there, but he never falls again into the slavery, he never goes back under the dominion and into the territory of sin. He has fallen at a different point. He does not sin as a slave, he sins as a free man.

 

Or we could use again the familiar illustration about the slaves that were set at liberty after the American Civil War. There were many thousands of people then who had been born as slaves and brought up as slaves and who had lived as slaves. They had got into the habit of thinking as slaves. But the American Civil War settled the question of slavery, and slavery was abolished. However, many years afterwards many of those former slaves, and especially the old ones, kept on forgetting that they were at liberty. They had to learn to reckon themselves to be no longer slaves. And it took some time because all men tend to act according to habits and customs and practices which have been long ingrained. The way to get rid of all this evil is to tell yourself what is true about yourself; that you are no longer a slave, but that you are a free man. That is what I mean when I say that the Christian no longer sins as a slave but as a free man; and that is why I say he is always a fool when he sins. The compulsion has gone; it is he who now yields voluntarily; his whole position, his whole condition is changed.

 

But I must go on and add even to that; and it is an essential part of this teaching. Nothing and no one, not even the devil himself, can ever make a Christian a slave again to sin and its consequences. We are dead indeed unto sin, to its realm, its rule, its reign, its power. I may be conscious of its activity in my body but I am not under its dominion. And surely this is something which is even true in experience. It certainly becomes increasingly true in experience as you realize it. As soon as you begin to apply it and to examine yourself you will find that it is actually true. Look back to the days when you were a non-Christian and living the life of sin. Do you remember your attitude towards sin then? Is that your attitude towards it now? Of course it is not. Your whole attitude to sin has changed.

 

All this is most important if we are to realize the truth concerning the person termed a backslider. What is a backslider? A backslider is a child of God, a Christian who falls into sin. ‘Why do we call him a backslider? Why not say of him that he was never a Christian at all? That is what many people do say about a man who falls into grievous sin. Why do I draw the distinction? I do so for this reason. The way to test whether a man is a backslider or one who has never been a Christian at all is this. If he is a Christian who is backsliding he is miserable as he goes on sinning. If, on the other hand, the truth about him is that he has never been converted at all, and never been a Christian, but has merely come under some passing psychological or moral or emotional influence and as a result has given up a particular sin, but has now returned to it, he will not be miserable as he returns to it again. He will enjoy it, and may well feel that he was a bit of a fool when he gave it up. But if he is a child of God, if he is regenerated and in Christ, though he is actually committing acts of sin he is miserable, he is under a sense of condemnation, he is unhappy. He is in a terrible condition, he hates himself, he hates the whole thing, and yet he goes on doing it. And I will add one further thing about him; he will for certain be restored; that is one of the final proofs that a man is a backslider. A backslider, because he is a child of God, will not be allowed to continue like that; it will be stopped; he will be brought back because he is ‘in Christ’.

 

I trust that that makes it plain and clear that we must ‘Reckon ourselves’ to be dead indeed unto the whole realm and rule and reign and dominion of sin, and of the law, and death. We have finished with that once and for ever. And of course the moment you realize that, you will begin to see the inevitable consequences in the realm of conduct and behaviour. But before we come to draw these deductions we shall have to go on to the positive half

 

of this verse, where we are told that we are to ‘Reckon’ not only that we are ‘dead indeed unto sin’ but also that we are ‘alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord’. I do trust that we are clear about our relationship to sin and to death. I hope we can all say

 

that death no longer has terrors for us. I hope we can all say, ‘Thanks be unto God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ’. I hope that we can stand and challenge death and the grave, and defy them, because we know that Christ has conquered them and that we are in Him, and that they no longer have any dominion over us. We may pass through them, and we may be troubled and harassed very much by Satan while we are still here, but sin and death and Satan no more have dominion over us, no more have power, no more have authority, no more have rights. We have finished with them, we are free from sin and death, we are free in Jesus Christ

 

 

 

… So what I am saying is that the moment you are ‘alive unto God’ you are alive to this power; and it is a power that is designed to produce holiness and to make us ‘blameless and faultless’ before the Lord.

 

I go on to one further step, the fifth - the certainty, the absolute certainty, of the completion of the purpose. The purpose is ‘that we might be holy and blameless before him in love’. We have glanced at the way in which the purpose is being carried out: but in addition, the perfect carrying out of this purpose is something that is absolutely certain; nothing can stop it. ‘He that hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ’ [Philippians 1:6]. It is as certain as God’s promise. ‘He that hath begun’ - Who is that? It is God; and because it is God, it will never be left half completed. Men are guilty of that fault. They get excited and have their enthusiasms; they take up an idea and they are absorbed by it; but they may forget it in a few months and abandon it. God never behaves in that way. ‘He that hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.’ Or, take the same truth as it is found in Ephesians 5 , verses 25-27: ‘Christ loved the church and gave himself for it.’ Why did He do so? ‘That (in order that) He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.’ Such was God’s purpose before the foundation of the world. Such was the purpose that animated the Lord Jesus Christ and filled His mind and heart when He laid aside the insignia of the eternal glory and humbled Himself unto the Virgin’s womb. Why did He do it? Why did He go to the Cross? Why did He die? Why was He buried? Why? This is the purpose, ‘that he might present the church to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish’. That is the purpose of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And that is why it cannot fail. It is going on, and it will go on until it is finally completed.

 

We are ‘dead indeed unto sin, and alive unto God’; and because we are ‘alive unto God’, God’s purpose is being carried out in us whether we realize it or not. He is going to make every one of the children whom He has put into Christ, perfect, blameless, completely without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. It is going to happen; He will bring it to pass; it is His power that does it. He has already put His purpose into operation in all believers, and He will continue the execution of it until every one of us is saved and entire and complete and perfect in His holy presence. That is why the Apostle says here, ‘Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, and alive unto God through Jesus Christ’. That is your position, that is your status, that is your standing, that is now your relationship. You are no longer under the reign of sin, you are under the reign of grace, He will bring it to pass; nothing can stop it. Paul will eventually sum up all this in that mighty asseveration[1] at the end of chapter 8: ‘I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ And yet some foolish people say, ‘Such preaching leads people to say “Let us continue in sin that grace may abound”.’ The answer is, You are no longer in sin, and you shall not continue in sin. It is clear in verse 14 of our chapter, ‘Sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the law, but (you are now) under grace’. ‘Sin shall not...’ God’s character - if I may so put it - would be exposed to the laughter of the devil, and all hell, if any one of the chosen and the called and the redeemed did not arrive in heaven absolutely perfect and spotless. So that can never happen; the result is guaranteed because it is based upon the character and the power of God Himself. That is what is meant by ‘reckoning ourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God’.

 



[1] Asseveration: to affirm or declare positively, earnestly, or emphatically (as if no supporting evidence were necessary).

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 February 2014 15:15  

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