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Home New Testiment Studies #8 - Martyn Lloyd-Jones on ‘Motives’

#8 - Martyn Lloyd-Jones on ‘Motives’

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#8 - Martyn Lloyd-Jones on ‘Motives’

Clay Lovgrove and D M Lloyd Jones

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Editor's note: The brief introduction, text in colours and endnotes are by Clay Lovegrove. He welcomes discussion by email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Big Motives: (1a) God’s purpose to destroy the devil’s work in me. (1b) Jesus has gone to great lengths to bring about this purpose. (2) The truth that makes us free is that which tells us who we are, what we are, what has been done for us. (2a) Since I now am a child of God, the honour of my Father and His family is in my hands. (2b) I have been separated from the dominion of sin, I have been crucified with Christ. My old man is dead. I am already seated with Christ in the heavenly places. And it is as I realize these things that I say, ‘sin shall not reign in my mortal body’. (3) If I allow sin to reign in my mortal body, (3a) then I am in an utterly contradictory position. It is a complete denial of everything that I claim to be, (3b) it is a complete denial of everything that I claim to be looking forward to, (3c) I am for the time being standing against the purpose of God in me and so exposing myself to the chastisement of the love of God.

Big Encouragement: The very exhortation, in the light of the doctrine that has preceded it, reminds us of what is possible to us and for us. ‘Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body’. Who are you? Oh, you are the man who has died with Christ, who has been crucified with Christ; you are the man who is ‘alive unto God’; you are the man in whom the Spirit of God is working; you are the man in whom God’s great purpose has been set moving. You have got the power in you, and therefore Paul can exhort you. ‘Therefore.’

Romans 6:11-14

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.

Jn 8 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Jn 17 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.

1Co 1130 That is why many.. are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.

1Co 1525 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.

Phil 2 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross!

Col 310 … the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

1Th 43 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable,

Tit 2 11 For the grace of God… 12 …teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

Heb 12 6 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8 If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons

Jas 4 7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

1Pe 224 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.

1Pe 58 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

1Jn 38 He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.
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 158-162


Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Romans 6:12

 

That brings us to the actual practical details. Do you long to be holy? Do you long to have victory over sin in your mortal body? How can you do so? First, understand the doctrine. You cannot work out the ‘therefore’ unless you are clear about the doctrine. Have you understood verses 1 to 11? Have you understood what the Apostle means by saying that you cannot ‘continue in sin that grace may abound’ because you are already dead to sin? Have you understood that you have really died to sin, that your old man has been crucified with Christ? Do you know what it means to ‘Reckon yourself to be dead indeed unto sin’ as Christ is dead unto sin? Understanding the doctrine - that is the place to start. You must not say, ‘I am not interested in doctrine; all I do is to look to Christ and allow Him to live His life in me’. The ‘therefore’ insists that you must understand the doctrine. Then, having understood it, you must remind yourself of it constantly. ‘Reckon’ - go on reckoning, keep on reckoning, realize it, apply it to yourself, and then draw the inevitable deductions from it.

What are the deductions? Here are some of them. If I really believe and understand the doctrine, and realize its implications, I am bound to ask this question: What sort of a person ought I to be in the light of this doctrine? You cannot consider the doctrine truly without drawing that deduction. Here is the truth about me; I have died with Christ! Why have I died with Christ? You are bound to ask the question. If you really understand the doctrine, you say, ‘What is my position now? What sort of a man or a woman ought I to be in the light of all that has happened to me?’ And, immediately, you are promoting your sanctification; you are beginning to turn against sin as it resides in your mortal body.

In the same way the doctrine provides us with the true motives for holiness. What are the true motives for holiness? They are not just a reaction against the evil nature of sin, they are not just the desire to be happy. These are a part of it, but not the chief motive. Still less should we seek to be holy in order to make ourselves Christians; and still less merely because we are afraid of hell and the punishment of hell. Our motives must be entirely positive. Why must I not allow sin to reign in my mortal body? Because I am a man who claims to know what God’s purpose is for me. And what is God’s purpose for me? It is that all the works of the devil shall be undone in me. God made me in His own image, He made me perfect; and His whole purpose in salvation is to bring me back to that state. I believe that, I know that, I realize that; therefore I cannot allow sin to reign in my mortal body. That is my motive. I know what God’s purpose for me is, and all He has planned, and all He has brought to pass. That is my grand motive, but there are others.

I know what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for me. Knowing this doctrine, I believe that the second Person in the blessed holy Trinity left the courts of heaven and came into this world, and not only lived as a man but humbled Himself so as to come in the likeness of sinful flesh. I believe that He went to Calvary and bore my sins in His own body on the tree, and suffered the agony and the indignity of it all for me. Why did He do all that? That we might continue in sin? No! but ‘that He might redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto Himself a peculiar people zealous of good works’ [Titus 2:14]. So how can we go on with sin?

These are the motives, this is the way in which I become sanctified. It is because I know these things that I will not allow sin to reign in my mortal body. I therefore go on to draw this deduction, that the very honour of God, and of the Lord Jesus Christ, is involved in this matter of my behaviour. I claim to be a child of God, I claim to be one who has been adopted into the family of God, I am of the household of God. I believe this, the doctrine has taught me this, therefore I say to myself: ‘If I allow sin to reign in my mortal body I am disgracing my Father, my Saviour, and the family of heaven to which I belong. I cannot do that.’ This is how the New Testament teaches sanctification: ‘Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth’ [John 17:17]. It is the truth that sanctifies: ‘Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free’, said our Lord to the people [John 8:32]. The truth that makes us free is that which tells us who we are, what we are, what has been done for us, and how the whole honour of the family is, as it were, in our hands. It does not just say to me, ‘let go and let God’, or ‘do nothing but allow Him to live His life in you’. Reason it out, it says, work it out. ‘Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body.’

The truth reminds me constantly of the wonderful position in which I am. I can say that sin and death shall never again have dominion over me. They had dominion over me in Adam, but never again. I have been separated from that dominion, I have been crucified with Christ. My old man is dead. I am already seated with Christ in the heavenly places. And it is as I realize these things that I say, ‘sin shall not reign in my mortal body’. Or, if you like, you can argue in this way. If I allow sin to reign in my mortal body, then I am in an utterly contradictory position. I say I believe the Gospel, I believe in Christ in order that I may be delivered, and that as the result of my belief I am in this new position; and yet I go on living as if I were not in a new position. I am utterly contradictory, I am in an utterly foolish and untenable position.

Not only that! If I allow sin to reign in my mortal body, it is a complete denial of everything that I claim to be looking forward to. As a Christian who understands this doctrine, I say that I know that a day is coming when Christ shall have conquered every enemy and shall reign over all. My mortal body shall then be glorified, I shall be with Him and like Him. I say that on the one hand; and on the other hand, I am living the old life as if I had never heard all these things at all and as if I had not believed them. It is utterly contradictory. These are the doctrines which we are told to apply; these are the deductions which we are meant to draw.

But I have yet another reflection. If I allow sin to reign in my mortal body I am then setting myself against the purpose of God in me and in my salvation, and there is nothing more dangerous that a believer can ever do than that. ‘This is the will of God, even your sanctification’ [1 Thessalonians 4:3], and He is working out that purpose. We are under the reign of grace, and nothing can overthrow it. I have been emphasizing that repeatedly in all the eleven verses. If, therefore, I allow sin to reign in my mortal body, what am I doing? I am for the time being standing against the purpose of God in me. And what will happen? I do not know what may happen to me. What the Apostle says to the members of the church at Corinth is this, ‘For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep’ [1 Corinthians 11:30]. There were Christian people in Corinth who were allowing sin to reign in their mortal bodies. The result was, says Paul, that some of them were ill, and some had actually died. In the same way the Epistle to the Hebrews teaches that ‘Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth’ [12:6ff]; and if you do not endure chastisement in some shape or form at some time or another, you are not a son, you are a bastard. God’s purpose is to make us holy, and He is working in us to that end, so if we stand against His purpose by allowing sin to reign in our mortal body, we must not be surprised if we are chastised and chastened. It may be by an illness, or by an accident, or by death, or by sorrow. If you belong to Him He will bring you to the desired goal of holiness; therefore a man who allows sin to reign in his mortal body is exposing himself to the chastisement of the love of God. Is there anything more foolish, more insane, than that?

The final deduction is this: the very exhortation, in the light of the doctrine that has preceded it, reminds us of what is possible to us and for us. ‘Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body.’ ‘But wait a minute’, says someone, ‘are you not putting me back in the position I was in before I was a Christian?’ That is certainly not the case, because what Paul says is ‘Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body’. I know that there is nothing more futile than to turn to a natural man and to say, ‘Conquer sin, do not let it reign in your mortal body’. He cannot act thus, he is the slave of sin, he is under the dominion and power of sin. It is useless to tell him not to let it reign; it will reign in him and his body, and it does reign. But I am not talking to him. I say ‘Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body’. Who are you? Oh, you are the man who has died with Christ, who has been crucified with Christ; you are the man who is ‘alive unto God’; you are the man in whom the Spirit of God is working; you are the man in whom God’s great purpose has been set moving. You have got the power in you, and therefore I can exhort you. ‘Therefore’ - the doctrine has already told you that ‘Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world’, so you are left without any excuse at all. You are not left to battle with sin alone and by your own power. Because you are a child of God the Spirit of God is in you, the mind of Christ is in you, the purpose of God is working itself out in you. And it is because of this that we are not told just to ‘let go and let God’, or to be passive and to allow Christ to live His life in us; but, instead, ‘Let not sin therefore (do not let sin therefore) reign in your mortal body’. You are in a position to stop it. ‘Resist the devil and he will flee from you.’ ‘Your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour; whom resist steadfast in the faith’ [1 Peter 5:8 , 9]. If you do that, you will conquer him, you will defeat him. For us as Christians, there is no need for sin to reign in our mortal bodies, because God is working in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure, and has given us the power to resist.

There, then, we have the introduction, as it were, to the New Testament doctrine of sanctification, introduced by this important and vital word ‘Therefore’. In the light of the glorious doctrine of verses 1 to 11, ‘Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof."

 

 

Please email Clay with any questions comments

 

 

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 January 2015 15:31  

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