Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones and Separating Over the Atonement

Most Mondays I take the time to raid my electronic version of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ materials, which is produced by Logos Bible Software. Today I want to share a quote from the Doctor which could have been written with current events in mind. There really is nothing new under the sun, and the battles we face today are no different in many ways from those faced by others who have gone before us. The following words should be read carefully. The most vital thing we can ask ourselves is expressed so wonderfully in the closing sentences. We are urged by the Apostle Paul to “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith.” (2 Corinthians 13:5). Let’s allow the master spiritual diagnostician to help us in our quest:

“Whether we like it or not, Christianity is a most intolerant faith. It says that this and this alone is right and true . . . the only basis of unity today, as it was the only basis of unity in the early Church, is the apostolic message. And whatever men may think or say we must assert this. Let them call us intolerant, isolationists, or what they will, we must take our stand with this man of God! It is not my opinion or anybody else’s opinion that matters—what does the Word teach?

. . . this is the foundation—that man by nature is dead in trespasses and sins; that he is under the wrath of God . . . unless you believe that man, by nature, is dead in trespasses and sins, and that there is such a thing as the wrath of God upon sin, whatever else may be true of you, you are not in this holy temple in the Lord, in which God dwells . . . But thank God it does not stop at that, it goes on to tell us about the grace of God . . . the Lord Jesus Christ, His Person and His work . . . it is by His death, by His sacrificial death, by His substituting Himself for us to bear the punishment of our sins, that we are saved. It is by the blood of Christ!

. . . there are people who call themselves Christians who scoff at it. There are leaders in the big denominations who say that it is scandalous to talk about a substitutionary atonement. And I am asked to be one in fellowship with them. How can I be? It is impossible. I have no choice; this is fundamental. The blood of Christ! ‘He bore my sins in his own body on the tree.’ It is by that alone that I am delivered, and by the power of God in regeneration, and the gift of the Spirit. Union with Christ!

. . . the practical question therefore which we ask ourselves is this: Do I know what I believe about the Lord Jesus Christ? Do I know Him? Am I in Him, in this vital relationship? . . . [Or] are you just interested in a vague, nebulous Christianity that says that you must not be concerned about doctrine because doctrine separates? Is that your position? It was certainly not the position of the man who said, ‘But though we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel . . . let him be accursed.’

. . . do you know and confess that, as you were by nature, you were a child of wrath, dead in trespasses and sins? And that were it not for the grace of God in Jesus Christ, were it not for His atoning, sacrificial, substitutionary death you would still be in that position? Do you know that He died for you, gave Himself for you and for your sins, and that by the power of His Holy Spirit He has regenerated you, has quickened you, has raised you from the death of sin; and that you are seated even now in the heavenly places with Christ, because you are in Him and joined to Him, by the grace of God?

David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, God’s Way of Reconciliation (Studies in Ephesians, Chapter 2), Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1972, p. 347.

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