Friday, January 8, 2010

The Message of the Cross

The following are some excerpts from the book "The Cross" by Martyn Lloyd-Jones. These are from the first chapter. One of the clearest gospel messages I've ever read.

"God, unlike us, is light, and in him is no darkness at all. God is just, God is holy. God is righteous. Of course, that means nothing to us. How can we think of holiness? We, ugly, foul, vile, sinful creatures. No, we do not understand the righteousness of God. But God is righteous, he is the law giver, he is holy, he is of so pure a countenance that he cannot even look upon sin; and God cannot pretend that he has not seen it. God sees sin. He sees everything. He must punish sin. His own holy nature insists upon it and he has told us abundantly that he is going to do so. So here is the problem. Man is a guilty sinner, God is a holy God.

I know the most important thing about every single one of you, and that is that each of you is a vile sinner. I don't care who you are, because all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. I do not care what particular form your sin takes. I do not care what your sins are. But what I have authority to tell you is this. Though you may be the vilest man or woman ever known, and though you may until this moment have lived your life in the gutters and brothels of sin in every shape and form, I say this to you: be it known unto you that through this man, this Lord Jesus Christ, is preached unto you the forgiveness of sin. And by him all who believe, you included, are at this moment justified entirely and completely from everything you have ever done - if you believe that this is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and that he died there on the cross, for your sins and to bear your punishment. If you believe that, and thank him for it, and rely utterly only upon him and what he has done, I tell you, in the name of God, all your sins are blotted out completely, as if you had never sinned in your life, and his righteousness is put on you and God sees you perfect in his Son. That is the message of the cross, that is Christian preaching, that it is our Lord who saves us, by dying on the cross, and that nothing else can save us, but that that can save whosoever believes in him."

You can listen to the late Martyn Lloyd-Jones here. This is a radio ministry that has remastered 1600 of his sermons and broadcasts them weekly with a free archive.

3 comments:

Anthony said...

"We, ugly, foul, vile, sinful creatures" -- a person who can say this about himself does not know Christ and has no authority to preach "good news" because he has none to offer.

Matthew said...

Anthony, there is nothing wrong in calling a spade, "a spade".

Well, the truth hurts. The Bible says, amoung other things that

Every single individual is a slave to sin (Rom. 6:14-20, John 8:34), has a heart that is desperately sick (Jer. 17:9), is full of evil (Mark 7:21-23), loves darkness rather than light (John 3:19), is dead in his sins (Eph. 2:1), does not seek for God (Rom. 3:10-12), it does not submit to God's law, can not submit to God's law, cannot please God (Rom. 8:7-8), he is not able to come to Christ (John 6:44, 65), and cannot understand spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14)

Those are just some. They are true of you, and they are true of me. The only cure is Jesus. That was the preachers point. If you disagree then you have no business calling yourself a Christian, because that is the Christian message.

'As it is written:
"There is no one righteous, not even one;
there is no one who understands,
no one who seeks God.
All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one."
"Their throats are open graves;
their tongues practice deceit."
"The poison of vipers is on their lips."
"Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness."
"Their feet are swift to shed blood;
ruin and misery mark their ways,
and the way of peace they do not know."
"There is no fear of God before their eyes."' - Romans 3:10-18 NIV

Mark said...

Anthony,

Why is it that you wrote what you wrote? Do you disbelieve the eaching that humankid is depraved in general? Or are you reacting to the description of redeemed individuals as simultaneously sinner and saint?

Matt ably answered the question as to whether fallen humans are depraved. But I'm sort of suspecting that you (Anthony) might have been actually reacting to the fact that you don't like the these terms connected to "depravity" being applied to a redeemed Christian. I think what you might be asking is "how can we preach a Christ who saves from sin if we are still struggling with sin?" Correct me if I'm wrong.

In either case, I think I disagree with your objection. However, I'd like to know what you actually meant when you said that "a person who can say this about himself does not know Christ..has no authority to preach 'good' news because he has none to offer". I have some thoughts, but I don't want to respond until I'm sure about what you are asking.

Are you saying this because you don't believe in depravity in general or because you don't believe these sort of things apply to believers?