“I cannot help feeling that the final explanation of the state of the Church today is a defective sense of sin and it defective doctrine of sin. Coupled with that, of course, is a failure to understand the true nature of Christian joy. There is the double failure. There is not the real, deep conviction of sin as was once the case; and on the other hand there is this superficial conception of joy and happiness which is very different indeed from that which we find in the New Testament. Thus the defective doctrine of sin and the shallow idea of joy, working together, of necessity produce a superficial kind of person and a very inadequate kind of Christian life. Now this is obviously extremely important, especially as regards the matter of evangelism. It is not surprising that the Church is failing in her mission if her dual conception of sin and joy are thus defective and inadequate. And, therefore, it comes to pass that so much evangelism, whether organized on a large or a small scale (in spite of all that is claimed for it in figures and results), is obviously not affecting the life of the Church deeply. Indeed, the very statistics prove the failure in this respect. For this reason it is surely a very fundamental subject for us to consider. That is why it is so important that we should approach it all in terms of this Sermon on the Mount, which starts with negatives. We have to be poor in spirit before we can be filled with the Holy Spirit. Negative, before positive. And here again is another example of exactly the same thing-conviction must of necessity precede conversion, a real sense of sin must come before there can be a true joy of salvation. Now that is the whole essence of the gospel. So many people spend all their lives in trying to find this Christian joy. They say they would give the whole world if they could only find it, or could be like some other person who has it. Well, I suggest that in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred this is the explanation. They have failed to see that they must be convicted of sin before they can ever experience joy. They do not like the doctrine of sin. They dislike it intensely and they object to its being preached. They want joy apart from the conviction of sin. But that is impossible; it can never be obtained. Those who are going to be converted and who wish to be truly happy and blessed are those who first of all mourn. Conviction is an essential preliminary to true conversion.”*
“And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Mt 5:2–4).
Soli Deo Gloria!
For His Glory,
*Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Studies in the Sermon on the Mount (Kindle Locations 746-752). Kindle Edition.
*Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Studies in the Sermon on the Mount (Kindle Locations 738-746). Kindle Edition.
*Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Studies in the Sermon on the Mount (Kindle Location 737). Kindle Edition.