Book of John
Page 2 of 12
Are you walking by the flesh or by the Spirit? How do you know that you are born of God? Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones addresses the Christian’s lack of assurance in John 1:12-13 by discussing the leading of the Holy Spirit in the daily life of the Christian; he connects the Christian’s conscience and convictions to the inner work and leading of the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, he addresses the grave error of Antinomianism and religious traditionalism for the Christian. Should the Christian abstain from certain foods or practices for the season of Lent? The good Doctor addresses this as well as confronting a religiosity that embraces the “leading of the Spirit” apart from the Word of God. The Spirit is instrumental in the illumination of the Word and the renewing of the Christian’s mind. Lloyd-Jones provides this as a test for the Christian who lacks assurance: Does your conscience allow you to return to sin again and again or does it rebuke you and draw you further and further into a holy life and practical love for God? The Doctor addresses these and other issues surrounding what it means to be led by the Spirit of God and know that you are born of God.
“It is possible for you to hold the right doctrine, the right views, and be unsure about your relationship to it.” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones acknowledges, identifies, and addresses the Christian’s all too common problem in John 1:12-13, known as a lack of assurance. The good Doctor digs deep into the heart and life experiences of the troubled Christian and addresses the question of “how do I know that I am born of God” by applying several spiritual tests to the Christian. These tests prove to shed light on the darkened soul of the unbeliever and give clarity to the discouraged Christian. “Assurance is essential not only for our own happiness but also for our usefulness.” The good Doctor demonstrates that assurance is properly tied to our relationship to the Holy Spirit; namely that, “As many as are led by the Holy Spirit of God, they are the Children of God.” And how does one know that he is led by the Spirit of God, but that he mortifies sin and delights in the things of God! Dr. Lloyd-Jones admonishes us that the sanctification of the Christian and the mortification of his sin is one comfort and proof of assurance to the downcast believer.
Christ died not only to forgive us of sin but also made us to be Children of God! Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones continues discussing the tests of faith for the Christian in John 1:12-13 and gives the positive test that the Christian not only puts off sin but puts on righteousness; specifically, Dr. Lloyd-Jones hones in on the renewing of the mind that every Christian experiences. The Christian is to be mortifying sin but the work in us is not complete there; we are also to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. The Doctor illustrates and explains how the Christian’s mind is set on earthly things while the unbeliever’s mind is set on the desires of the flesh. The Doctor not only admonishes Christians to be renewed in their minds but also encourages all who are being renewed in their minds that they are born of God because they are being renewed and led by the Spirit to put to death the misdeeds of the body. Furthermore, Lloyd-Jones reminds and encourages the Christian the world is still living with minds conformed to the pattern of this world, but the Christian’s mind is set free to be set on the glories of Christ.
“It is not so much what we are saved from, but what we are saved for.” With these words, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones exhorts us to mortify the flesh and acknowledge that we are not, indeed, under the dominion of the flesh. He goes on to describe how we, who fight against our own flesh, are no longer under its rule or reign; rather we are united to Christ who has already died to sin and is alive in righteousness! In John 1:12-13, Dr. Lloyd-Jones unpacks the intricacies behind our unity with Christ and how that unity is our freedom from sin. Moreover, Dr. Lloyd Jones gives hope for the Christian who question their salvation. Does your wrongdoings haunt your conscience and encourage your faithful acts? Does sin feel cheaper and cheaper until righteousness is the only worthwhile endeavor? Do you find yourself alienated from your former life of sin and a citizen of a life of pursuing righteousness? These things illustrate your heavenly citizenship and assurance of salvation. These very truths are essential to the joy-filled Christian life. Dr. Lloyd-Jones gives these proofs, along with several exhortations, to live in a manner worthy of the one and only God who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.
Practice. You need it to be good at sports, work, and family. Likewise, if you want to succeed against the flesh and pursue righteousness, you must put into practice walking in the Spirit. In John 1:12-13, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones shows that the Christian must not sit passively by and “let go and let God." But instead, we have a distinct responsibility to work out our faith. He entreats Christians to break free from the flesh. Dr. Lloyd-Jones warns that a Christian can be lulled into leading a barren life, bearing no fruit for the kingdom of God. Therefore, the Christian must train himself to walk according to the Spirit. Children of God must not merely sit passively, but instead actively pursue a life marked by the Spirit. God has forgiven, justified, and adopted the Christian, and yet he is often tempted to make little use of his newfound state of being. Dr. Lloyd-Jones teaches that the Spirit and the flesh are not merely opposed, but that they war against each other. Dr. Lloyd-Jones offers hope to the Christian who has not gained success in fighting the flesh; walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
There is one fact that must be true of the converted Christian; namely, that he believes in the name of Jesus Christ for salvation. However, there are many circumstances that surround the conversion of Christians. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones uses John 1:12-13 to explain that while some Christians grow up in a home where the Gospel is often taught, others are saved out of an unbelieving family or friend group. He elaborates that each of these Christians faces unique temptations to question the legitimacy of their salvation and must, therefore, apply specific tests to their own life to gain surety of their salvation. Do you remain unaffected by your knowledge of God, or are you changed and gripped by it? Is your faith something that you use when convenient, or does God’s Word master and direct your life? Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones uses these tests and others to help the Christian assess and test their standing in faith and produce a defensible assurance of faith. Dr. Lloyd-Jones elaborates that the unbeliever is consumed with what he does, whereas the true believer is primarily concerned with what he is. The unbeliever works toward creating his identity. The believer works from his newfound Christian identity toward Christian behavior.
The two ways of assurance; direct assurance; the baptism in the Holy Spirit; the many ways in which the Spirit witnesses; it is not the gifts that are important; but the assurance.
Our reaction to others; a test of the fruit; what is meant by gentleness; kindness; faith; meekness; temperance examined in detail; if the fruit is missing; so is the Spirit.
Our relationship with the family; how does one know the brethren? Separation from natural affections.
The reasons why Christians are persecuted; Satanic attack as the proof of the new birth; the accuser of the brethren; 'grieving the Spirit' is used only against Christians; repulsing the attacks of the devil.