The Gospel believed and applied.

Dr Martin Lloyd Jones, is a master at exposing the very roots of spiritual depression, as we soon find out in Chapter IV of Spiritual Depression.

He is minister/physician who is straightforward in his approach to spiritual matters and like one who with great concern grabs his parishioner/patient  by the collar and speaks steadily and truthfully to him about the seriousness of his  spiritual condition and the application of  a sure remedy.

The Root of spiritual depression in the life of the believer, to summarize Lloyd-Jones,  is essentially a belief in some lie or deception of the enemy of our soul. Lloyd-Jones reminding believers that,

”  We are brought into this marvelous life, this spiritual condition by the grace of God . But we must never forget that over against us is  another power. We are citizens of the Kingdom of God,but the Bible tells us that we are opposed by another kingdom, which is also a spiritual kingdom, and that all along we are being attacked and besieged.”

He also picks up the theme of  the “Subtlety” of our adversary who seeks to destroy the work of God and especially the enjoyment of the knowledge of the goodness of God. Therefore we face opposition in the form of  manifold temptation and discouragement. It is to be somewhat expected and I so heartily agree.

Jones  in speaking of the Remedy  for spiritual depression asserts, that  the reality of  what God has done in Jesus Christ by providing forgiveness for sinners who will believe  in Him ( The Gospel), must be taken into all aspects of our human personality. That the glorious  message of the gospel must permeate —- Our Mind—-Our Heart—Our Will.

That humankind ( Made in His image) has been designed in such a way that our personality, (intellect, emotions, desires) might be  captivated by him in the gospel message.  the message of the gospel must be first believed then applied.

Romans 6:17

” But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.”

From this short verse, Lloyd -Jones unpacks that  “…that form of doctrine…” referred to by Paul, is the very Gospel message  which delivers from the power of sin to condemn and to which we were all helpless to escape in our own efforts.

Lloyd-Jones goes on to say that this  Gospel reality ( the complete forgiveness of sins through the completed work of Jesus) must first be accepted and understood with the mind. It is a (doctrine of truth), then it must be applied to the heart (where so many of our troubles arise and the reality of emotional instability, fears and desires compete) finally we are to take the Gospel to our will so that from our heart where our affections are turned from self to the joy of Christ  we willingly obey .

Knowing with our mind the truth of the gospel, believing in our heart his love for us and  willingly choosing those things that glorify Christ and keep us from those thoughts and desires that  bring us down and make us unfruitful, conflicted and discouraged.

Chapter IV has been very good for the soul!!!

9 comments

  1. “…this Gospel reality ( the complete forgiveness of sins through the completed work of Jesus) must first be accepted and understood with the mind. It is a (doctrine of truth), then it must be applied to the heart.” Ah, but for so many the message snags on the intellect and never permeates the heart. When emotions remain untouched the will has trouble getting in line as well, no?

    1. Charis, yes and I must confess that in my case the intellect has done that very thing at times. But by the grace of God He keeps working out His salvation in me. Lloyd Jones goes on to say that to have any two of the three and not all three leaves us in a spiritually vulnerable state and easily discouraged.

      It must be the whole personality, Mind, heart and will. may he continue to work it out in us. Blessings, Joe

  2. I suppose you could also point to Romans 8:1 that there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. Believing that and having the proper gratitude leads us to align our actions with His will.

    1. Romans 8:1 A good verse to be sure!!! I am still reading through Lloyd-Jones book (Spiritual depression) . I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see him pick that verse up later on.
      Blessings ,
      Joe.

  3. Martin Lloyd Jones confessed himself to be a Calvinistic Puritan, and yet was a neo-Evangelical in orthodoxy, teaching, for one, that the will of man is not in bondage, contrary to the profession Martin resides under, of Calvinistic Puritanism. Which leads us to how can Martin declare there is clinical depressives within the church of Jesus Christ? What he is saying is that the devil is stronger than God, more powerful than the finished work of Jesus Christ, and that God has abandoned His children, is a delinquent Father, whereas the devil looks after his own, keeps his own close by him, will fight to keep them. So, where did the man actually stand, and why did he not come out of the closet of neo-Evangelicalism?

    1. I truly Thank-you for your comment A Mountford, welcome to the discussion I thank-you for your reaction and thoughtful examination of Lloyd –Jones. I personally am not a worshiper of “the man” and none of us should be (of any minister). I do like him.
      I have been out of School for a few years so I actually had to look up neo –Evangelicalism to refresh my understanding. I do not feel the definition fits Lloyd- Jones but I do believe however that Lloyd-Jones was reacting to a real situation in what would have been his present day contemporary Church context. People were not grasping the Gospel and therefore needed to be instructed in what Christ had done for them and to be brought back to the power of the word of God and to turn away from the thoughts and feelings ( the fiery darts of the enemy) to Christ.
      I believe Lloyd-Jones to be a Christian minister who though not born in the 1600’s does carry on in the tradition of puritan thinking especially in respect to being “a physician of the soul”. Many puritan ministers dealt with the “disease of melancholy” among their people, terms we no longer use but basically, a depressive state of mind casting a shadow over ones life, worship and joy in the Lord. The ministers who spoke to that situation were also reacting to a real problem among true believers. In fact I have a book in front of me entitled, Trouble of mind and the Disease of melancholy, written by one Timothy Rogers originally published in 1691 which I purchased from a Reformed Puritan Calvinistic book store. Admitting a problem does not admit defeat no where ( to my knowledge) does Lloyd –Jones ever assert that Satan has an upper-hand on God.

      A long response I know but you touched on so much.

  4. A Mountford – I’m not sure about where the idea about Dr. Lloyd-Jones not believing that men are born into bondage to sin came from – just read practically any of his sermons or books. And as for being able to diagnose depression, well, his doctorate is an earned medical doctorate.

    But to equate people having depression with Satan being stronger than God is just preposterous! Though we have been set free from the penalty of sin by Jesus Christ, we still live in a body that is still prone to the sinful nature. There is no Calvinist anywhere who would believe the things you seem to accuse Dr. Lloyd-Jones of.

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