Chapter 20of Volume 1 of Marten Lloyd-Jones’ exposition of Romans is probably the most powerful chapter I’ve encountered so far. In it, he asks the question implied from Romans 1:16: “Why is Paul not ashamed of the Gospel?”
To be honest, I highlighted so many things in this chapter that I had a hard time trying to isolate just one quote. But here goes:
Our reason for not being ashamed of the gospel must always be special to the gospel. It must always be unique, and that means, of necessity, that it must not simply end with us and what has happened to us. “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.” Why?Romans, Vol 1, chapter 20, p. 268.
MLJ talks about how it’s not enough to talk about the fact that you have more happiness because of the gospel, or more peace. Or that you sleep better at night. An unbeliever can go to the Christian Science church and hear the same testimony.
No. The only thing we have to offer to an unbelieving world is that the gospel is “the power of God for salvation. Jones concludes the sermon with this statement:
That is Paul’s reason for not being ashamed. And I do not hesitate to assert that it is the only true reason; it is the only reason that really glorifies God and the Lord Jesus Christ, because all other reasons can be counterfeited by the other things. The reason for not being ashamed of the Gospel… God Glorified! Christ glorified! Glorying in the Spirit! Something no one can say, save he who has been called by God’s grace, born again, given a new nature, and an understanding of how God has done it all!Ibid, p 269.
MLJ’s preaching has been described as “logic on fire.” This is the clearest example yet.
This year I’m trying to read through Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ 14 volume exposition of Romans. Lloyd-Jones began teaching through Romans on Friday nights at Westminster Chapel in London on October 7, 1955. Thirteen years later, at the end of chapter 14, he was forced to retire from the pulpit ministry because of illness. He spent the rest of his life editing the manuscripts of his sermons. All his sermons were recorded on tape, and are available at https://www.mljtrust.org/free-sermons/book-of-romans/