In this chapter, Martyn Lloyd-Jones is expounding on Paul’s statement that “the name of God is being blasphemed among the gentiles” because of the hypocrisy of the Jews (Romans 2:24). He writes:
[The Gentiles] had no personal or direct knowledge of God, but here was a nation that claimed it was God’s own people, that they were the representatives of God. So the Gentiles judged God by what they saw in the Jews, and you cannot blame them.
From there, MLJ makes the connection to the Christian church today, and those who are on the outside looking in.
And it is devastating. He goes on:
In the same way, you cannot blame people today for judging Christ and Christianity by what they see in church members. And the blindness of many Christians at this point is something I cannot understand at all. People seem to thing that the masses are outside the Christian church because our evangelistic methods are not what they ought to be. That is not the answer. People are outside the church because looking at us they say, ‘What is the point of being Christians? Look at them! They are judging Christ by you and me. And you cannot stop them, and you cannot blame them.Romans: The Righteous Judgment of God (2:1-3:20), Chapter 11, p. 149.
Sometimes, cliches become cliches because they are true. That’s the case with the cliche about being the only Bible some people will ever read. There is someone in your life that is forming their opinion of Jesus by what they see in you. What conclusions are they making?
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/