I just finished reading the book Spiritual Depression, by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. This blog is a short summary of the essential points of chapter two: The True Foundation.
The way I see the truths of this chapter is in the following outline.
Why Many Unbelievers Do Not Find Salvation
1. They don’t see themselves as a sinner. This may not be entirely true of every person, but for many this is their problem. They have the wrong idea of what sin is, or they see sin in a very limited way. They may see sin, or a sinner, as a murderer, or a bank robber, or an adulterer, etc., and so when they don’t see themselves that way, they think they are okay. They may think of themselves as better than most, and so they feel that they are okay. They feel no conviction of sins.
And this is a problem, because they have sinned and just aren’t aware of it. Hence, they don’t see their need of God or of His salvation.
2. They don’t know the essence of sin. People go wrong in their belief system because of their wrong idea of sin. They are not looking at the law of God, they are comparing themselves with others. And when they see that they are better than other, they think they are okay.
I like what Lloyd-Jones says about this. He says that to know ourselves as a sinner is not to compare ourselves with others, but to come face to face with the law of God. And what is the law of God? It is more than just the Ten Commandments; it is mainly this—Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy strength, and also, Thou shalt love they neighbor as thyself. If we are not doing this than we are a sinner.
Lloyd-Jones goes on to point out what Jesus said in John 17:3; that eternal life is to know God. Hence, he says that the essence of sin is not knowing God; it is not enjoying God; it is not living entirely for the glory of God; and it is not having a relationship with God. And so it comes down to this: sin is rejecting God’s offer of a relationship with Him. It is thinking that we do not need Him.
3. They think too much of themselves. If people don’t see themselves as a sinner, they will go on their way thinking they are good enough. But the moment they are faced with problems and sins, since they don’t know really what the essence of sin is, they will let sin get the best of them. They will try and try to be good enough, to conquer sin on their own, but will fail every time. They will say to themselves, I will overcome this problem; I can do it. I, I, I, I, I. So you see the problem. They don’t know Christ and don’t know how to trust Him.
But many Christians have a similar problem.
We have forgotten our first love—Jesus. We compare ourselves with others just like the pagans do. We don’t know the essence of sin. That is, we have neglected our relationship with Him. We fail to spend time with Him: to read the word and pray. And when we sin we do everything under the sun to better ourselves, but we don’t come to Him for help. This in itself is sin!