April 6, 2010

Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899–1981) on Matthew 5:45

The first thing, of necessity, is that our treatment of others must never depend upon what they are, or upon what they do to us. It must be entirely controlled and governed by our view of them and of their condition. Clearly that is the principle which He enunciates. There are people who are evil, foul and unjust; nevertheless God sends rain upon them and causes the sun to shine upon them. Their crops are fructified like the crops of the good man; they have certain benefits in life, and experience what is called 'common grace'. God does not bless only the efforts of the Christian farmer; no, at the same time He blesses the efforts of the unjust, the evil, the unrighteous farmer. That is a common experience. How does He do so? The answer must be that God is not dealing with them according to what they are or according to what they do to Him What is it, if one may ask such a question with reverence, that governs God's attitude to them? The answer is that He is goverened by His own love which is absolutely disinterested. In other words, it does not depend upon anything that is in us, it is in spite of us. 'For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.' What made Him do it? Was it something loving, or lovely, or lovable in us or in the world? Was it something that stimulated the eternal heart of love? Nothing whatsoever. It was entirely and altogether in spite of us. What moved God was His own eternal heart of love unmoved by anything outside itself. It generates its own movement and activity—an utterly disinterested love.
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “Love your Enemies,” in Studies in the Sermon on the Mount (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1993), 1:303–304.
God looks down upon this world and sees all the sin and shame, but He sees it as something that results from the activity of Satan. There is a sense in which He sees the unjust man in a different way. He is concerned about him and about his good and welfare, and He therefore causes the sun to shine upon him and sends the rain upon him. Now we must learn to do that. We must learn to look at other people and say: 'Yes, they are doing this, that and the other to me. Why? They are doing it because they are dupes of Satan; because they are governed by the god of this world and are his helpless victims. I must not be annoyed. I see them as hell-bound sinners. I must do everything I can to save them.' That is God's way of doing it. God looked at this sinful, arrogant, foul world, and He sent His only begotten Son into it to save it because He saw its condition. What was the explanation of that? He did it for our good and our welfare. And we must learn to do this for other people. We must have a positive concern for their good. The moment we begin to think of it like this it is not so difficult to do what He asks us to do. If we know in our hearts something of this compassion for the lost and the sinful and those who are perishing, then we shall be able to do it.
Ibid., 1:305.


No comments: