By D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
from Chs 9-11, Spiritual Depression
Where is Your Faith? (Chapter 10, p.135)
supporting chapters: Labourers in the Vineyard (9, p.121) and Looking at the Waves (11, p.149)
lessons and thoughts from three parables
…what makes one a Christian is that one is given the gift of faith. We are given the gift of faith by God through the Holy Spirit and we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and that saves us; but that does not mean that we have fully understood the nature of faith. So it comes to pass that, while we may be truly Christian and genuinely saved through receiving this gift of faith, we may subsequently get into trouble with our spiritual experience because we have not understood what faith really is. It is given as a gift, but from there on we have to do certain things about it. p 135
Are you walking by faith?
…whatsoever is right I will give you. Matthew 20:4b
…If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:31-32
But not only do we have to contend with the enemy, there is still the old nature within, and these two together make it certain that we shall have troubles and difficulties; and it is our business to understand the teaching of the Scripture with respect to these, lest we be caught by the guile and the subtlety of the enemy. He follows us as he followed our Lord, all the way. When he had tempted and tried our Lord in the wilderness for forty days, we are told that at the end of it he only left Him ‘for a season’. He did not leave Him permanently, he came back again and again and followed Him all the way. Look at his activities in Gethsemane at the very end, indeed he was still attacking when our Blessed Lord was dying on the Cross. Now to say that is not to be depressing, it is to be realistic, and to be realistic is always encouraging. There is nothing worse or more reprehensible than to drug people with some kind of soporific and then to allow them to wake up suddenly to find difficulties they are not prepared for. It is our business to anticipate these things in the light of Scripture. ‘To be forewarned is to be forearmed’, and we have before us always that mighty Scripture which teaches: ‘Take unto you, therefore, the whole armour of God’. We are simply trying in these studies to put on the separate pieces of this strong armour that God has provided for us. pp 121-122
The point I would emphasize now, therefore, is that while it is of vital and supreme importance to start correctly, it is not enough. We must continue in the same way, for, if we do not, we shall soon find ourselves unhappy. p 122
Here, then, is the principle on which we must concentrate. What is it? What is the doctrine? It is that in the Christian life all is of grace from the very beginning to the very end. That is the message, that is the doctrine, that is the principle….What a tragic thing it is that Christian people can be miserable and murmuring instead of rejoicing in Christ Jesus. It is an outcome of the fact that they have forgotten that everything is of grace. They have forgotten this great principle that goes right through the Christian life from the very beginning to the very end….The whole world is turned upside down by grace. It is not of man, it is of God, it is the Kingdom of God. How excellent that is….The secret of a happy Christian life is to realize that it is all of grace and to rejoice in that fact. pp 124, 127, 131, 132
We must say to ourselves every day of our lives: ‘Now I am a Christian, and because I am a Christian I am in the Kingdom of God and all my thinking has got to be different. Everything here is different. I must not bring with me those old ideas, those old moods and concepts of thought’. We tend to confine salvation to one thing, namely to faorgiveness, but we have to apply the principle throughout the Christian life. p 129
DMLJ, referencing the story of Jesus stilling the waters, Luke 8:22-25
But faith is not a matter of feelings only, faith takes up the whole man including his mind, his intellect and his understanding. It is a response to truth, as we shall see.
…you then remind yourself of what you believe and what you know. That again is something these foolish disciples did not do. If only they had stopped a moment and said: ‘Now then what about it? Is it possible that we are going to drown with Him in the boat? Is there anything He cannot do? We have seen His miracles, He turned the water into wine, He can heal the blind and the lame, He can even raise the dead, is it likely that He is going to allow us and Himself to be drowned in this way? Impossible! In any case He loves us, He cares for us, He has told us that the very hairs of our head are all numbered!’ That is the way in which faith reasons. It says: ‘All right, I see the waves and the billows but’ —it always puts up this ‘but’. That is faith, it holds on to truth and reasons from what it knows to be fact. That is the way to apply faith. pp 142, 144
Whatever your circumstances at this moment, bring all you know to be true of your relationship to God to bear upon it. p 145
The Christian faith begins and ends with a knowledge of the Lord….Christianity is Christ, and Christian faith means believing certain things about Him and knowing Him, knowing that He is the Lord of Glory come down amongst us, knowing something about the Incarnation and the Virgin Birth, knowing why He came, knowing what He did when He came, knowing something about His atoning work, knowing that He came, as He said Himself, not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance, knowing that He says: ‘They that are whole need not a physician but they that are sick’, knowing that ‘His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness; by whose stripes ye were healed’….
…In other words, the great antidote to spiritual depression is the knowledge of Biblical doctrine, Christian doctrine….The antidote to depression is to have a knowledge of Him, and you get that in His Word. You must take the trouble to learn it….He said: ‘If ye continue in My word then are ye My disciples indeed. And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free’ (John 8:31, 32). Free from doubts or fears, free from depression, free from things that get you down. It is the truth that frees—the truth about Him, in His Person, in His work, in His offices, Christ as He is. pp 155, 156, 157
The more you know Him and His glory the more ridiculous (doubts) will become. p 158
It does not matter how long you have been in the Christian life, you are dependent upon Him for every step. Without Him we can do nothing. We can only conquer our doubts by looking steadily at Him and by not looking at them. The way to answer them is to look at Him. The more you know Him and His glory the more ridiculous they will become. So keep steadily looking at Him…
It is ‘the fight of faith’, you are walking on turbulent waves and the only way to keep walking is to keep looking at Him. (p. 158-159)