Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Grace

There is a sense in which the doctrine of justification by faith only is a very dangerous doctrine; dangerous, I mean, in the sense that it can be misunderstood. It exposes a man to this particular charge. People listening to it may say, “Ah, there is a man who does not encourage us to live a good life, he seems to say that there is no value in our works, he says that ‘all our righteousness are as filthy rags.’ Therefore what he is saying is that it does not matter what you do, sin as much as you like.” . . . There is thus clearly a sense in which the message of “justification by faith only” can be dangerous, and likewise with the message that salvation is entirely of grace. . . . I say therefore that if our preaching does not expose us to that charge and to that misunderstanding, it is because we are not really preaching the gospel.

Nobody has ever brought this charge against the Church of Rome, but it was brought frequently against Martin Luther; indeed that was precisely what the Church of Rome said about the preaching of Martin Luther. They said,”This man who was a priest has changed the doctrine in order to justify his own marriage and his own lust”, . . . and so on.”This man”, they said, “is an antinomian; and that is heresy.”That is the very charge they brought against him. It was also brought against George Whitefield two hundred years ago. It is the charge that formal dead Christianity — if there is such a thing — has always brought against this startling, staggering message, that God “justifies the ungodly”, and that we are saved, not by anything we do, but in spite of it, entirely and only by the grace of God through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

That is my comment; and it is a very important comment for preachers. I would say to all preachers: If your preaching of salvation has not been misunderstood in that way, then you had better examine your sermons again, and you had better make sure that you really are preaching the salvation that is offered in the New Testament to the ungodly, to the sinner, to those who are dead in trespasses and sins, to those who are enemies of God. There is this kind of dangerous element about the true presentation of the doctrine of salvation.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones in a sermon on Romans 6

Question: Martin Luther said, “we must offend these legalists boldly”.  Are you offensive to legalists? Does your church preach grace , but live works? Do you know someone who could use some grace in their life right now? What can you do to make grace known to others?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • It isn’t just doctrines of grace that are offensive… the entire 66 books of the Bible are offensive. As we just went through the Sermon on the Mount, we saw many things that Jesus said that were probably more offensive in his time than they are now.

    Often times today, Jesus is portrayed as this kind nomad of a man, but the things that he was saying were radical and flying in the face of the teaching of the day. It was bold and not restrained. It was complete and full. It left many wondering its meanings. Yes we was kind and ‘odd’ but he stood out from all others because he was totally different than others, both in speech and action.

    I know that doesn’t answer your questions 🙂 Just my personal mind dump after reading the above.

    • Very true Andy. The gospel is very offensive and all of the Bible (old and new testaments) is the “gospel” – it all points to Christ. The reason the gospel is so offensive is that in order to believe it one must also believe one is a radical sinner… and we are. If we were not radical sinners in need of radical grace, God would have sent a book, or a CD teaching series, not Jesus. Our radical sin required radical grace in the form of a radical Savior.