by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (selected by Frank Cumbers)
The way of the world
This [the first Beatitude (Matthew 5:3)] is something which is not only not admired by the world; it is despised by it. You will never find a greater antithesis to the worldly spirit and outlook than that which you find in this verse. What emphasis the world places on its belief in self-reliance, self-confidence, and self-expression! Look at its literature. If you want to get on in this world, it says, believe in yourself. That idea is absolutely controlling the life of men at the present time....
What, for instance, is the essence of good salesmanship according to modern ideas? It is giving the impression of confidence and assurance. If you want to impress your customer, that is the way you must do it. The same idea is put into practice in every realm. If you want to succeed in a profession, the great thing is to give the impression that you are a success, so you suggest that you are more successful than you actually are, and people say, "That is the man to go to." ...Self-confidence, assurance, self-reliance. And it is in terms of that fundamental belief that men think they can bring in the kingdom; it is the whole basis of the fatal assumption that by Acts of Parliament alone you can produce a perfect society....
Now in this verse we are confronted by something which is in utter and absolute contrast to that.... You will remember the verse in which Charles Wesley says:
"I am all unrighteousness;
Vile and full of sin I am...."
[A few years ago, a man ridiculed this] and asked, "What man desiring a post or job would dream of going to an employer and saying [that] to him...? Ridiculous!" ...You see what a complete misunderstanding ... that reveals...; if one feels anything in the presence of God save an utter poverty of spirit, it ultimately means that you have never faced Him.
Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, i, pp. 44-5
Comments on D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, A First Book of Daily Readings
"These gems of evangelical truth, biblically based, help the reader to understand this world in the light of the Word." —Church Herald
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