by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (selected by Frank Cumbers)
The discipline of the Christian life
It is most important for us to realize that there is such a thing as "the discipline of the Christian life." It is not enough to say ... that, whatever may happen to us, we have just to "look to the Lord" and all will be well.... It is unscriptural teaching. Were that the only thing we have to do, many of these scriptures would be quite unnecessary; ...the Epistles need never have been written; but they have been written ... by men inspired by the Holy Spirit...; what they tell us ... is that there is an essential discipline in the Christian life.
One of the saddest features in the lives of certain types of Christian at the present time is that they seem to have lost sight of this aspect of the faith. This is, alas, especially true of those who are evangelical.... First and foremost there was a reaction against Roman Catholic teaching. In the Roman Catholic system they make a great deal of a certain type of discipline. They have many handbooks and manuals on the subject. In fact, some of the greatest masters in this kind of teaching have been Roman Catholics as, for instance, Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, or the well-known Fenelon, whose famous Letters to Men and Letters to Women were very popular at one time.
Now Protestants have reacted against all that and to some extent very rightly.... But to deduce from its misuse that there is no need for discipline at all in the Christian life is quite wrong.
In fact, the really great periods in Protestantism have always been characterized by the realization of the need for such discipline.... Why were men like the two Wesley brothers and Whitefield called Methodists? They were so called because they were methodical in their living. They were Methodists because they had method in their meetings.... The very term Methodist ... emphasizes the fact that they believed in discipline and in the importance of disciplining one's life and of knowing how to deal with oneself and how to handle oneself in the various circumstances and situations that we meet in the world we live in.
Faith on Trial, pp. 23-4
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
"Christ-honoring, thought-provoking discussions" —Presbyterian Journal
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