by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (selected by Frank Cumbers)
Behold, I make all things new
If this picture [Matthew 6:5-8*] does not persuade us of our own utter sinfulness, of our hopelessness as well as our helplessness, if it does not make us see our need of the grace of God in the matter of salvation, and the necessity of forgiveness, rebirth, and a new nature, then I know of nothing that ever can persuade us of it. Here we see a mighty argument for the New Testament doctrine about the absolute necessity of being born again because sin is a matter of disposition, something that is so profound and so vitally a part of us that it even accompanies us into the presence of God.
But follow that argument beyond this life and world, beyond death and the grave, and contemplate yourself in the presence of God in eternity for ever and ever. Is not the rebirth something which is a bare essential? Here, then, in these instructions about piety and the conduct of the religious life, we have implicit in almost every statement this ultimate New Testament doctrine of regeneration and the nature of the new man in Christ Jesus.
Indeed we can go on even beyond that and say that even if we are born again ... we still need these instructions. This is our Lord's instruction to Christian people, not to the non-Christian. It is His warning to those who have been born again; even they have to be careful lest in their prayers and devotions they become guilty of this hypocrisy of the Pharisees.
Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, ii, p. 23
*"And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
"And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him" (Matthew 6:5-8).
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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