“Spiritual Depression” By Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Summaries to Encourage, Edify, and Bless
Chapter 12 The Spirit of Bondage
This passage is one of the most magnificent statements in Scripture. In Romans 8:15-17, Paul wants to save the readers from a spirit of discouragement. He practices his usually form of writing practical truth through pastoral care. Here he addresses the Christian life and the problem of sin. The readers were failing to understand doctrine and this was harming them. They were failing to see that faith must be appropriated for its effects and thus were turning the Christian life into a new kind of law. Their Christian life becomes a new task.
Paul calls this approach a spirit of bondage and indicates in his Epistle to the Colossians that a form of monasticism was infiltrating the church. There he warns them against being misled by those teaching rules of eating and day observance. Lloyd Jones admonishes that there is a wrong fear of God when we see Him as a taskmaster. Similarly we can fear the devil in a wrong way by focusing more on what he might do rather than on the limitations God places on the devil. Beyond that, we can fear the sin within ourselves.
Lloyd-Jones believes contemporary Christians mourn too little of their sin while in the past centuries, Christians often mourned too much over their sins.
The spirit of bondage that Lloyd Jones describes is a fear of failure. The antidote is that we live Christian life only in the Holy Spirit. We are not left to live the Christian life alone. He points to Philippians 2:13 as a description of God’s power working in us. It is the same Spirit that was in Christ and working in Him. We learn to appropriate faith by recognizing God as our Father. The Spirit reminds us of our destiny as heirs with Christ.
This chapter alone should make Martyn Lloyd-Jones book worthy of purchase. He is correct in considering this one of Scripture’s magnificent statements. We are not to be in bondage any longer. He is acutely aware however that such a right view of our freedom does not mean there is no battle in daily life. Rebirth in Christ necessarily sets us in opposition to the world’s view and practices. Antagonism naturally results. He urges us to not turn the Christian life into a new kind of law. No more than our salvation can be a work, neither can our Christian life be only a task. Our life is to be a living out of the Spirit that God has placed within us. We are made into a temple of God and have the power given us to live as that temple.
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