by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (selected by Frank Cumbers)
A picture of true faith
What are the characteristics of the true Christian? ... It is that he "doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."
The first part of the answer is to make clear what it does not mean.... Obviously it does not mean "justification by works"; the first statement [in the Beatitudes] is, "Blessed are the poor in spirit." We can try from now until we are dead, but we shall never make ourselves "poor in spirit," and we can never make ourselves conform to any of the Beatitudes....
Neither is it a teaching of sinless perfection. Many people read these pictures at the end of the Sermon on the Mount and say that they mean that the only man who is allowed or able to enter into the kingdom of heaven is the man who, having read the Sermon on the Mount, puts each detail into practice, always and everywhere. This again is obviously impossible. If that were the teaching, then we could be quite certain that there never has been and there never will be a single Christian in the world....
What then is it? It is none other than the doctrine which James, in his Epistle, summarizes in the words, "Faith without works is dead." It is simply a perfect definition of faith. Faith without works is not faith; it is dead.
The life of faith is never a life of ease; faith is always practical. The difference between faith and intellectual assent is that intellectual assent simply says, "Lord, Lord" but does not do His will. In other words, though I may say "Lord, Lord" to the Lord Jesus Christ, there is no meaning in it unless I regard Him as my Lord and willingly become His bondslave. My words are idle words, and I do not mean "Lord, Lord" unless I obey Him. Faith without works is dead.
Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, ii, pp. 308-10
“Text reproduced from ‘A First Book of Daily Readings’ by Martyn Lloyd-Jones, published by Epworth Press 1970 & 1977 © Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes. Used with permission.”
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