Let us be honest. None of us really likes to talk about sin.
But when we talk about the great and glorious news of the Gospel, that in Jesus Christ we have been forgiven of our sin, it would behoove us to fully understand what the sin problem really is. If we fail to do that, it would be like a doctor trying to give a prescription to a patient for their healing without fully grasping the proper diagnosis of the condition.
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones was perhaps the greatest evangelical preacher in 20th century Britain, only rivaled by perhaps one of my favorite expository British teachers, John R. W. Stott (who teaches on the subject of human sin as found in Ephesians 2:1-3 in a commentary found here). Formerly a doctor, Martyn Lloyd-Jones went onto preach as a minister for 30 years. Jones was a great admirer of the Puritans, thoroughly immersed in the Reformed tradition.
I have been spending several weeks reading Romans 5:12-21 in preparing some discussions for our small group Bible study. Of everything I have read in Romans, this passage of Scripture is probably the most compact, dense, liberating, and enriching text in the entire letter. It is nevertheless controversial within the church as to how it has been interpreted. Just ask any Roman Catholic, Protestant or Eastern Orthodox Christian familiar with the discussion. For starters, consider verse 12:
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned——
The Apostle Paul simply breaks off his thought within mid-sentence. It is as though Paul had to pause there, anticipating the objections that would be raised to the concept of human as sinners that would chafe against the rational mind for the next 21 centuries. What does Paul mean by this phrase all sinned? I have been reading this over and over again, looking at commentaries like this one, only to be further drawn into the Apostle Paul’s famous pause at the point. What was Paul getting at?
It is as breath-taking as it is challenging.
In the following video, Martyn Lloyd-Jones gets to the heart of why so many people have such difficulties with Paul’s message in Romans 5.
Also, if you want to hear some of the best Reformed, expository Bible preaching ever recorded, you will be pleased to know that over 1,600 of Martyn-Lloyd Jones sermons are now available for free on the Internet (though you can donate to make sure that those sermons remain freely available).
In the meantime, you can get the flavor of his approach to the Bible and why it is so important to understand the proper diagnosis of the human condition. This interview was conducted by journalist Joan Bakewell in December, 1970: