Lloyd-Jones on sin

From D. M. Lloyd-Jones, preaching on Rm 1.5, By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith

Lloyd-Jones notes that the text should read ‘obedience of faith’, where the word ‘faith’ describes what kind of ‘obedience’ the apostles were striving after, an obedience which is faith, i.e., saving faith is a submission of obedience to God. In preaching on this point, Lloyd-Jones gives this definition of sin:

"Sin primarily is disobedience. Sin is not just that which I do that is wrong and which makes me feel miserable afterwards; sin is not just that which spoils my life and makes me feel miserable and unhappy; sin is not just that thing which gets me down, and which I would like to overcome. It is all that, but, my friends, that is not the first thing to say about sin; indeed, that is not the most important thing to say about it. But there are many people who think of sin like that, and they are looking for someone who is going to help to overcome sin. They want happiness; they want peace; they don’t want to go on falling to a particular temptation; they want deliverance, and they hear that Christ can do that for them, so they say, I will believe on Him, I will accept Him, if He will help me and make me happy, and deliver me from my problem. We all want to get rid of problems, don’t we? And there is a great danger that we shall think of the Lord Jesus Christ simply as someone who helps us to get out of our difficulties.

"Thank God He does that. But before we even begin to think of that we must think of something else. What is sin? Sin is the transgression of the law. Primarily, it is rebellion against God. Sin is refusal to listen to the voice of God. Sin is a turning of your back upon God and doing what you think. That is ultimately what sin is. And you see the importance of realizing that. It comes out in this way. You have all met nice people who say to you, ‘You know I really cannot regard myself as a sinner; I have never felt that I am one.’ What do they mean when they say this? Well, they mean that they have never got drunk; they have not been guilty of adultery or murder; they have not committed certain sins. I have known nice, respectable people who have been brought up like this, who have said sometimes quite sincerely and genuinely — I almost wish that I had been a drunkard, or something like that, in order that I might have this great experience of salvation. Perhaps some of you have felt like that. Do you know what that is due to? It is due to a wrong definition of sin. This is sin: a refusal to listen to the voice and to the Word of God. So that if you are living your own life in a very respectable manner, and are not listening to God, you are still a terrible sinner. If you are living that little self-contained, self-satisfied life in which you really only think of God now and again, and remember perhaps morning and evenings that there is a God, and you say your prayers; if that is your attitude to God, if you are not waiting upon Him and listening for His Word, and seeking it everywhere, and living to practise it, then you are as much a sinner as the drunkard or the adulterer; you are not listening to God. That is the essence of sin." Lloyd-Jones, Romans 1: The Gospel of God, p. 138-139.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3