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D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression, p. 35:

Would you like to be rid of this spiritual depression?

The first thing you have to do is to say farewell now once and forever to your past.

Realize that it has been covered and blotted out in Christ.

Never look back at your sins again.

Say: 'It is finished, it is covered by the Blood of Christ'.

That is your first step.

Take that and finish with yourself and all this talk about goodness, and look to the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is only then that true happiness and joy are possible for you.

What you need is not to make resolutions to live a better life, to start fasting and sweating and praying.

No! You just begin to say:

I rest my faith on Him alone
Who died for my transgressions to atone.

(HT: David Mathis)

Here’s the “one thing” Paul wanted to do: “forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14).

Also remember this rule from Robert Murray M’Cheyne:

For one look at yourself,
take ten looks at Christ!

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11 thoughts on “Resolutions and Regret”

  1. Wyeth Duncan says:

    This is a good word, especially for introspective types, like myself.

  2. Glenn Davis says:

    The Holy Spirit has used your blog many times as a source of encouragement. Today is no exception. Thank you for this quote from Lloyd-Jones-exactly what I needed at the moment that I read it. Thank you.

  3. Rick Fernandez says:

    MJL Trust is pod-casting sermons by the late D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones.They recently aired several portions of the sermon series that the book quoted about is based on.The podcast can be found on

  4. Michael Boyd says:

    Thanks for this quote. It made me go take MLJ’s book “Spiritual Depression” off the shelf and read the chapter this quote came from. I found it to be so helpful to me at this time and a beautiful proclamation of the Gospel which I can never hear often enough! I believe reading this book would be an excellent way to start the new year off.

  5. CR says:

    The MLJ Recordings Trust has recently made available MLJ’s series on spiritual depression on audio. I’ve never heard his series on depression but if anyone is struggling with depression and if his sermon on this topic is anything like the rest of his sermons, I would strongly recommend it.

  6. Kim in ON says:

    Just finished reading this book. It is a must-read for all Christians.

  7. Dan Phillips says:

    I think it would be important to add that L-J almost certainly means sins of which one has repented.

    Or am I the only one who has known many who have savagely wronged others, and who have refused to repent and make restitution, who would delight at this statement and use it to rationalize and smear over their apostasy, robbery, slander, or what-have-you?

  8. Is this different from gaining a perspective on your own sinfulness? I was thinking about John Piper’s talk on Charles Simeon, and there seems to be a healthy way to acknowledge your own “past” or sinfulness, and an unhealthy way to be ensnared by it.

    Can I remember my sinful past in such a way as to think “that was what I once did” or “remember how easy it would be for me to fall into that pattern” which is still “forgetting” what is past? My past, even my sin, has been turned to glory in the light of Christ. Can I not look back on that “glory”?

    Was Paul talking about “forgetting” our past, or stopping focussing on it? A semantic clarification of this idea might be necessary to avoid getting the wrong end of the stick.

    I agree though, that our focus should always be on Christ, and all things done out of response to his glory and love.

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Justin Taylor, PhD

Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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