“Possibly one of the most devastating things that can happen to us as Christians is that we cease to expect anything to happen.  I am not sure but that this is not one of our greatest troubles today.  We come to our services and they are orderly, they are nice ‒ we come, we go ‒ and sometimes they are timed almost to the minute, and there it is.  But that is not Christianity, my friend.  Where is the Lord of glory?  Where is the one sitting by the well?  Are we expecting him?  Do we anticipate this?  Are we open to it?  Are we aware that we are ever facing this glorious possibility of having the greatest surprise of our life?

Or let me put it like this.  You may feel and say ‒ as many do ‒ ‘I was converted and became a Christian.  I’ve grown ‒ yes, I’ve grown in knowledge, I’ve been reading books, I’ve been listening to sermons, but I’ve arrived now at a sort of peak and all I do is maintain that.  For the rest of my life I will just go on like this.’

Now, my friend, you must get rid of that attitude; you must get rid of it once and for ever.  That is ‘religion’, it is not Christianity.  This is Christianity: the Lord appears!  Suddenly, in the midst of the drudgery and the routine and the sameness and the dullness and the drabness, unexpectedly, surprisingly, he meets with you and he says something to you that changes the whole of your life and your outlook and lifts you to a level that you had never conceived could be possible for you.  Oh, if we get nothing else from this story, I hope we will get this.  Do not let the devil persuade you that you have got all you are going to get, still less that you received all you were ever going to receive when you were converted.  That has been a popular teaching, even among evangelicals.  You get everything at your conversion, it is said, including baptism with the Spirit, and nothing further, ever.  Oh, do not believe it; it is not true.  It is not true to the teaching of the Scriptures, it is not true in the experience of the saints running down the centuries.  There is always this glorious possibility of meeting with him in a new and a dynamic way.”

Martyn Lloyd-Jones, on John chapter 4, cited by Justin Taylor here.

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2 thoughts on “This is Christianity”

  1. F. T. says:

    This made me cry. The Lord appears! May that well be around every corner. Thank you.

  2. Travis Slater says:

    Amen!

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Ray Ortlund


Ray Ortlund is senior pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and serves as a Council member with The Gospel Coalition. You can follow him on Twitter.

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