Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones was amongst the greatest British preachers of the twentieth century, if not the world. His understanding of the atonement demonstrates that his position on the doctrine of the atonement was the same as that held by the Reformer from Geneva, John Calvin, fellow Frenchman Moïse Amyraut, English puritan Richard Baxter, Congregationalist Philip Doddridge, Anglican J. C. Ryle, and many others.
These great servants of the Gospel believed that when Christ died on the Cross, He made atonement that was sufficient to save all, even though only those who repented of their sin and trusted Christ alone as their Saviour knew the benefits of that atonement. Christ’s death on Calvary atoned for the sin of the world (John 1:29), and this Gospel was to be preached as the world’s only hope.
Dr Lloyd-Jones ministered in Aberavon, South Wales for the first eleven years of his ministry, and then moved to London for thirty years, initially as associate minister with Dr G. Campbell Morgan. His Sunday evening sermons were evangelistic and when preaching away during the week, he preached evangelistic messages. His wife, Bethan, defined her husband, as ‘a man of prayer and an evangelist.’ It is clear that it was his prayerfulness that explains his ‘success’ in evangelistic preaching.
His evangelistic sermons were received with great warmth by Gospel ministers and other evangelistic preachers. These sermons showed how the Gospel was to be proclaimed without inhibition and to all men. Preachers today, both young and old, would do well to study the Doctor’s sermons on the Acts of the Apostles, to learn how he preached evangelistically. Many came to a true knowledge of Christ throughout his ministry, and numerous young men were called to the Gospel ministry.
He believed, with the apostle Paul, that the Gospel was ‘the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes’ (Romans 1:16). The Doctor preached that the salvation offered in this Gospel was for all men, ‘for there is no difference; for all had sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23). All men stood under the righteous judgement of God for their sins. With John Calvin, Lloyd-Jones believed that Christ died for all, for all men, for humanity, for the whole human race, for mankind, and that he was the world’s Redeemer. That Christ was the ‘Saviour of the world’ (John 4:42) was a necessary and basic conviction if the Gospel was to be properly declared.
Lloyd-Jones shared the soteriology of Calvin and Baxter. This understanding provided a solid basis for preaching the Gospel, assured that the Biblical message to a lost and guilty and condemned world was faithfully proclaimed.