Book of Romans
Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones’s sermons on the book of Romans were preached to the congregation at Westminster Chapel in the heart of central London on Friday evenings between October 1955 to March 1968. These sermons were preached from the beginning of October until the end of May each year, with breaks being taken for Christmas and Easter. Dr Lloyd-Jones began his ministry at Westminster Chapel in 1938, and his ministry there lasted for thirty years until his retirement in 1968. As such, his Romans series came at the end of his preaching career. Spanning 366 sermons over twelve years, his series on the book of Romans is the longest expositional series Dr Lloyd-Jones ever did.
Dr Lloyd-Jones regarded the book of Romans as the ‘first in importance’ among the New Testament epistles. Indeed, it is likely that Dr Lloyd-Jones saw his exposition of the book of Romans as his most important work, as evidenced by the fact that he chose his Romans sermons as the first of his many sermons to be published following his retirement. His official biographer Iain Murray writes;
Many hundreds of unrevised manuscript copies of sermons thus existed by 1968, of which, for reasons already noted, comparatively few had appeared in print. He did not hesitate in choosing to put his Romans sermons first for publication in book form, to be followed by those on Ephesians.
Dr Lloyd-Jones’s hope for these sermons on the book of Romans was that they will ‘not only help Christian people to understand more clearly the great doctrines of our Faith, but that they will also fill them with a joy “unspeakable and full of glory” and bring them into a condition in which they will be “Lost in wonder, love, and praise”’.
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Doctrine and practice must not be separated. This seemingly simple truth has great impact on how Christians live and seek to obey Christ. In this sermon on Romans 10:1-21, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones expounds on the apostle Paul’s doctrine of the Christian life in all its glory and weightiness. Out of the great truths of justification by faith, predestination, and perseverance comes a view of the life that is grounded in the person and work of Christ. As Christians, we must seek to trust God and His providence. We must be faithful to the command to evangelize, and we must seek to love our neighbors as ourselves. We must also be aware of the danger to intellectualize Christianity at the expense of practice. Some say things such as, "If God is sovereign, why pray?" Or, "If God elects, why evangelize?" However, Dr. Lloyd-Jones warns us not to try to use our vain logic to understand God, but rather we are to read Scripture faithfully and submit to all of God’s teaching. How then does doctrine relate to practice? The answer is that doctrine informs how God desires us to live as new creatures in Christ Jesus.
Are you zealous for God? If so, is your zeal a true or false sense of zeal? Paul points out that the church does have a zeal for God, but that it is not based on knowledge. Romans 10:1-2 leads Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones to outline the differences between true and false zeal in the Christian life. First, he outlines several tests that you can apply to a person’s zeal to determine if it is a false sense of zeal. A few of these arguments include: a zeal that has been imposed rather than genuine, a focus on actions rather than just being yourself, a likeness to frivolity and fleshliness, and a focus on self and using one’s own power rather than the Lords. On the other hand, a few arguments for true zeal include a zeal that is put on by yourself, a result of true knowledge, not showy but consisting of depth, and a result of genuine behavior. At the end, Dr. Lloyd-Jones charges believers to ensure they have true zeal for the sake of those who are lost. If you have heard the Gospel and know the truth, why would you not be zealous and concerned for those who have not heard?
What was the main trouble with the Jews that Paul is speaking about in Romans 10:3? It is that they did not have a complete and full knowledge of the truth of God? Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says that a precise knowledge of the truth is essential to salvation and Paul is praying and longing for the Jews’ salvation because they lack this knowledge. The Jews may have been nice people and they have been very zealous, but this cannot be mistaken for true Christian faith. Truth cannot be based in subjective terms, because the Gospel is truly objective. The Pharisees had misinterpreted the Old Testament teaching about the righteousness of God and the righteousness that he demands. This was ignorant on their part. Ignorance means that there is not full knowledge, and the Jews were ignorant of the full knowledge of God! This stood in between them and their salvation. Dr. Lloyd-Jones urges the listener to have a precise knowledge because ignorant knowledge is the enemy. Without true knowledge, you will be lost, damned, and outside the kingdom of God.
Since the inception of the church, Christianity has battled the false belief of justification by works. In its modern Western form, many wrongly understand the Gospel to mean going to church, doing good, or being a “nice” person. In short, as Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones proclaims, we live in a Christian culture which continues to preach self-righteousness, self-reliance, and self-dependence. In its primitive form, the Apostle Paul holds up the Pharisees as the prime example of those who are zealous for doing good works, and yet, are ignorant of what God’s righteousness requires in the Gospel. Their lack of knowledge has set them over against the God they claim to serve. They would rather construct their own righteousness than submit to the righteousness of God found in the Gospel of Christ. The Pharisees, and many today, are trapped in believing they can save themselves. The problem, says Dr. Lloyd-Jones in his sermon on Romans 10:1-3, is that the last people to believe the Gospel and be saved are always those who think that they can save themselves. What we need is the Gospel of grace. What we need to know and hear is the truth of what the Scriptures say God’s righteousness requires. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones reminds us of our tendency towards justification by works, and the remedy in submitting to the Gospel of grace.
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says that Romans 10:4 is the charter for all Christians and that it sets us free. In this verse, Paul proclaims that Christ is the fulfillment of the Law for righteousness. What does he mean by this? The Law was not temporary, it is eternal, so God is not doing away with the Law but rather upholding the Law. It is an expression of God’s holy character and what he expects of the human race. So how is Christ the end of the Law? Christ has fulfilled the Law and has done this for all who receive him. He came into the world as a God-man born under the law, living a life of perfect obedience to the Law, and died to satisfy the punishment of the Law. We know that the fulfillment is true because then God raised him from the dead! No one else was able to do this. Christ is the end of the Law for all who believe. The moment a Christian believes in Christ, all that Christ has done for them becomes true of them since they have been united with Christ.
The Jews have continued to believe that their actions, mainly their dedication to keeping the Law, is what justifies them. The Jews have misunderstood the Law and its purpose. Because of this, Paul is laying to rest this foolish thinking once again. In Romans 10:5, Paul is essentially saying that even Moses said that those who attempt to live by their actions will also be judged by their actions. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones points out that the Jews were ignorant of God’s righteousness, ignorant of their own abilities, and thus have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God. Paul continues to emphasize the doctrine of justification by faith only. There is not one thing in the process of salvation that has to do with us, it is entirely a matter of God’s free sovereign choice. If the Jews want to live by their actions to the Law, then Paul says they must keep the whole Law! You are not able to only keep certain laws. If even one law is broken, you have failed completely! Dr. Lloyd-Jones reminds us that no one wants to live under that kind of rule and reign. Therefore, we should be thankful of the Lord’s work in us, breaking us free from the Law!
How far away is the Truth? What quest or journey must I traverse in order to find God? Is there some kind of special act I must perform in order to make my way to God? Many people teach that God is so far away that the gap is unspeakably difficult to cross. Furthermore, others teach that we must cross the gap to God by our own efforts. Whether it is Roman Catholicism, the mystical way, or Protestant intellectualism, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones finds the answer to such false systems in the Apostle Paul’s words in Romans 10:5-8. The Apostle invokes the great preacher of the Law – Moses – in order to show that God has revealed Himself perfectly clearly. There is no need to ascend to heaven, or descend into the deep. God, through Christ, has revealed Himself fully in the Gospel. And the Gospel way is not about our efforts. It is not about our assent. It is not about justification by works. No! Salvation is about justification by faith alone in Christ Jesus alone. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones applies Paul’s Gospel message to our contemporary ears. Hear Dr. Lloyd-Jones encourage us with the grace-filled message of our Savior.
Paul has finally laid the theory of salvation through the Law to rest. Salvation is through faith alone, and Paul tells the church in Romans 10:9-10 that they must first declare, “Jesus is Lord” in order to be saved. This is one of the great statements of the Christian Gospel. The only way to be righteous before God is to believe God and his Word by faith. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says that we must first consider the content of this saving faith. Salvation is all about Jesus and the fact that he is Lord. Christ is the firstborn of all creation and it is through him that all was created. It is also through God that all of the cosmos will be restored once again. The second point is that God raised Christ from the dead. Without being completely clear of those two points, there is no salvation.
Who is Jesus? The answer of Scripture is that Jesus is Lord. The writers of holy Scripture tell us that Jesus is far more than a human teacher, but He is God’s anointed, and the long-awaited Messiah that has been promised in the Old Testament. What does it mean that Jesus is Lord? As Lord, Jesus is worthy of all praise and trust. We can know that Jesus has come to fulfill all that God has promised and that He is God’s Son. We must believe that Jesus is who He says He is, not simply who we want Him to be. This is important in our day because many say that Jesus is nothing more than a mere man who teaches us how to live; others say that Jesus is simply a man of faith. But Scripture is clear that Jesus was a real man, who was God in the flesh, and who had come to die for the sins of the world. What does it matter if we say that Jesus is Lord or not? According to God’s Word, everything depends on who we say that Jesus is. For if we confess that Jesus is Lord we will be saved, but if we reject Him, we reject the only way of salvation. Listen to this sermon from Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Romans 10:9-10.
What does it mean to be a Christian? Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones looks to Romans 10:9-10. Here we find that central to the Christian faith is the belief in the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is these doctrines that form the heart of the Christian faith and our salvation. Why is it these doctrines of the death and resurrection that are essential to the faith? It is because only by Jesus becoming a man and dying for the sins of fallen and rebellious men that God forgives sinners? Jesus came to this earth in the form of servant in order to die. What about the resurrection? The resurrection declared not only that Christ had died for sinners, but it declared His victory over death, sin, and Satan. We have a living Savior who, after atoning for sin, ascended into heaven where He now rules over the whole earth and from where He will come to judge the living and the dead. This great truth of God in the flesh dying for sinners and rising in victory is not inconsequential for our lives, but it is the most important part.
About Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.