Book of Romans
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Does sin really condem all of us? Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones introduces Romans 2 by connecting the theme from Romans 1, that God has provided a righteousness by faith for man. The Jews listened to Paul preach, but thought he was only condemning the Gentiles. Paul declares they were missing the whole point. The Jews thought they were already saved based on their works. Sometimes, we too can fall into that trap. Dr. Lloyd-Jones points out that sin in our lives can lead us into many consequences when interpreting the Scripture. Dr. Lloyd-Jones outlines the various ways sin skews our view of Scripture and ends with a warning to us all. We should never be so wrapped up with knowledge and the studying of theology that we miss repentance at the heart of the Gospel. Learning the Scriptures draws us closer to Christ so that our daily practice matches our position as a child of God
It is easy to identify sin in other people but rationalize our own sin! That is the very problem of the Jews that Paul explains in Romans 2:1. This sermon by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones warns us to be careful on passing judgement on others because the same measure will be used on us. The Doctor walks through the condemnation of sin and how this gospel applies to everyone. Both the Jews and the Gentiles are without excuse and in danger of God's wrath. We may even see severe sins explained in the law and feel that condemnation does not apply to us since we are not “that bad”, but instead Paul warns that God’s judgement is always based on truth and His standard never changes. No one can measure up to that standard on their own and it is only by the gospel that Paul is preaching to the Romans that can save us, Christ has brought salvation to us! Instead of putting the condemnation on others and their sin, we should turn our eyes to the truth of the Lord and make sure we are always aligning our truth with God’s truth.
There is no way to escape the judgement of God. Sometimes people laugh and joke around about sin, but judgement is coming and so we must warn others about the conditions of their soul. Paul warns both the Jews and the Gentiles that there is no excuse and all are under the impending judgement of God. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explained how Paul preached directly to the Jews to warn them of how sin was blinding their view in Romans 2:2-3. Not only does sin blind us, it gives us a false sense of security and causes us to take God’s goodness for granted. The Romans gave many arguments for why God’s wrath was not coming, but Paul refutes each one. One of the biggest arguments against God’s judgement is that God is good. Dr. Lloyd-Jones tells that God is indeed good in the fact that He does not immediately strike the world dead for sin, but He must condemn sin because He is also just. Paul says God is exhibiting forbearance and long-suffering in terms of our sin. He is slow to anger and is not willing for anyone to perish. This is the exact reason why God sent His Son into the world to save those from this impending wrath. He alone is our atonement for sin. Do not ignore His warning!
The kindness of God leads us to repentance, but God's goodness does not erase His wrath. If that sounds severe, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones eloquently brings the proof from Romans 2:4. God, by His unchanging character is good and just. Though He is long-suffering, He never ignores sin. His justice requires that He wrath against sin. It would be like a parent threatening a disobedient child but never following through with a punishment. That child loses respect for the parent since the expectation of punishment never came true. In the same manner, we should be in awe of God and his mercy toward us, and our sin should cause us to actively repent. We should never use an attribute of God or Scripture for our own selfish purposes. Paul is preaching to the Romans in this passage that the Lord leads them, both the believer and the unbeliever. The word that leads is an active and positive word. The fact that the Lord is actively leading us is a great hope and proof of His great goodness and mercy!
What is repentance? Dr. Martyn Lloyd- Jones explains that it means to think again or changing your mind, both of which involve a direct action. Paul is preaching to a people who have completely forgotten the goodness of God that should lead us to repentance. The first step to repent involves a completely changed attitude about God in submission of our heart and mind. Our heart is the wellspring of sin that must be changed on the inside first and then on the outside actions will follow. Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains that sin completely blinds us, and our hearts are hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. This passage is also warning that those who have a hardened and impenetrable heart are storing up wrath for themselves. But, once we are saved we can rest that the Lord who started a good work in us will continue to do so until the day He returns. That day will reveal who was repentant and who was pretending and storing up wrath.
What will be revealed on the day of judgement? After a thorough study of the wrath and judgment of God, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones examines Romans 2:6-10, which reveals the impending day of condemnation. Paul is preaching to both Jews and Gentiles explaining that the judgment will be both universal and individual. In the same way, no one will be judged according to their nation or their family; it is solely based on your heart and personal righteousness. The entire human race will be characterized into two people groups: the righteous and the unrighteous. Dr. Lloyd-Jones further discusses how Paul differentiates these two groups. If you are seeking the glory of God, the honor that He gives, immortality in His presence, and righteousness by faith, then you will be granted eternal life. However, if you are malicious toward God, self-centered, and defiant of truth, you will be subject to tribulation and anguish. May we closely examine our hearts and always seek the righteousness of the Lord. This message also brings a great reminder to share the gospel with unbelievers, for they too will see the day of judgement.
Can good works save us? Will we receive salvation just for being a nice person? Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones is walking us through these questions in Romans 2:6-10, a passage often taken out of context. While works are the proof of salvation, they are not the source of it! Paul is proving that we cannot be justified by works alone and no matter the efforts of all of humanity, no one is righteous or exempt from judgement. In this message, the Doctor states that the day of condemnation will bring judgement upon those who relied on their efforts to impress God. Those that say they know the Lord but do not keep His commands are liars. If you are truly a believer, you have the Holy Spirit who will act in you, change you, and that change will be manifested with outward expression. Christians should always aim to bring glory to God, seek His honor, and yearn for eternal life with Him. This should cause us to be mindful that what comes out of our mouth also is represented in the works that we do.
When the day of judgement comes, will the Jews have preferred treatment since they are God’s chosen people? No! As Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones proclaims, no one will have any possible argument or excuse concerning the day of wrath. God is always just and His judgement is always according to truth. The Doctor unfolds this passage, pointing out that Paul has divided humankind into two groups: those who are under the law and those who are without the law. We know these two group to be the Jews and the Gentiles respectively. Paul points out that Jews, who were given the law, will be judged by the law. This will be a higher, and a more severe, standard of judgement since having the law means they had more opportunity! This shows how God is impartial and His judgement is fair. In the same manner, those who have heard the Gospel and have been able to grow in grace and maturity in the Lord have greater responsibility today. We should never feel as if we are exempt from judgment and we should continually be seeking ways to share the Gospel with others.
Do unsaved people know God's law? Is it fair to judge Gentiles based on a law they did not recieve like the Jews? Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones shows how Paul anticipates that question and shows the universal guilt of all men for disobeying God's commandments. He explains that all of human kind have a type of law in their hearts, it is the conscience, and even so, all men can be judged according to their moral consciousness. A conscience is an individual’s sense of right and wrong, mostly telling us when something is wrong and condemning us for doing wrong things. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains that even though Paul is answering potential questions on salvation, he is not explicitly talking about salvation in this passage; Paul is talking about those who are under wrath and condemnation. Paul is also very explicit that no one can be justified by living up to the law or by living up to the conscience of their heart because no man can ever live up to either standard.
There are a few people in the Old Testament that were considered righteous but never heard the Gospel. How can this be? Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains Romans 2:13-15 saying Paul is careful to point out that they were not considered justified by the law, since no man can keep the law, but that they were a kind of people who knew the commandments of God and followed ordinances given by God. Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains that these individuals understood that the ordinances given by God were the only way to approach the Lord and have their sins forgiven. They were not "good" pagans or "noble" philosophers, nor were they like so many who were not only hearers of the Word. These Old Testament saints were doers of the Word, whose faith was not in the law but in the Giver of the law. Philosophies, knowledge and good works do nothing in the eyes of Christ if you do not truly know him. Paul elaborates this in the second section of the passage by openly expressing how many Jews were guilty of hypocrisy. All men are condemned and subject to God’s wrath, even the Jews who were given the law of the Lord. The Jews who relied on their possession of the law for salvation were severely misguided.