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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The righteousness will live by faith. That is the overwhelming message of Romans. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones feels that this is for the sake of the Jews who may not understand their Old Testament and are now rejecting this “new” message. There is only one covenant of grace and it was the same in the Old Testament as it was in the new. God’s way of dealing with man has always been the same! In this sermon, Dr. Lloyd-Jones also discusses how Abraham and David were justified in the Old Testament dispensation. The Scripture states that Abraham believed and it was counted to him as righteousness. This is the first time in the Bible that the doctrine of justification by faith has been presented this clearly. When Abraham believed, it meant that he trusted and committed to what God said and this was established as a covenant. Dr. Lloyd-Jones warns that even though Paul continues to review the same points, we must never skip over a scripture that seems less applicable and appealing. This chapter provides a great explanation for justification by faith and it is essential that we are able to grasp and understand these arguments.
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones asks, “Who is the man who can be justified?” He answers by saying any man that produces no works and is ungodly. Well, in accordance with Paul’s preaching throughout Romans that would be all men! Paul says this because the act of justification is entirely a work of Christ, and no work that we do could ever be part of that process. Dr. Lloyd-Jones also explains that because we are ungodly, justification does not make us righteous; it means that Christ has imputed His righteousness to our account. In this passage, Paul discusses both Abraham and David, both of whom were people of the Old Testament that received salvation by faith. Paul quotes David in this passage and Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains that in this passage, forgiveness is noted as the first step in the process of reconciliation. Christ covers our sins, forgives us of our iniquities, and does not impute our sins against us. Instead, God imputed our sins on his son Jesus, which were then taken to the cross. A Christian realizes that he plays no part in this process. Salvation is purely God’s work, God’s work on the cross.
Was Abraham, a prominent figure in the Old Testament, justified by works? Paul says no, he was justified by faith alone. Just as a teacher lectures and then takes time for possible questions, Paul has presented his case on the true gospel and a message on salvation and has now been answering potential questions that might arise. The Jews might have brought up the idea that since Abraham was not justified by works, then it was because he was circumcised! Paul again says no. Abraham was the father to all men, both circumcised and uncircumcised, because it shows in scripture that he was justified before he was circumcised. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones shows that Paul warns against those who merely held to the fact of their own circumcision as a means of salvation. In this sermon, Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains how the Jews had not properly understood why the Lord gave them the sign of circumcision and explains how Paul refutes their wrong beliefs. When Abraham was credited as righteous, it is marked as the first time in scripture that salvation by faith alone was defined. The Lord promised that because of Abraham’s faithfulness, his seed would produce the son of God.
The nature of law is contrary to promise; grace and faith fit together; salvation for all the 'seed'; whether Jews or Gentiles; salvation certain because it is by God's grace.
How does faith impact our entire life? In this sermon, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones outlines five ways that Abraham’s faith affected his whole world, not just his justification. It is important to note that faith is much different from just belief. Faith is a concrete certainty that is unwavering. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not yet seen. Because of Abraham’s strong faith, it allowed him to truly believe God’s promises for him and his life. It enabled him to rest on God’s word alone without any other evidence. His faith also helped him believe the promises of God even though they seemed completely impossible. Lastly, his faith enabled him to act upon the promises that the Lord set before him. Dr. Lloyd-Jones also then outlines how Abraham’s faith enabled him in these five ways. When we examine our own lives, it can be easy to trade faith for merely belief. True faith faces the facts and makes a man strong, never staggering at the Lord’s promises. May we hear this sermon and be encouraged to have faith like Abraham.
Faith glorifies God in His being and attributes; weak faith is genuine faith; difference between knowledge and practice; faith and foolhardiness distinguished; the way to be strong in faith.
Abraham's faith applied to us; God-centred faith; the significance of Christ's resurrection; how the resurrection justifies; practical application of the comparison with Abraham.
The condition of the world and man; how can a person know that his/her soul is safe? an offence against God; the only way to know God; who was this Jesus? the impossibility of living a life that pleases God; delivered from our offences.
God delivered up His Son for our sins; how can one be right with God? man's standards are not acceptable; God's standards; the example of Abraham; Christ died for you; believe God; the new birth; not works; but faith.
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.