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.
What is faith? In this sermon, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones dissects the negative and positive aspects of the nature of faith through the illustration of Abraham presented in Romans 4:18-22: “No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.” Abraham’s faith was not one that looked to itself, nor to his circumstances, but its essence was to give glory to God. He considered the nature of God – the God who never makes His promises lightly, never changes His mind, and is fully capable of doing what He has promised – and Abraham applied that knowledge to his circumstances. In our own experience, though we may find we're weak in faith, all we need do to strengthen it is to follow the example of Abraham and many others put forth in Scripture as examples of great faith. We must grow in our knowledge of God – objectively, as He’s revealed Himself in the Scriptures and personally, through prayer and time spent in His presence – and apply that knowledge to the particulars of our lives. Faith is simply holding onto the faithfulness of God. Where is your faith today?
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.
Are you at peace when you look at the state of the world today? Terrorist attacks, disease outbreaks, and mass shootings make the news headlines everyday. Some try to apply the teachings of Jesus to these situations, but they have undoubtedly fallen short. In this sermon, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones examines Romans 4:23-35 and why we cannot take the teachings of Jesus as moral philosophy to improve the world, but instead examine who the person of Jesus is. Jesus did not come into this world to be a moral teacher, but instead came so that the wrath of God could be satisfied in His death so that we could be forgiven. We are reminded that man’s biggest problem is not the fears of this world, but the fact that we will soon die and face God. On that day when you die, how will you stand before God? Dr. Lloyd-Jones reminds us we are all guilty of not loving God as we should, and that we can do nothing in ourselves to get rid of our sin. It is in this truth that we can rightly examine why Jesus came, and that our greatest problem is not the chaos of the world, but the sin inside our own hearts.
What does it mean to believe in God? This question is at the heart of the Bible's teaching on salvation and redemption; it is vital that everyone come to a clear understanding if what it means. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones looks at the apostle Paul’s example of Abraham in Romans 4:18-25. Abraham trusted in the promise of God that He would bring a Savior from his seed who would redeem the whole world and break the power of sin and the devil. Though Abraham and Sarah were old and had no child, this did not stop them from trusting in God that He was able to bring about what was promised. This salvation comes when Jesus Christ is born of a virgin under the Law and dies a death of propitiation for all who believe. Now, all who are saved are those that believe in the promises of God made complete in Christ Jesus, and these are the same promises that Abraham believed in those thousands of years ago that have now been fulfilled in Christ. Trusting in God in opposed to relying on our own works and good deeds. For only by looking to the finished work of Christ can we be freed from sin and made children of God.
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.