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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What is “peace with God” and how does one attain this? Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones discusses this as he begins preaching on Romans 5. Paul has just finished explaining that righteousness by faith was not only imputed for Abraham, but also for us! The apostle is now going to show us the absolute finality and fullness of our salvation, which comes to us as a result of our faith. The greatest proof of our final salvation and the assurance we have in this is our union with Christ! Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains three things that justification by faith does for us: it puts us at peace with God, puts us firmly in a place of all blessings, and enables us to exalt the prospect of our future glorification. Before we are even able to obtain blessings or think about future glorification, we need to have access to the Lord. Salvation and all its blessings only attained through our Lord Jesus Christ. Dr. Lloyd-Jones then goes on to define and explain what peace with God is and how Paul will continue on with this theme in the coming verses.
Chapter by chapter, Paul’s letter to the Romans has explained that all men were under God’s judgement, all men have hope through justification by faith, and now he is explaining that we can have peace with God. We were previously enemies but now we can have assurance and a resting faith in our salvation through Jesus Christ! Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones outlines how we know if we have this assurance and peace with God: our mind will be content with process of justification by faith, we know that Christ loves us despite us being sinners, we can answer the accusations of our conscience and the devil, and we no longer fear death or judgement. If we were to fail or falter at any of these tests, then we may not have a true peace with God. Sometimes sin makes us question or doubt our justification, but regardless, our salvation is still true. Dr. Lloyd-Jones reminds us that justification is one declarative act forever and our faith always can fight this doubt victoriously! Dr. Lloyd-Jones then goes on to explain what the results of justification by faith produce in our lives as well as discussing what a false sense of peace with God is.
Access to God; our once-for-ever introduction into the state of grace; its privileges and blessings; the security of our standing; boldness and assurance.
Boasting and exulting in hope; 'the glory of God'; glorification and physical resurrection; 'glory begun below'; the sense of glory.
The Christian's reaction to trials contrasted with that of the cults; not resignation but glorying; understanding God's purpose in trials; the final result.
Hope leads not to shame but to overcoming; the direct; experimental assurance of God's love; supporting testimonies; exhortation to seek this knowledge of God's love.
Once saved, always saved. But what happens when we doubt our salvation? How do we regain assurance? The greatest assurance of all is that the love of God has been spread into our hearts. This act is done by the work of the Holy Spirit. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones points out that this is the first time the Holy Spirit has been referenced in terms of our salvation and he makes a few points concerning what this means. The Holy Spirit is given to all Christians without exception and He dwells in our bodies. Some might ask how this is a guarantee of our salvation? Dr. Lloyd-Jones reminds that any good work that Christ has begun will not go unfinished. The seal of the Holy Spirit is a guarantee that we are finally fit to enter the glory He has prepared for us. The second part of the sermon explains how someone would know that the Holy Spirit has been given to them.
It is the kindness of God that leads us to salvation. That kindness and love of God is evident throughout the book of Romans as The Doctor continues to proclaim its truth. Christ’s love ensures the finality of our salvation! It is easy to point out that most people do not truly understand the riches we have in salvation because of Christ’s love since we are sinful people. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones breaks down Romans 5:6-8 and shares just how much we have received because of Christ’s love for His people. The first realization of this love is that Christ himself produced and created the thought of salvation before the foundation of the earth was made! A second realization is that Christ not only came to the earth, but He also chose to die to bear God’s wrath in our place. Finally, we need to consider the type of people that benefit from that salvation. These people are not wonderful, good-natured people; they are full of sin and completely undeserving! We are so weak and incapable of doing anything that would warrant salvation, and this alone proves that the Lord loved us enough to save us himself.
God's love for sinners; the meaning of ungodliness; the righteous man and the good man; the death of Christ; God's love the ground of our assurance.
Paul states that the greatest proof of the love of God is His plan of salvation for us. The one assurance beyond that is the direct witness of the Holy Spirit Himself. The Holy Spirit bears witness that we are indeed children of God. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones notes that after Paul discusses being justified by God, Paul uses the phrase “how much more then.” Christ has already died for us, which meant that we no longer have to face God’s wrath. Also much more, Christ gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit as well. Dr. Lloyd- Jones then discusses justification, how the cross procures this justification on our behalf. It is not our works, our faith, or our sanctification that justifies us; it is purely the work of Christ on the cross. This act guarantees our final salvation, when Christ comes to receive his church and we are with Christ in glory for eternity.
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.