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 salvation? Christians may use this word out of context and Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones discusses what the Bible means by the terms “being saved” and “salvation.” Romans 1:16-17 explodes with meaning as we must know what happened as a result of the fall of man. Lloyd-Jones conveys that we have a three-fold deliverance from sin through the power of salvation: deliverance from the guilt of sin, the power of sin, and the pollution of sin. The Doctor goes on to explain that the word salvation also has an implication of time; we have been saved, we are being saved, and we will be saved. Paul glories in this because it emphasizes his point that he is not ashamed to preach this message of reconciliation and deliverance. This gospel applies to both the Jews and the Gentiles, those who followed the law and those who did not, and it shows us that we all have hope in Christ by grace through faith. We were previously under the wrath and destruction of God, but salvation restores us again in the hope of glory.
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones continues his series on Romans 1:16-17 and shows us why Paul is not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The same motivation that fueled Paul flows to us today as well! The Gospel that Paul is sharing is unlike any other message the Romans have heard before. It is the power of God that enables us to rejoice in hope because He made a way of salvation for us, is preparing a home in Heaven for us and frees us from all condemnation. The efficient and sufficient work of Christ means we are His workmanship, His chosen people predestined for His purposes. What hope we have because the Lord is for us and is justifying us, who then can be against us? We should not be ashamed because this Gospel will produce this work and is guaranteed to end in glorification. We are all hopeless without salvation, but as the Doctor says, thanks be to God for the saving power of His gospel.
There are many reasons from Romans 1:16-17 that Paul gives for not being ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones preaches how the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. This content of that revelation is a key to the epistles; it is the righteousness of God. Paul is quick to point out that this righteousness is not like a character attribute of Christ, but rather means a conformity to God and his law. Man must be capable of meeting God's demands if we are to gain His approval. This meaning of righteousness should put us in awe of just how inadequate we are and how dependant we are on the sacrifice of Christ to clothe us in His rightouesness. We can rejoice because in Christ, we stand righteous. His sacrifice has made us free from punishment and delivered us from the condemnation of the law. This is why Paul was ready to preach to all people at all times. God through his Son provides this righteousness! The Son puts to our account as righteousness because He has submitted the ultimate payment. The Gospel also shows how the righteousness becomes ours; by faith. Our faith in Jesus does not constitute righteousness; faith is just the instrument by which we receive righteousness.
As one of the most memorable passages in Romans, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones completes his sermon coverage of Romans 1:16-17. Paul wrote boldly to the church in Rome that the just shall live by faith! No matter if the entire world calls it foolishness, he is not ashamed to believe in Jesus Christ! Even more so, he is eager and ready to preach this Gospel to all who will listen. As Christians, we too must be bold and unashamed! Genuine belief always leads to action. As the Doctor points out, the opposite of works is not faith; instead, it is the righteousness of God. We cannot earn righteousness by works because it comes by faith through Jesus Christ. True saving faith is more than a belief with your mind, it also means that you were pursuaded by belief with your heart and that you acted and embraced the faith with your will. It is never true faith and belief until your action and heart are involved.
The bold boast of every Christian is Jesus Christ. There is a terrible need for the Gospel today and there is nothing but the good news of Jesus Christ that is adequate to meet the need. This is the reason that we find Paul working day and night, in all circumstances, to boldly preach the Gospel! Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones emphasizes that Paul’s preaching was never man-centered; it was only God-centered. Romans 1:18 points out that one of the main reasons for Paul’s urgent preaching is because the wrath of God has been revealed! The wrath and judgement of God is not something that everyone talks about in their daily lives, and Dr. Lloyd-Jones outlines three attitudes about the wrath of God. One of those attitudes comes from evangelicals who do not accept the teaching of God’s judgment and only choose to focus on the love and mercy of the Father. This is the mark of cults, who highlight one doctrine and exclude others. Dr. Lloyd-Jones echoes the Apostle Paul's warning against those who hold to this teaching by reminding us that the wrath of God is approaching! We should never make light of the judgment of the Lord or avoid talking about it when evangelizing. The gates of heaven will be shut on some people and Paul urges all men to repent.
When we think of God’s wrath, we often think of unrelenting rage. There are definitely times in Biblical history that show how the punishment for sin was met with God’s mighty fist to prove this. However, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones offers that God’s wrath is rather His complete hatred of sin. Romans 1:18 points out that God’s wrath has been revealed with the full authority of God. Dr. Lloyd-Jones outlines several evidences to prove how and when we can know that the wrath is revealed. One evidence is that all men have a sense of right and wrong, found in our conscience, which often gives us remorse over wrongdoing. God’s wrath may be immediate physical consequence of sin or his wrath could be postponed until the appointed time. Regardless of when, God will punish sin. One thing is to be sure, God’s wrath will come. It is shown in God’s perfect example of sending his Son to the cross. The cross proves that the wrath of God is only satisfied when the wages of sin are paid. The Old Testament illustrates this with the sacrifiices that picture what Christ did on the cross for us. Before we can see the love of God on the cross, we must first see the wrath. It is only by understanding the depths of the wrath, that we can understand the depths of His love.
The wrath of God explained in Romans 1:18 is aimed at everyone who continues in sin. Dr. Martyn Lloyd- Jones outlines two key descriptions of sin from this verse, ungodliness and unrighteousness. We should be careful that they are always associated in this order and never mentioned apart from one another. Ungodliness convicts all humans of sin because it shows how far we fall from the measure of God. Unrighteousness furthers guilt, showing how even in our relationship with God and others, we have failed immensely and stand condemned. Paul warns that we will one day be judged on our response and relationship with God. The social gospel has no answer to God's wrath. Nothing apart from Christ can reconcile sinners to God. Only hell awaits those who continue in transgressions, broken in their relationship and awaiting His punishment. Yet, because of Jesus Christ, there is hope for all who surrender and repent of sin.
God will punish sin. Sin never escapes His notice and He will pour out His wrath on it. Dr. Martyn Lloyd- Jones furthers the study of God's wrath from Romans 1:18-20 showing the inexcusability of sin. Dr. Lloyd-Jones warns that humanity cannot plead ignorance since God put in man's heart a universal knowledge of right and wrong, His existance and His holy standard. In what ways has this knowledge been revealed? In both general and special revelation. In great detail, Dr. Lloyd-Jones goes into detail what these two types of revelation look like. One thing is to be sure though, unbelievers have suppressed the truth and are fighting the truth! The fundamental cause of rebellion is our pride and overall wickedness. Athiests claim there is no God, but are only denying what He put both in their heart and in all of creation. The next step after pride is for the Lord to lead our hearts to be darkened. The Bible says that without Christ, there is darkness, but because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, there is now light with the Lord.
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones warns that the world as it is today is the greatest proof of the wrath of God against all ungodliness and unrighteousness. Our world with all of its moral problems is proving what Paul is saying in Romans 1:18-32. Paul is warning that God’s wrath has been revealed and those who reject it and suppress the truth will be turned away from God. Dr. Lloyd-Jones outlines the slippery slope that man can fall into if they attempt to live on their own morality. It is extremely easy for mankind to suppress the truth and try to create his own truth. However, mankind was never meant to fully understand God and Dr. Lloyd-Jones warns that we should always approach our God and Savior with reverence and respect. Paul further warns that God will likewise dismiss those who refuse to acknowledge God and dismiss Him. Those that do this are in danger of hell, which is a place without God and without restraint. Dr. Lloyd-Jones hopes that by hearing this great message of warning it will encourage us to live a life with a burden of the souls of man. The righteous blood of Christ can make even the vilest man clean again, and we can hope in that Gospel and share it with others!
As the West continues to turn its back on Christianity, Christians wonder what their response should be. What is the church’s answer to the powerful forces of unbelief? In this Easter sermon on Romans 1:1-4, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones reminds Christians of the Son of God in power. How did the Son of God attain such power? If the incarnation is characterized by Christ’s humiliation, the resurrection of the Son of God is characterized by his power! But Dr. Lloyd-Jones warns that there is no power if we deny the literal bodily resurrection. As liberal Christianity reduces the resurrection to a “spiritual” resurrection by asserting His followers experienced Christ in a dream, vision or trance, Dr. Lloyd-Jones corrects such skepticism by pointing to the Apostolic preaching in the early church. The Apostles preached the fact of the resurrection. The resurrection, according to Paul, was an event where the Son of God was openly appointed in power. Without the fact of the resurrection, the story of Jesus Christ does not make sense. Without the fact of the resurrection, Christ’s death on the cross does not make sense. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones proclaims God’s good news of salvation and warns of the Son of God who will come again in power.
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.