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The truthfulness of the doctrine of final perseverance of the saints bumps up against several challenges and the apostle Paul addresses these in Romans 8. In this sermon “More Than Conquerors” on Romans 8:35–39, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains that perhaps most troubling thought for the Christian is that they might fail under the scrutiny of intense persecution or temptation. How shall they persevere under such tribulation? Can they separate themselves from the love of Christ? What will keep them? The apostle Paul takes up this challenge to the doctrine of the final perseverance of the saints and gives the proof that true believers will remain in the love of Christ until the end. Dr. Lloyd-Jones brings out the nuance of the apostle’s teaching in this passage and notes the efficacy of Christ’s death and ultimately what He sought to accomplish on the cross. Important for Dr. Lloyd-Jones is the meaning of “the love of Christ.” It is His love for His people, not their love for Him that keeps them in the end. The apostle Paul, says Dr. Lloyd-Jones, was absolutely certain of this doctrine because he believes in God and the power of Christ’s love. If the Christian doubts the truth that one whom God starts saving could subsequently be lost, it would mean that God has been defeated. Dr. Lloyd-Jones calls the listener to no longer think according to feeble doubts, but to think Scripturally and according to the power of God.
As Christians, no trial or tribulation in this age compares to the age to come. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones points out that Paul has referenced the doctrine of time and of the last things, and now explains the present age of this universe. In this sermon on Romans 8:18–23 titled “Minimizing Suffering,” Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains that the Christian should never make light of their suffering because Christians know about the greatness that is to come. In fact, the whole of creation is looking forward to that day. Scripture teaches that all creation has an earnest expectation for the manifestation of God; creation is actually groaning with anticipation for that time. Why would creation also be looking forward to that day? Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains that it is because of the fate of creation is linked with that of humanity. Humanity’s sin caused the whole world to be affected by vanity and corruption and creation cannot free itself. It is that sin that causes creation to actually decay and will only be liberated in that day alongside the children of God. In that time, the whole of creation and those who are in Christ will all be redeemed.
Questions of humanity’s ultimate goal and how they will arrive at that goal are fundamental to every belief system or worldview. Perhaps no worldview stands in contrast to Christianity like the evolutionary worldview. It not only must reject the historical Adam and therefore the historical fall, but the evolutionary worldview understands the human race to be progressing. It has an inherent optimistic view of human nature – humanity is getting better. They are progressing and in the end all will be okay. As Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones comments on Romans 8:18–23 in this sermon titled “Creation Delivered,” this view of humanity could not be more opposed to the biblical view. Rather than progressing, humanity has plunged, not only itself, but all of creation into a cursed state. The creation, says the apostle Paul, waits for the final redemption of the children of God. Humanity and the rest of creation have no hope apart from God’s redemption in Christ. While fallen humanity places its optimism in itself, the Christian places their optimism in the second coming, when the glory of Christ and the redemption of God’s people is final. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones reminds of the culture’s misplaced hope in Adam’s fallen race in contrast to the Christian’s final hope in Christ.
Is Scripture completely irrelevant? Listen to Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones looks at the contemporary answers found in Romans 8:18-23. The sufferings of this present time are the unchanging problems of mankind. Human suffering is always a result of sin. Science and philosophy cannot give man such hope in the face of humanity, but the Gospel of Christ can. Look at nature from the Bible's standpoint and find comfort on its terms. The greatest consolation in this present affliction is that this is God’s world. The ground was cursed for man’s sin and the world is under the wrath of God, but there is good news. The Christian Gospel is the only explanation and solution to the sufferings of the present time. Learn that every human's greatest need is to be reconciled to God and the only promised deliverer is Christ. A Christian is still subject to all the sufferings of this present world; but man has a new view of time, and sufferings, which are incomparable to the glory to come. Are you groaning with creation? Find out that you should be! Nothing can frustrate the plans of God. Cast yourself on His compassion and love; your sins have already been dealt with.
Speculation about the end of the world and the millennium (Christ’s thousand year reign) has captivated the Christian imagination throughout church history. This, in conjunction with the intermediate state and the eternal state of believers, provokes great discussion among pastors and theologians. Thankfully, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones helps the church by navigating these topics in this sermon on Romans 8:18–23 titled “Death and Heaven.” He pauses his exposition of Romans in order to demonstrate the futility of interpreting Romans 8 as referring to a literal thousand year reign of Christ instead of the future glory when the children of God inherit the new heaven and new earth. Far from reducing the Christian hope to some type of “spiritism” where a non-bodily existence is the goal, the apostle Paul maintains an eternal state where the body will be like Christ’s resurrected body. This is different than the intermediate state, says Dr. Lloyd-Jones, when after death the Christian goes to be with Christ until the resurrection of the dead. All this, he argues, has practical application as Christians engage the world in politics and, most importantly, as they go through great trials and suffering in this life. Listen to Dr. Lloyd-Jones expound the great biblical truths about death, heaven, intermediate state, glory, resurrection, and the second coming of Christ.
Unfortunately many evangelical Christians are confused about the hope of the Scriptures. Many songs, hymns, and Christian books appear to anticipate an afterlife that is purely spiritual and disembodied. The apostle Paul could not present a more contrary hope. In his sermon on Romans 8:18–23 titled “Paradise Regained,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones challenges this inadequate perception of the life after death for the believer. The New Testament, says Dr. Lloyd-Jones, knows of bodily resurrection of believers and a glorification of the cosmos as the once lost paradise of Adam is regained and perfected. The church anticipates not only the glorification and a spiritual body but also creation restored and an inherited new heaven and new earth. Creation itself will be delivered from the bondage of decay brought by the fall. Whereas suffering constitutes this life, all suffering, strife, fear, and tears will be no more in the future paradise. Dr. Lloyd-Jones presents the biblical teaching on the future hope by bringing the whole counsel of God to bear upon the coming glory that awaits the children of God. Find out why the Christian can have hope while discouragement, defeat, anxiety, and terror loom around them and can set their affections upon paradise regained.
The doctrine of the perseverance of the saints is a contested doctrine. Those who hold to the cherished doctrine of assurance must acknowledge the difficult objections posed and not ignore them. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones recognizes this and serves as a positive example of an exegete who does not shy away from engaging the most often-cited Scriptures that seem to contradict his personal beliefs. In a manner that not only demonstrates a responsible handling of Scripture, he also demonstrates humility in his exegetical task. In this message on Romans 8:28–30 titled “The Biblical Way,” Dr. Lloyd-Jones outlines his principles of interpretation. He encourages interpreters of the Bible to operate on the principle of Scripture alone. Rather than allowing philosophy to govern one’s interpretation, he argues that the Christian should allow Scripture to interpret Scripture. Furthermore, one should start with the unambiguous “proof texts” and then deal with the difficult texts in light of the clear statements. He applies these interpretive principles as he works through famous passages like the Parable of the Sower, Hebrews 6, and 2 Peter 2. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones lays out interpretive principles that all Christians should implement in their personal study of sacred Scripture.
This sermon is for those who feel like life is spinning out of control, or question where God is when terribly hard things happen, and wonder if God is against them. In this sermon on Romans 8:28 titled “Working For Our Good,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones considers “one of the most remarkable statements in the whole of Scripture. The ultimate doctrine—written for our consolation and edification.” The apostle Paul wrote, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” This promise is not for everybody but for the Christian; all things are working together for their good. God is overruling everything in the whole cosmos for their good benefit. How can this be? How can things that seem to work against the Christian actually be working for their good? In this sermon, Dr. Lloyd-Jones answers the question with six compelling reasons that will reassure and strengthen the Christian’s soul throughout any future seasons of trials and sufferings.
Where is God when bad things happen and why do they happen? How should the Christian respond when the devil comes accusingly and harasses them? In this sermon on Roman 8:28–30, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones pastors the listener through a myriad of troubles, explaining why they occur, how God uses them in the lives of His children, and how they can know that all things truly are working together for their good. Sometimes a Christian doesn’t know what to pray for in those situations but, as Dr. Lloyd-Jones reminds, “the Christian is one who can be certain about the ultimate even when he is most uncertain about the immediate.” Listen to this sermon “God is in control”, as he declares promise after promise from God’s word and cites examples from church history which will encourage the soul to trust God in the midst of dark times. Because God is in control, the Christian can be assured that even though they may not understand, they can still walk confidently, trusting that He is working all things for their good.
What does the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints have to do with identity as the body of Christ? Very much, says Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, in his sermon on Romans 8:28–30 titled “Eternity Secure (1).” One must be careful to remember that Christ did not come to just save isolated individuals but instead came to redeem His people, the church. The spiritual union between the church and Christ is modeled after the essential union between the Father and the Son. So, says Dr. Lloyd-Jones, it is absurd to think Christ’s love for His church can be frustrated somehow as if the Father’s love for the Son could be disrupted. Part of the assurance is based on the glorious truth that Christians are those the Father has given to His Son. It is impossible to imagine separation or falling away if one remembers that Christ died for the church in order to redeem it, perfect it, and present her to God the Father. Moreover, argues Dr. Lloyd-Jones, is the fact that perseverance is guaranteed based upon the teaching of chastisement. God refuses to leave His children alone. He will be faithful to discipline in order to conform His children more and more to the image of His Son. In the end, they are secure in Christ. Praise should erupt to the God who calls, keeps, preserves and will never forsake.
Why does Christianity claim to be the only way of salvation? As Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones preaches this sermon from Romans 8:28-30 titled “Confirmed to Christ,” the gospel is a message of exclusivity that tells of salvation through Christ by His life, death, and resurrection. The teaching that all those who do not believe in the gospel in this life will be judged and condemned in the next is found throughout the Bible. Nevertheless, many fight and resist this teaching on the basis that it is narrow and unloving of God to condemn sinners to an eternity in hell. But, as Dr. Lloyd-Jones reminds the listener, all are in sin and under the condemnation and judgment of God on account of their unrighteousness and rebellion against Him. All have fallen in Adam who was the head of the whole human race. As the head of the new humanity, Christ died and conquered the grave so that all creation would be redeemed and made new. What was lost in Adam will be regained in Christ and more. It is only in Christ that people can become partakers of His blessings and become children of God. There is no salvation outside of Christ. This ought to compel all believers to proclaim the gospel to all who are lost and live in darkness.
Can Christians lose their salvation? This is a much-debated question in Christianity that has immense significance for all believers. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says that while some passages seem to teach that Christians can lose their salvation, this is a misunderstanding. In this sermon on Romans 8:28–30 titled “The Threefold Purpose,” he looks at the warning passages in Hebrews 6 and 10. He argues that these passages do not speak of true Christians falling away but it speaks of those unbelievers who hear the gospel and are in the church, yet reject it. Just as many people in the Bible, such as Judas, are part of the visible church (and even in places of authority), they are shown to not be truly saved. So it is true in all the church. The Bible never speaks of true believers falling away. These are lost men and women who show temporary signs of profession yet fall away. These passages ought to encourage true believers to seek to live a life that testifies to Christ’s power of salvation. Can true Christians fall away from Christ? The Bible’s answer is no since Christ is the perfect Savior who is able to redeem sinners and bring their salvation to completion. As the Savior promised, no one can snatch a child of His from His hand.
No matter how devastating the trial, there is good that God will bring forth from it. After just speaking about present trials and tribulations in Romans 8:28–30, Paul then assures that anything endured in this life, whether good or bad, will work out for the Christian’s own good. In this sermon on loving God titled “Loving God: the Test,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says that while this promise is not for everyone, there is a description of to whom this will apply. Paul explicitly states that this is only for those that truly love God and have been called by God. A Christian who loves God will love Him with all of their heart, mind, soul, and strength. They will believe in God, more than just an intellectual belief, but a true belief in the person and work of Christ. The description also includes those who have been called with an effectual call, because not all who hear the gospel have been called by God to be His child. Dr. Lloyd-Jones adds a third factor to the description: a person whose actual experience in the Christian life would agree and show proof that all things that afflict them are being worked out for their own good. Dr. Lloyd-Jones encourages the unsure to listen and ask themselves if they love God and have they been called. By taking these things into account, a true Christian can rest assured in this promise.
By denying the doctrine of the final perseverance of the saints, there will be inevitable negative implications for everything else that is true about Christian salvation. Perhaps even more problematic, says Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in his sermon on Romans 8:28–30 titled “The Unbreakable Chain,” is the confusion and chaos that is introduced about God by those affirming the apostasy of genuine believers. He examines the harmony of each link in the apostle Paul’s unbreakable chain, noting how each inevitably hangs together. By considering the negative implications for the doctrine of predestination and foreknowledge, Dr. Lloyd-Jones demonstrates the absurd conclusions that must be affirmed about God when one holds to the possibility of a true believer falling from grace. Continuing through the chain of redemption, he argues that those who affirm the apostasy position make God’s “call” pointless and the doctrine of justification an error-filled action on God’s part. However, the doctrine of rebirth and union with Christ should settle the matter altogether, says Dr. Lloyd-Jones. It is scandalous to suggest that God’s creative work in giving new life and His seating of His people in the heavenly places with Christ can be suddenly undone. Listen to Dr. Lloyd-Jones’s argument for an unbreakable chain in salvation and find encouragement in the blessed doctrine of assurance from beginning to end.
Interpretive principles are not only necessary for proper handling of sacred Scripture, but all who engage the biblical text operate with principles of interpretation. The question is whether they are good interpretive principles or bad ones. In this sermon on Romans 8:28–30 titled “Applying the Principles,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones has provided Christians with principles of interpretation that have proven the test of time within the church. In a previous sermon, he faithfully outlined principles such as looking at Scripture alone, interpreting Scripture with Scripture, and interpreting the more difficult text in light of the unambiguous passages on doctrine. While he has applied these principles throughout his preaching ministry, he pointedly draws upon them in this sermon in order to model an appropriate handling of Scripture for Christians. Moreover, Dr. Lloyd-Jones applies these interpretive principles in the context of one of the most contested doctrines in the Christian church: the perseverance of the saints. There are those who teach that a true believer – one born again by the Holy Spirit – can genuinely commit apostasy, meaning that they fall away from their faith. This position has established itself though considerable “proof texts” which Dr. Lloyd-Jones faithfully engages as he continues his number of sermons on Romans 8:28–30. Listen as he models and demonstrates charitable engagement with those with whom he disagrees and how he applies interpretive principles in his reading of Scripture.
In this sermon on Romans 8:28–30 titled “Eternally Secure (2),” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones continues to press the issue of the final perseverance of the saints by examining the flaws exegetically and theologically. He even questions, what if his opponents are correct? What if a regenerated, born-again Christian finally did go to perdition and fell away from their position “in Christ”? Are there any negative implications for this apostasy position? Dr. Lloyd-Jones carefully and consistently works out the meaning of his opponent's position with regards to the ultimate purpose of salvation itself. While Dr. Lloyd-Jones’s opponents would rightly affirm that salvation is about forgiveness of sin and they can now go to heaven, he suggests that is not the ultimate purpose of salvation. The main purpose of salvation is the glory of God, the vindication of His glory, and the sovereignty of the character of God. This ultimate purpose, says Dr. Lloyd-Jones, changes everything, namely the assurance of the outcome of God’s glory. Moreover, there are opportunities for pride as those who deny the final perseverance of the saints are forced to deny that it is ultimately God who causes endurance until the end, and instead must affirm that there is some quality inside those who are received into glory that is different from those who fall away. There is great comfort in knowing that the God who began the believer’s salvation will truly see it completed to the end. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones encourages believers in the great truth of eternal security.
The Lord Jesus Christ said there will be those who will say they are His followers but the end will prove otherwise. The Bible warns about false professions, or as the Puritans called it, “temporary faith.” How does one understand the warning passages in light of Romans 8:28–30 where God is said to be in complete control over the Christian’s salvation from beginning to end? More importantly, perhaps, is how does one respond to the truth of false profession of faith? In this sermon on Roman 8:28–30 titled “Warning Passages,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones takes up these questions and others as he continues in his examination of the doctrine of final perseverance of the saints. He first outlines his interpretive principles, noting the important distinction between the visible and invisible church. The writings of the Bible are written to the visible church, says Dr. Lloyd-Jones, and one must remember that the visible church will be a mixed community of true and false professions. Second, he says, the primary purpose of the warning passages is to test one’s profession of faith in order that they may know whether it is true or false. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones not only identifies the true nature of the warning passages, but offers the church comfort, encouragement, and the God-ordained means to test oneself.
The believer in Christ is caught up in a grand trinitarian story between the mutual glorification of the Father and the Son. This cosmic story of God’s glory bestows unbelievable benefits upon unworthy sinners. When the Christian is united with Christ, all God purposed is guaranteed and the Son will be glorified in the salvation of His people. In this sermon on Romans 8:28–30 titled “To Glorify Christ,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones connects God the Father’s grand purpose in the glorification of His Son to the ultimate grounds of assurance. Dr. Lloyd-Jones assures that based upon the apostle Paul’s words, every detail in the believer’s salvation – foreknowledge, predestination, calling, justification, and glorification – will be accomplished in perfect detail. Furthermore, Dr. Lloyd-Jones works through the biblical texts across the New Testament and comes to a clear definition for the controversial term “foreknowledge.” With consistency and care, he argues that the term means God setting His love upon His people. Moreover, there is very little difference between the biblical teaching of foreknowledge and the doctrine of predestination. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones gives believers unlimited grounds for assurance.
What does it mean that God works all things for the good of Christians? In this sermon on Romans 8:28–30 titled “Helping the Perplexed,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones expounds on one implication of this truth: the great doctrine of perseverance. This is the teaching that all who believe in Christ will persevere to the end. Christ will not lose one of God’s children for He is able to bring their salvation to completion. Many reject this doctrine for one reason or another. Some argue that many passages in the Bible teach that Christians who are truly saved can in fact finally fall away from salvation. Others who reject that the Bible is God’s word reject it on philosophical grounds. Dr. Lloyd-Jones says that while some passages do seem to teach that Christians can lose their salvation, he argues that this is wrong as the Bible does not contradict itself. He examines many of these passages that supposedly teach that the doctrine of perseverance is false and shows that this is a misreading of these texts. Listen closely to Dr. Lloyd-Jones on how to handle this challenge to eternal security in Christ. He concludes by saying that God’s Word teaches that God is able to save all those whom He has elected to save. There is no doubt that this is a great mystery, but it is one that God has revealed in His Word.
The purposes of human beings are often frustrated and thwarted by others. They work out every detail in order to ensure the working out of their plan, only to find out that it was all for nothing. What about God’s plan? What about God’s purpose in salvation and history? Does the triune God shift His plans according to circumstances provoked by sinful people and demonic opposition? In this sermon on Romans 8:28–30 titled “God’s Plan is Certain,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones expounds on Paul’s teaching on the absolute, definite plan of God. His plan of salvation did not originate after the fall of humanity, nor is salvation in Christ a response to Israel’s rejection of salvation through the law, but the Father’s plan to send the Son and obtain salvation for His people was ordained before the foundation of the world. The definite plan of God in salvation, says Dr. Lloyd-Jones, must be true or God is no longer God. Furthermore, God’s foreknowledge and predestination is a means of comfort for suffering believers. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones teaches on the glorious truth that justification to glorification is certain because it is in the sovereign control of the triune God.