Justifying the Ungodly
A Sermon on Romans 4:4-8
Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:
“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
and whose sins are covered;
blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” (ESV)
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.