Explore Sermons By Dr. Lloyd-Jones

Choice; not Belief

Book of Romans

A Sermon on Romans 9:30-33

Israel’s Unbelief

What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, as it is written,

“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense;
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” (ESV)

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The sovereignty of God in salvation pushes towards humility in a couple of ways. The most obvious is the pride-bursting truth that salvation is completely and totally the work of God’s grace for which no one can take any credit. Second is the reality that people will never understand why God ordains some and not others. It is a profound mystery and all must humble themselves to accept that they will not understand the inscrutable mind of God on the topic. In this sermon on Romans 9:30–33 titled “Choice, not Belief,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones pushes back against those who want to hold onto some level of credit for their own salvation and he presses his own imagined interlocutors in order to show them the futility of their position. He maintains that it is not belief or faith that causes salvation but God’s choice. Listen as he tackles an important but difficult topic in a manner worthy of imitation.

Additional Scripture Translations

Romans 9:30-33, New American Standard Bible (NASB)

30What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, but the righteousness that is by faith; 31however, Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. 32Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though they could by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33just as it is written:

“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense,

And the one who believes in Him will not be put to shame.”

Romans 9:30-33, King James Version (KJV)

30What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. 31But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. 32Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; 33As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

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.