Explore Sermons By Dr. Lloyd-Jones

Faith; not Works

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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Paul is grieving over the standing of the Jews because in the church there are more believing Gentiles than Jews. This fact probably rattled most Jews to the core. The Gentiles, who had not sought after righteousness and lived immoral lives, had received a righteousness by faith. However, the Jews, who were actively pursuing the law and its commands, had not received righteousness. So why is it that God’s chosen people were outside of the church? In this sermon on Romans 9:30–33 titled “Faith, not Works,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says that the law demands absolute perfection and if any one statute were broken then there would be no account of righteousness. Paul points out that the gospel of the Lord is for all people and salvation is purely the work of Christ alone. Each person is responsible for their rejection of the gospel but they are not responsible for their acceptance of the gospel. The Bible teaches that election alone accounts for the saved, but non-election does not count for those who are lost. All are in Adam so they are all without excuse, both Jews and Gentiles.

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.