The Book of Romans
The famous series of Friday night sermons on the Letter to the Romans, split into 14 volumes to parallel the books, plus a small collection of 13 individual sermons preached at Westminster Chapel.
The Christian and God's Law
How do Christians relate to the law of God? Since they are saved, can they actually keep the law? What happens when they fail? In this sermon on Romans 7:1 titled “The Christian and God’s Law,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones shows a bird’s eye view of how Christians should view the controversial topic in this chapter of Scripture. According to Dr. Lloyd-Jones, most problems in the Christian life could be solved if Christians had a better understanding of Romans 7. With a proper understanding of this chapter, the Christian will have a better understanding of sin and its severity. Dr. Lloyd-Jones states that sanctification by the law is just as impossible as salvation by the law. According to Paul, the law actually hinders sanctification. There is only one way a person can bring fruit before God and that is if they are joined to Jesus Christ. When one understands the relationship of the law to the Christian, it helps in understanding that simple morality and ethical living are not sufficient for salvation or sanctification. One must be joined to Christ for salvation, not simply follow the law. The law shows how sinful people are, but only Christ can save by His perfect life and His perfect righteousness.
Not Subject to the Law
What does marriage have to do with the relationship to the law? Paul begins Romans 7 by discussing how the relationship with the law closely mirrors a relationship with a spouse. In the sermon on Romans 7:1–4 titled “Not Subject to the Law,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones creates four points to show how Paul is using the marriage relationship as an illustration. Just as the woman is bound to her husband by law, so also the Christian is bound to the law. This reflects the leadership that the husband has over the household. In a marriage, the spouses are bound until a death breaks that agreement. Christians are also bound to the law until a death occurs. Death brings a freedom from the law. In the same way, Christians have died to the law and are now able to enter into a relationship with righteousness. Finally, the purpose of marriage is to replenish the earth and the relationship with God is to bring forth fruit. All must be delivered from the power and dominion of the law if they are to produce fruit. Dr. Lloyd-Jones says that the Christian must first be separated from the old in order to conform to the new.
The Essentials of Salvation
What is different about the Christian life from every other life? In this sermon on Romans 7:4 titled “The Essentials of Salvation”, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones states that it is no external matter. He says that the Christian life is one that has been totally reoriented because the Christian has passed from death into life by believing in the gospel. The Christian is not simply one who acts differently, but they have been renewed in Christ and made a new creature. This radical change is brought about because Jesus did not come to improve behavior, but to make new men and women. All must ask if they have been transformed in Christ. Only by believing in the person and work of Christ can anyone be saved. Christ stands at the center of life and it is Christ who calls all to believe in Him. He came and died in order that sinners might be saved and brought to life. He rose from the dead as a testament to the power of His message and gospel. This message of Christ is the most important message one can ever hear for it is the words of eternal life.
Union with Christ: its Nature
The truth that all Christians are united with Christ changes everything. It is no overstatement to say that the doctrine of Christians’ union with Christ is one the most important truths for anyone to understand. It is this glorious doctrine that Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones expounds in this sermon on Romans 7:4 titled “Union With Christ: Its Nature.” Looking at the apostle Paul’s epistle to the Romans, he shows that those who believe in the gospel have been delivered from sin and darkness once and for all. While all are born in Adam, all who believe are born supernaturally into Christ Jesus. It means that the law of sin and death no longer reigns in the Christian, and that they are now part of God’s family and now forgiven from all sin. They are safe in salvation as Christ is loving and powerful. This doctrine is the ultimate hope against all depression, sorrow, and loneliness because it teaches that Christians have a great friend in Jesus. Listeners are encouraged to ask: “do you believe in Jesus? Do you believe that He has died for sinners? Do you have assurance that God loves?” There is great hope to all who have truly forsaken themselves and put their trust in Jesus.
Union - its Privileges and Purpose
Why is the doctrine of union with Christ so important? Many people consider theology to be useless and irrelevant for their everyday life. They want what is practical. In this sermon on Romans 7:4 titled “Union – Its Privileges and Purpose,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones expounds on the great theological doctrine of union with Christ and its everyday importance. He says the Christian has hope anew each and every day because they have died to themselves and now live in Christ. The doctrine of union with Christ teaches that they are no longer slaves to themselves, but are now slaves to Christ. They are inheritors of all the promises because they are one in Christ Jesus. This is the pure and unmatched hope of the gospel: God in Jesus Christ for His people. What of those that do not know Jesus? It is only in Christ that anyone can have true hope and all those that reject His gospel reject the only way of salvation. This is why the church must preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified. The church is not only the bride of Christ, but also the ambassador of Christ in the world. This sermon asks all if they have this hope. Are they now one with Christ?
The Nature of Sin
What is the next greatest power after God himself? In the sermon from Romans 7:5–6 titled “The Nature of Sin,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones argues that it is the power of sin. As he breaks down Paul’s message in Romans, Dr. Lloyd-Jones outlines several key terms and defines them in the context of the message. It is essential for the reader to understand the terms in order to understand the apostle’s argument and doctrines of the law, salvation, and sanctification. For instance, the term “flesh” can be defined many ways but Dr. Lloyd-Jones believes that Paul uses this term to refer to the opposite of what it means to have life in the Spirit. Those who are in the flesh are unregenerate and cannot please God. When Paul refers to the “motions of sin,” he is talking about passions, affections, and lusting. All natural appetites were created and given by God, but the law aggravates these appetites and sinners allow them control, which lead to sin and death. However, Christ is working for His people and they died with Christ and to the power of sin.
Life in the Spirit
What makes Christians different from others is that they have been granted a new mind and new desires by the Holy Spirit. This new life in Christ puts believers in a new relationship to the law of Moses as now the law is written upon the heart of every believer. This creates a heart of worship that is not focused on the externals of religious acts, but on the orientation of the heart. True worship flows out of a heart renewed and freed from the curse of the law and the power of sin and flesh. In this sermon on Romans 7:6 titled “Life in the Spirit,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones is emphatic that this new relationship to the law does not bring about antinomianism since all of God’s commands are good and just. It means that Christ fulfilled the law and gives believers a new heart that has new desires. The end of the law is not a license to live in sin but it comes with the joy and privilege of seeking to love God and neighbor out of the new person that Christ Jesus is fashioning all believers to be. Sanctification cannot be separated from salvation and glorification because Christ Jesus is the one who begins and completes salvation.
In the Spirit or in the Flesh?
What does it mean to be in the Spirit? In this sermon on Romans 7:6 titled “In the Spirit or in the Flesh?” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones shares that it means the Christian lives in a totally new way than before. He says that to be in the Spirit is to live in Christ and renewed daily in His power. He contrasts the new life with the old life of sin and bondage under the law. The law was good, but because of human sin and depravity, it brought only condemnation. Jesus is better than the law. Jesus died for His people and makes them new creatures in Christ if they believe in His gospel. Jesus brings commandments that are not burdensome, but rather they are freeing. The glory of this new life is in living in the Holy Spirit as children of God. Christians are no longer slaves to sin and immorality. The most important question then is how does one live this life? The answer is by believing in the gospel of Christ, and in His death, burial, and resurrection as the only means of salvation and peace with God. This message is the only way of true peace and joy with God.
The Purpose of the Law
Is the law sin? After repeated chapters concerning the Christian’s death to the law, some listeners may have asked Paul if the law was in fact sinful. Paul’s reply is “By no means!” Those who argue that have completely missed what Paul was teaching; in fact, he was teaching the exact opposite. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones points out in the sermon on Romans 7:7 titled “The Purpose of the Law” that Paul’s response is a self-reflection to help others understand. Paul says that he had not known sin apart from the law. He was not aware of the real nature of sin until the law made it clear to him. It is the law itself that enables anyone to understand the true nature and character of sin. As an illustration, Paul says that he did not understand that his lust was a sin until the law told him so. The law, showing the desperate need for a savior, magnifies the gravity and weight of our sin. The law is merely concerned with the meaning and character of a person’s heart and their attitude toward sin. Therefore, the law is not sin but it merely shows sin and Paul thanks God for the law.
Sins Nature and Character
How does sin seize the law as an opportunity? In the previous verse, Paul mentions that the law aggravates lusts and passions within him and now he explains that in further detail. In the sermon on Romans 7:8 titled “Sin’s Nature and Character,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says that sin uses the law as a starting point to prove a result. The result is that sin essentially wreaks havoc in a person’s heart, producing lusts and desires in an evil sense. It uses the law as a fulcrum to completely take over in a powerful way. The law shows how truly sinful people are because it is a guideline of how to live. Humanity would never see its need for salvation if it did not understand how powerful sin is. It further explains the nature and character of sin. Sin ignites rebellion and causes people to become independent, feeling that they no longer need a God. This leads to complete lawlessness and destroys any order of discipline. Dr. Lloyd-Jones provides some modern-day illustrations of how this is evident in daily life.
Sin Revealed By the Law
Was there ever a time that Paul was without the law? In the sermon on Romans 7:9 titled “Sin Revealed by the Law,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains that Paul is referring to the time in Paul’s life when he was not aware of the law. Before a person knows the law, they are unconscious about their sin. Without the resistance of the law, they would have never understood the power of sin. Paul says “sin sprang to life” and now he has a full understanding of his sinfulness and sin is all the more evident. Previously, a person without the law believes they are alive and free, but with the law they lack old self-assurance and self-reliance. Now with the law, a Christian feels death as they mourn their sin. Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains that once again Paul has confirmed that the law can never sanctify or deliver. With the law, there is a complete view of morals and ethics and since God gave the law, Christians now know sin and are without excuse. Those who say that they have no sin are clearly deceiving themselves. Dr. Lloyd-Jones warns that there is no more hopeless statement than for someone to say that they are not a sinner.
The Deceitfulness of Sin
Sin is deceiving, but just how does it deceive? Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones preaches the sermon on Romans 7:10–11 titled “The Deceitfulness of Sin” and further dissects just how powerful and persuasive sin can be in a Christian’s life. Paul confirmed in his letter to the Romans that no one can find life by the law and instead can actually find death. This is because sin is death and the law shows the sin in lives. Paul is careful to clarify that the law is good as long as it is used lawfully. However, despite one’s best efforts, sin uses the law and condemns. Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains four ways in which sin deceives: it makes one feel that God is against them; it makes them feel that the law is unreasonable in its demands; it praises the sinner and makes them think highly of themselves; and it even deceives about sin itself. In order to be vigilant, Christians need to ensure that they are not easily persuaded by the powerfulness and deceitfulness of sin.
Sin Uses Law to Produce Death
How can a good thing cause death? Paul makes a case that the law is in fact a good thing. However, some argued that it brought death to them and Paul adamantly refutes this statement. In the sermon on Romans 7:12–13 titled “Sin Uses Law to Produce Death,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones expounds on Paul’s argument that the law is good, but it is sin that causes death. First, the law is holy and the complete opposite of sin. The law is just and never makes unfair demands, but sin is deceitful. The law is good and there is no better life than the one that is lived by God’s law. God created the law as a tool to instruct and bring about a knowledge of sin. The law allows the sinner to see their complete failure and need for a savior. It is on this basis that Paul’s point is proven: the law is a good tool created by God but it is the sin that produces death. Dr. Lloyd-Jones reiterates Paul’s point that the law was never meant to be a way of salvation.
A Summary of Romans 7:14-25
Faithful Christian interpreters have been puzzled by the identity of the man described by Paul in Romans 7:14-25. What is his spiritual condition? Is he regenerate or unregenerate? Can Paul be describing the spiritual condition of a mature believer? Or might the description be that of an immature believer? Although we must approach every passage of Scripture with care, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones earnestly calls his listeners to come to Romans 7:14-25 with the maximum amount of humility. In this introductory sermon, Dr. Lloyd-Jones provides a cogent overview of the various positions, reminding his listeners again and again that it is prudent to adopt an attitude of fear and trepidation since great Christian saints have held differing perspectives. Dr. Lloyd-Jones also provides his audience with a general outline of the entire passage and carefully links Romans 7:14-25 with the theme of the Law found in the previous verses. Finally, he unpacks how Scripture describes the carnal or fleshly man. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones introduces the main contours of the debate surrounding the peculiar identity of the man of Romans 7:14-25.
The Carnal Man (Part 1)
The spiritual identity of the man in Romans 7:14-25 is the driving question interpreters face as they approach one of Scriptures most perplexing passages. After providing an introduction to the passage in the previous message, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones begins to parse out in greater detail his own view of Romans 7:14-25 in this sermon. With pastoral sensitivity Dr. Lloyd-Jones maintains humility when expounding the passage, noting how truly difficult the section of Scripture is. He encourages his audience to not give up on difficult texts. He argues that Paul’s defense of the law remains the key contextual detail one must keep in mind. In this sermon Dr. Lloyd-Jones has his keen exegetical eye set on the phrase “sold under sin.” Of whom is such a statement true? Is this a description of an unregenerate man? Dr. Lloyd-Jones argues that it cannot be so due to the fact that an unregenerate man does not affirm that he has such a condition. Is this a description of a regenerate man? Lloyd-Jones says that it cannot be since such a view contradicts Paul’s description of a regenerate man elsewhere in Romans. What is the solution then? Listen to this fascinating sermon by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones as he works through this complex and complicated passage in Paul’s most famous letter
Carnal Man: 2) Dual Personality
What is the spiritual identity of the man? Is he regenerate? Unregenerate? Or carnal? This has been the burning question Dr. Marytn Lloyd-Jones has been asking of Romans 7:15-25. After having carefully worked through several verses already, in this message Dr. Lloyd-Jones continues to aid his listeners through this difficult passage. Looking at the larger context of Romans, Dr. Lloyd-Jones reminds us that Paul is not merely telling us about his personal experience in Romans 7. Instead, Paul is defending his view of the law. As the apostle is neither denouncing the law nor attributing the responsibility for sin to the law, the question remains: how does sin come to pass then? In answering this question, the apostle Paul makes one of the most daring statements in all the Bible. Paul asserts that sin dwells in me! In other words, sin takes up residence in each person. As such, says Dr. Lloyd-Jones, we must realize that sin is not just outside but is part of our very nature. Listen as he explains the power of sin, the dual nature of man, and how this all connects to finding out the spiritual identity of the man in Romans 7.
Carnal Man: 3) The Battle Within
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones is fixated on helping his listeners understand the difficult teaching of the apostle Paul’s in Romans 7:15-25. The spiritual identity of the man presented by Paul in Romans 7 is a most perplexing passage. In previous sermons, Dr. Lloyd-Jones has been methodically building his case on the man’s spiritual identity. He is one who knows that the law is good. This man agrees with the law that he is a sinner. Now the man states that he delights in the law. As Dr. Lloyd-Jones argues, these things cannot be said of the unregenerate man. But does this mean that Romans 7 refers to the regenerate man as the Reformed tradition holds? Humbly, the Doctor demurs from men he holds in high estimation. Instead, being bound to the text of Scripture, Dr. Lloyd-Jones points out that while this man does indeed affirm the spiritual nature of the law, he also says there is a battle raging within. Moreover, the man in Romans 7 says he is brought into captivity. What do these elements mean for the spiritual identity of the man in Romans 7? Listen as Martyn Lloyd-Jones untangles and explains this most intriguing passage of Scripture.
The Wretched Man Identity (1)
Is the apostle Paul’s exclamation of wretchedness in Romans 7:24-25 a description of the regenerate man at his very best in this life? Who exactly is speaking? Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explores the exact meaning of this well-known and difficult passage in this sermon on Romans 7:25 titled “The Wretched Man Identity.” As the first sermon in a two-part sermon series, Dr. Lloyd-Jones walks us through seeming parallel passages of Scripture to shed light on the question of the identity of this man — is this a regenerate or unregenerate man? Or perhaps an immature Christian? At first glance, these passages seem to describe the same groaning and state of misery as the man in Romans 7:24-25. But after examining 1 Corinthians 9:27, Ephesians 6, and Galatians 5 closely, Dr. Lloyd-Jones shows that the these passages, while appearing similar on the surface, are different, indeed opposite, of the man we find in Romans 7. These texts are referring to a certainty of triumph and victory because of the role of the Holy Spirit. It is the success of a regenerate man who is sanctifying himself by the Spirit and is thereby able to crucify sin. By laying the hermeneutical foundation of examining other passages, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones prepares his listeners for the second part to this series by teaching that Romans 7:24-25, in spite of every resolution of the man, is a declaration of captivity. The law of sin in his members is too strong and he is sold under sin. Listen as Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones carefully exegetes this passage, contrasts it with other New Testament passages, and lays the groundwork to discuss in-depth the identity of this man.
The Wretched Man Identity (2)
Having unpacked numerous New Testament passages in the first part of this series, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones moves to an in-depth look at three possible identities of the wretched man: the regenerate, the unregenerate, or the immature Christian. In this sermon on Romans 7:13-25 titled “The Wretched Man Identity (2),” Dr. Lloyd-Jones shows that the identity of this wretched man in Romans 7 is not the regenerate man as this is incompatible with other scriptural teaching. But neither is it describing an unregenerate man, as the man is experiencing genuine conviction of sin. He shows an awareness of his own weakness and failure, but there is no mention of the Holy Spirit and indwelling Christ in the text, thus it cannot be an unregenerate man. Having shown he is neither a regenerate or unregenerate man, Dr. Lloyd-Jones turns to the question of whether this can be a description of an immature believer. He emphatically denies this possibility because no matter the situation, it is impossible for a Christian to utter the cry of verse 24. The Christian does not despair. No, he fights sin and uses restraint and care to mortify his flesh. So then how do we identify this man? How are we to understand the meaning of Paul’s words? Dr. Lloyd-Jones directs our attention to Paul’s intent in writing this passage. The intent is to show that the law is not salvific. This is the point Paul is trying to highlight in dramatic fashion. When man tries to keep the law, he falls under conviction, but has no hope. He doesn’t know or understand the truth of the gospel. This, says Dr. Lloyd-Jones is the central meaning of this difficult passage of Scripture. In Dr Lloyd-Jones’s own words, the man described in Romans 7 is “a man who is experiencing an intense conviction of sin, a man who has been given to see, by the Spirit, the holiness of the Law; and he feels utterly condemned. He is aware of his weakness for the first time, and his complete failure” ( D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Exposition of Chapter 7:1-8:4 The Law: Its Functions and Limits, Edinburgh, Banner of Truth, 1973, p.255). Paul is showing us that there is one great and glorious hope for us. What the law could not do, thanks be to God, the grace of God provides.
Science; Morality and God
In 1961 an incredible feat of man took place when man orbited earth for the first time. This momentous occasion held the world in awe. In this sermon on Romans 7:22-25 titled “Science; Morality and God,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones urges the listener to pause and reflect on this historical moment. What does it mean and what is its real significance? How does this moment affect us? Many view this extraordinary achievement as proof of the human capability to liberate itself. If man can succeed in this staggering technological advancement, there must be no limit to his power and capacity to make the world perfect. It causes man to be optimistic of its progress. As Dr. Lloyd-Jones points out, however, an examination of the history of civilization shows marvelous discoveries by man while also confronting us with a staggering fact — whatever man may do in his brilliance to achieve physical greatness, his achievements give a false optimism for his capacity for moral accomplishment. Man cannot escape the worst compulsions of his own nature. He can defeat gravity but cannot defeat his own moral problems. This false optimism, teaches Dr. Lloyd-Jones, is based on a complete failure of man to understand the Biblical message; it is indicative of the failure to recognize our problem of sin. The Bible tells us physical problems like the problem of gravity is outside of man and can be solved. The moral problem, however, is inside man. This force of sin, the power of the devil is in the world and is beyond the power of man. There is also the inner condition of man, which is sinful and affects the whole of man. Man’s twisted and biased heart is bent against solving moral problems. What then can be done? Listen as Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones expounds on the power of God unto salvation as the only avenue of deliverance.