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.
Sons of God
What is real knowledge of God? As Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones follows the apostle Paul’s teaching on the adoption as sons of God, he gives special attention to the Christian’s true emotional and effective knowledge of the truth. The Holy Spirit leads the Christian from a spirit of bondage and fear to this Spirit of adoption, which is marked by the deep cry, “Abba, Father.” In this sermon on Romans 8:15 titled “Sons of God,” Dr. Lloyd-Jones further explores this teaching as it relates to assurance. Similar to someone in love, one may not be able to express it intellectually, but they are certainly aware that it is true. Likewise the child of God knows he or she is a child of God. This, says Dr. Lloyd-Jones, is the proof of adoption. Practically, then, God is not off in the distance nor is He difficult to approach. The Christian may approach Him in a familiar way, even a spontaneous manner. Listen carefully to this sermon on Romans 8:15 as Dr. Lloyd-Jones talks about the delight, joy, peace, and rest of genuinely knowing God — that is, knowing God as Abba, Father.
The Spirit of Adoption
Is assurance essential for salvation? Can one doubt their salvation and still be truly saved? In this sermon on Romans 8:15 titled “The Spirit of Adoption,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones answers that assurance is not essential for salvation. It is possible for those who have truly been born again and who trust in the Gospel to doubt if they have been saved. This is because they are saved by the work of Christ, not our act of believing. It is not as if faith is a great work that earns the Christian favor with God. Scripture tells that faith itself is a gift from God in order that the Christian might be saved. Salvation is received by God enabling them to believe in the gospel. This is a great hope to all who are plagued by doubts of God’s love for them. Salvation is a gift of God, but not all who are saved are assured of their salvation. As Christians grow in love of God and neighbor and to understand God more and more, all Christians can have a stronger assurance of salvation. All believers can know that Christ has died for them and loves them.
Knowing You Have Received
Within certain streams of popular Bible teaching, the sovereignty of the Holy Spirit is significantly diminished. Some have emphasized the responsibility to “take” the Holy Spirit by faith. In other words, God wants to give the Spirit, one just needs to “lay hold of” Him. In this sermon on Romans 8:15 titled “Knowing You Have Received,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones finds this teaching unbiblical and troubling. In order to refute this defective teaching, he patiently works through all the New Testament references to the word “receive” and draws proper theological conclusions about the Holy Spirit and faith. Dr. Lloyd-Jones reminds that as the blessed third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit is a sovereign Lord. One must never talk as if they control Him. Nor should they, he warns, think they can simply use “faith” to “lay hold of” or “take” the Spirit. As Paul teaches in Romans 8:15, the Christian merely “receives” the Spirit of adoption. This is the consensus of the Scriptural witness. Watch how Dr. Lloyd-Jones models the proper way to handle Christian doctrine and engage those who teach heterodox views. Moreover, listen to Dr. Lloyd-Jones teach the true nature of the Spirit’s sovereignty and how He comes to the believer.
Spirit Baptism and Fullness
Since Christians do not actively “take” the Spirit, but passively receive the sovereign Spirit, what are they to do? As Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones pursues this question in this sermon on Romans 8:15 titled “Spirit Baptism and Fullness,” he sets the context of the passage. He notes that Spirit baptism is an extra – a plus. It is an additional assurance children of God experience. In other words, it is not something every believer who has the Spirit of adoption experiences. Nevertheless, it is something all should desire. In Romans 8:15, the apostle Paul elaborates on Spirit baptism, or being filled with the Spirit. Dr. Lloyd-Jones encourages all Christians to genuinely seek the fullness of the Spirit, but not by trying to “seize” the Spirit. Furthermore, Christians cannot pretend they can take it by someone laying hands on them. How does one get it then? Dr. Lloyd-Jones teaches that it is through obedience and prayer. In the end, however, Christians rest knowing the Holy Spirit is sovereign. If indeed the Spirit does grant this assurance, the Christian will surely know it. Let them not, however, pretend to have it, warns Dr. Lloyd-Jones, unless they actually do. Listen as he teaches on the joys, and potential pitfalls, of Spirit baptism.
Sealing with the Spirit
What does it mean to say that the Spirit bears witness? Listen to Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in this sermon on Romans 8:16 titled “Sealing with the Spirit.” Paul began assuring the Christian in their salvation by saying in Romans 8:16 that they are led by the Spirit of God, which makes them children of God. Secondly, he adds that Christians would know something of the spirit of bondage and fear. Paul is now explaining that the Holy Spirit testifies with the Christian’s spirit. There are multitudes of commentaries that discuss varying views on the definition of this verse and Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones spends much of this sermon discussing the views and applications of this verse. He does want to make one thing clear: all Christians are sons of God and all Christians are children of God. Those that say there are distinctions or groupings among Christians have not properly translated what Paul is saying here. When Paul refers to Christians as “sons,” he means this in a legal sense. When Paul refers to Christians as “children of God,” he means this in a familial sense and our present reality. Dr. Lloyd-Jones then explains why this is another point to prove the assurance of one’s salvation. Any scholar or commentary that does not teach on the assurance of salvation does not fall into the proper Protestant Reformation teaching.
The Witness of the Spirit
When Satan tempts the Christian to despair or tells them that they are not a child of God, they can turn to the word of God and find an abundance of assurance based upon the promises of the Scriptures. In this sermon on Roman 8:16 titled “The Witness of the Spirit,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones does not discount the amount of assurance found by going to the Bible. He argues, however, that there is an even greater level of assurance that the believer can have. In Romans 8:16, the apostle Paul mentions the witness of the Spirit. This witness of the Spirit, says Dr. Lloyd-Jones, is the same as the baptism of the Spirit, or the sealing of the Spirit, found elsewhere in Scripture. While every Christian has the Spirit of adoption and is a child of God, not all have the witness of the Spirit. This is a second blessing that comes upon a believer for the purpose of assurance. Moreover, it illumines the believer’s understanding with respect to salvation. In essence, it is a special way the love of God is poured out on a particular believer in the quietness of the heart. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones gives an extended teaching on the witness of the Spirit and breaks down the Scriptures in order to gain insight and understanding to this special work of the Holy Spirit.
Faith and Experience
When does the believer receive the Holy Spirit? Is it at the moment of adoption into the body of Christ through faith or is it sometime later? Often after accepting the gift of salvation, one may not feel the flooding nature of spiritual baptism. Others may feel the Spirit immediately. In this sermon on Romans 8:16 titled “Faith and Experience,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones comments on this phenomenon in this message of assurance and unity. The sermon also surveys other examples in the New Testament where the Spirit is received. He provides context into the sealing of the Spirit, as well as context into the translation of the word. He answers the question: Who baptizes with the Spirit? Dr. Lloyd-Jones elaborates on what rights a believer has, both before and after receiving the Spirit. He delves into the wide scope of Puritan writers, as well as other Christian perspectives, concerning this theological argument in order to further expand this topic and solidify its interpretation. Listen as the power of the Spirit is unraveled and opened to the believer in its ability to unify the church body of Christ across its many differences to do His good work in the world.
Nature of the Spirit's Witness
When is a Christian sealed by the Holy Spirit? Through the teachings of Jesus Christ and the New Testament writers, the Christian knows that salvation comes by trusting in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for the forgiveness of sins. But when is a believer confirmed by the Holy Spirit and what is this experience like? In this sermon on Romans 8:16 titled “Nature of the Spirit’s Witness,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones dives into these questions, quoting examples from the Bible and Christian theologians. He says that not all believers undergo the feeling of being sealed by the Spirit. Some believers do not feel that singular moment where they experience a period of spiritual elation or a time of intense connection to God. Dr. Lloyd-Jones says these moments are not necessary for a person to be a Christian. After all, the disciples were believers before the Spirit came upon them at Pentecost. In his sermon, Dr. Lloyd-Jones teaches that the sealing of the Spirit is a tool used by God to prepare Christians when perhaps a time of temptation or persecution is coming. He concludes by saying that God may send these believers the gifts and empowerment necessary to weather the time ahead.
The Witness of History
Continuing his sermon series on the Holy Spirit, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones answers an important theological question: does the sealing of the Spirit actually exist? The short answer, he says, is yes. In his sermon on Romans 8:16 titled “The Witness of History,” he combs through historical accounts of Christian thinkers, pastors, and theologians who have experienced God’s sealing of the Spirit to give evidence for this Christian phenomenon. Many of the names are recognizable as Dr. Lloyd-Jones quotes these famed Christians through the centuries. He reads the works of George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, John Wesley, D. L. Moody, Charles Spurgeon, and many more. He remarks on how astonishingly similar are these accounts of God’s sealing of the Spirit. These theologians write about being overwhelmed by emotions, a profound sense of peacefulness, and a life-changing understanding. Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones explains that the sealing of the Spirit is an emotional understanding of a Christian’s salvation that might occur within a believer’s life. It is not necessary to a person’s salvation but it is a great gift of God’s choosing to give.
The True and the False
What does one do with excesses related to the Holy Spirit? Many Christians are wary of any emphasis on the experience of the Spirit. In this sermon on Romans 8:16 titled “The True and the False,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones has been working out the doctrine of Spirit baptism and recognizes many will be fearful of such talk. He warns his listeners, however, that they must not fall prey to quenching the Spirit simply because there are potential excesses. Doubling down, Dr. Lloyd-Jones says that those who minimize the experience of the Spirit’s work are perhaps guilty of quenching both revival and evangelism. What is his alternative? He acknowledges that any time there is an outpouring of the Spirit, counterfeits will follow. Satan will take advantage of this opportunity and convince Christians to focus on the experience rather than God. Dr. Lloyd-Jones’s solution is not to deny the Spirit’s work, but to discern the true from the false. Christians should watch for holiness to follow those who claim a special work of the Spirit. He encourages being wary if awe and glory of God do not follow the particular experience of the Spirit. Listen to this sermon on Romans 8:16 as Dr. Lloyd-Jones seeks a balanced approach to the witness of the Spirit in the experience of believers.
The Spirit and Sanctification
In his sermon on Romans 8:16 titled “The Spirit and Sanctification,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones answers an important question: what does it mean to be sanctified and how does the process of sanctification come about? Dr. Lloyd-Jones reminds the listener that sanctification comes after salvation and after the Christian’s spirit has been testified by the Spirit of God. This moment in the believer's life is when they become part of God’s family, just as He set apart the Jews in the Old Testament. Dr. Lloyd-Jones gives a sturdy definition of sanctification as the process in which a Christian progressively becomes cleansed of sin. This definition raises another question, he says: When is a believer sanctified? Some parties claim the process is instantaneous, occurring right after a person is saved. No, Dr. Lloyd-Jones says. There is a difference between justification and sanctification. For if all believers were sanctified at the moment of faith, what purpose does the instruction of the Bible serve? In closing, he reminds the Christian of when they were justified through Christ, aware of God’s grace and the weight of their sin. Dr. Lloyd-Jones points toward sanctification – a process every believer goes through.
Seeking the Spirit
In his sermon on Romans 8:16 titled “Seeking the Spirit,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones expands upon an important Christian phenomenon: spiritual confirmation. Reading from Romans 8:16, he reminds how “the Spirit Himself” testifies with the believer’s spirit after being saved, inducting him or her into God’s family. However, should that believer then seek additional spiritual confirmation or more of the Spirit? In short, Dr. Lloyd-Jones says they should seek but a person should be careful of the methods in asking for more of the Spirit. Dr. Lloyd-Jones warns Christians to avoid groups that claim they can administer the Spirit by staying in a room until He comes or laying hands on an individual. This is not how Scripture describes receiving more of the Spirit, and only apostles could give the Spirit by laying on hands, he says. God distributes the Spirit in a more Biblical way. Dr. Lloyd-Jones points to Christ’s encouraging descriptions of God as a loving father; if knocked on, the door will be opened; and if asking for bread, a father would not give his child a stone. In closing, Dr. Lloyd-Jones tracks Christian figures across the centuries, reading their accounts of how much of the Spirit they received, and how much more is in store for those who call upon Him.
Heirs according to the Promise
Does the Christian rejoice that they are a child of God and an heir to the coming glory? Through his sermon on Romans 8:17 titled “Heirs According to the Promise,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones joyfully proclaims that every time that Paul references the Spirit being a seal, he also mentions that the Spirit is the guarantor of the fact that believers are heirs with Christ. This fact is great assurance and certainty of the Christian faith: if Christians are children of God, then they are also His heirs. Paul once again demonstrates that believers have union with Christ; it is absolute and cannot end. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones expresses that only Christians have this kind of hope. The inheritance of glory for Christians was set before the beginning of time in God. This is a great promise and is shown often throughout Scripture. All believers are joint heirs with Christ and should be looking toward the coming of their Savior.
Heirs of God
There is a glorious inheritance which awaits the children of God. As heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, the magnanimity of what is theirs in Christ far exceeds their imaginations. But how can they be sure of this inheritance? Christians are used to promises broken by sinful people and hopes dashed by circumstances beyond their control. Why then is the hope of their future inheritance secure? Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones has an answer to these most important questions. In his sermon on Romans 8:17 titled “Heirs of God,” he follows the apostle Paul in grounding the hope of inheritance in the immutable, or unchanging, plan of God. It is because of God’s power that inheritance is secure. The Christian can have the utmost confidence and assurance that God will work in such a way as to bring His promises to pass. They need not worry about trials or circumstances thwarting God’s purposes. What is more, they do not even fear their own ability to forfeit their future hope. Dr. Lloyd-Jones labors to encourage the Christian in the absolute security of their inheritance because their heavenly Father cares for them. Listen as he calls to consider the One promising the indescribable glory that awaits.
The Problem of Suffering
The urgent problem for the Christian faith in times past and still today is to reconcile trials, tribulations, and suffering with the exceeding great promises of glory that await the children of God. This is the foundation of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones’s sermon on Romans 8:17 titled “The Problem of Suffering.” The Christian must remember, says Dr. Lloyd-Jones, that Paul is no professor of theology, but a profound theologian with a pastoral heart. The apostle Paul is concerned with Christian assurance and when suffering threatens this security. But, Dr. Lloyd-Jones argues, suffering confirms the promises of the gospel. When rightly understood, far from raising doubts or questions, suffering is the proof of the truth of those promises. The doctrine of union with Christ is important for the pastoral task of understanding suffering, says Dr. Lloyd-Jones. As joint-heirs with Christ who suffered, the Christian’s suffering is absolute proof that they belong to Him. Moreover, this suffering is part of the preparation for the glory that awaits the believer. In their current state, counsels Dr. Lloyd-Jones, the Christian is unprepared for glory. But thanks to God that He is preparing them for it and Christians must remember that it is He who is doing so.
Purpose of Salvation
According to Genesis 1–2, humanity is the crown of God’s creation. Adam and Eve’s innocent state before the God whose image and likeness they reflected represented the tremendous glory given to them. Sadly, all this was affected by the fall. What then is the ultimate goal of salvation? As wonderful as forgiveness of sin may be, is salvation merely that? As gracious as avoiding the eternal wrath of God in hell would be, is that all salvation is about? Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says in this sermon on salvation that God should be praised because salvation is so much more. Not only does the Christian attain the original glory of humanity in the garden, but in Christ they anticipate and will receive much more glory than Adam ever experienced – perfection. In this sermon on Romans 8:17–18 titled “Purpose of Salvation,” Dr. Lloyd-Jones lays out the apostle Paul’s argument regarding the glorification that awaits the Christian. Glorification is the Christian’s goal, not mere justification, and not even sanctification. Dr. Lloyd-Jones says a biblical view of glorification is important for Christian lives, especially during times of great suffering. In fact, Paul constantly connects suffering with glory in the life of the believer. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones brings out the great implications and application of this truth for the Christian life today.
Reactions to Suffering
How should Christians react to suffering? This is a difficult question, but it is also an important question. All who live in this world suffer from the effects of sin and death. Even Jesus Himself suffered while He was on earth. In this sermon on Romans 8:18 titled “Reactions to Suffering,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones warns against the wrong reactions to suffering in life. Whether one is angry at God or doubts His goodness, the Christian is prone to lose their trust in the face of suffering. But the Bible tells that suffering is never purposeless, nor is suffering the ultimate fate of those who trust in Christ. The greatest hope is not in worldly social reform or in political campaigns, but it is in the reality that Christ has died for His people and is making all things new. Rather than looking to themselves in times of suffering, the Christian must look to Christ who has died in their place so that they might be redeemed from sin and its curse. This hope is only possible for those who believe in the gospel.
A Share in the Glory
In Romans 8:18, Paul says that no present trial or suffering is to compare with the glory that is to come. What would enable a person to say that? In this sermon on Romans 8:18 titled “A Share in the Glory,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains this view of Christians in two viewpoints. There are certain sufferings that only Christians have but a Christian also has a hope that is to come and this outshines any hardships they are currently experiencing. Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains that a Christian has a correct view of time and their life in this world. There is a distinct separation of time in this present world and then there is eternity with Christ. Dr. Lloyd-Jones also says that the Christian has grasped Scripture in light of what is to come. A Christian should continually declare the name of the Lord and do His will until that day comes; everything one does should be done in light of that great day. The future glory is already here but has not yet been revealed. Christians do not belong to this present age but are citizens of another age and eagerly awaiting that day. Those who are in Christ will not be spectators but actual partakers of that glory.
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.