The Book of Romans
Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones’s sermon series on the book of Romans were preached to the congregation at Westminster Chapel in the heart of central London on Friday evenings between October 1955 to March 1968. These sermons …
Rejection of the Jews
In order to help the Jews truly understand the peril they were in, Paul uses the Jewish people’s own Scripture to argue against their pride. The Jews were very prideful about the fact that they had the Scriptures, but they were also blinded to the message that was in the Scripture. In Romans 9:25–29, Paul is speaking directly to the Jews about their standing as God’s chosen people. In this sermon on Romans 9:25–29 titled “Rejection of the Jews,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones notes that the Jews received promises, but they also received threats. They did not realize that the promises they received from God were conditional and His warnings against them were true, because God’s words are always true. The words of the prophets that Paul quotes have both an immediate implication and a remote application. God would indeed carry out destruction on the Jewish people and Paul cries out for them on their behalf. Some Jews thought God would not seek destruction on them because it had been so long, but God does not always act immediately on his warnings. Dr. Lloyd-Jones reminds that salvation, to the Jew and the Gentile, is purely the work of God and we are saved by his loving mercy. The Jews should be thankful that even a remnant of them were saved.
Faith; not Works
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.
Choice; not Belief
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.
A Rock of Offence
Why is Jesus Christ a stumbling stone? In this sermon on Romans 9:30-33 titled “A Rock of Offence,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains what this statement means and how it impacts one’s life. The apostle Paul says that Jesus is a stumbling block to His fellow and beloved Jewish brethren. This is because many of them still seek to justify themselves by the law. Because they seek to justify themselves, they stumble at the teachings of Jesus when He says that He has fulfilled the law and that He is the only way to know God. One’s relationship to God is entirely dependent on whether they know God or not. What does all this mean for today? This teaches that it is only Jesus that saves and all other attempts to make one’s self right, whether it is through the works of the law or any other way, is hopeless. How then can humanity be saved? The answer is found in trusting Jesus Christ and believing that He has been sent from God and died for humanity’s sin. It is to believe that Jesus is the Son of God that has come to take away the sin of the world and that He is the only savior from God.
Learning the Lesson
In this sermon on Romans 9:1–33 titled “Learning the Lesson,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones gives a bird’s eye view of the entire chapter to show what can be learned. He says that contrary to what many believe, the Old Testament is not done away with or made obsolete for Christians. This can be known because the apostle Paul uses many Old Testament references and examples to explain the nature of the church, the Christian life, and salvation in Christ. Just as God chose the people in Israel in the Old Testament and passed by others, so also in the New Testament God calls out a people, the church, for His own purposes. Paul explains that being a Jew does not mean that one is a Christian, for not all who are born of Israel are true Israel. It is only those that God calls that are truly the children of God. This sermon presents many of the hard truths of Scripture, but it also shows how these hard truths are some of the most comforting. All of God’s truth is good news for those that love Him and who have put their trust in Jesus Christ.