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Sermon #3218

A Right Approach to Election

A Sermon on the Doctrine of Election from Romans 9:14

Scripture

Romans 9:14 ESV NASB KJV
What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! (ESV)

Sermon Description

Does God really choose who to save? How should one respond after hearing the truth about the doctrine of election? For some, this is the hardest concept to grasp in all of theology. In this sermon on Romans 9:14 titled “A Right Approach,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains Paul’s exclamation by first stating that one should never try to manipulate the Scripture of God to make it fit what they want it to say. He then goes on to outline several viewpoints of how people might respond after hearing the true teaching of election and salvation. In the second part of this message, Dr. Lloyd-Jones asks how someone should respond. First, they should be thankful that the apostle Paul never skirts around the issue. Just because something is difficult to grasp does not give permission to dismiss it from Scripture. One should always be careful of the inner spirit when dealing with this issue. One should never approach it with a bipartisan attitude or by debating it. Finally, one should always acknowledge that the Scripture is the word of God and the Christian must submit themselves to the whole of it even when they do not understand. Election is how God carries out his perfect plan and they should know that not all things are meant for human understanding.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The apostle Paul is dealing with the question of why the majority of Jews are outside the church and Gentiles are coming in.
  2. Paul wants to show this does not mean God's purpose has failed or changed. God's purpose stands according to election.
  3. Paul uses the examples of Abraham's sons and Isaac's sons to show God chooses some and rejects others to carry out his purpose.
  4. Paul raises and answers an objection to this teaching in verses 14-24.
  5. We must understand what Paul has said so far to understand the objection and answer. Some common misinterpretations of Paul's teaching so far:
  6. Paul is only dealing with nations, not individuals. But Paul refers to individuals like Jacob and Esau, and says "us whom he hath called."
  7. Paul is only dealing with election to privilege, not salvation. But Paul is dealing with who comes to faith, not just privilege.
  8. Paul is just justifying justification by faith. But Paul is dealing with who is justified by faith, not just the method.
  9. God chose Jacob and Esau because he foresaw their faith. But Paul says the choice was before they had done anything good or bad.
  10. The correct view is that God chooses some for salvation and rejects others to carry out his purpose, according to his will alone. This view leads to the objection Paul raises.
  11. We must approach this passage with the right spirit: humility, reverence, recognizing we can't fully understand God. We must believe even what we don't understand.
  12. Paul deals with this topic using Scripture, showing he views Scripture as the word of God. We must submit to Scripture, not argue against it.
  13. Many great teachers in church history have held the view Paul teaches here. We must be careful not to reject it just because we don't understand.
  14. Paul's main point is that if we are God's children, we will always be in his purpose and saved. Election shows how God infallibly accomplishes his purpose despite our weakness.

The Book of Romans

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.