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Sermon #3058

Abraham Justified By Faith

A Sermon on Romans 4:1-3


Romans 4:1-3 ESV KJV
What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” (ESV)

Sermon Description

The overwhelming message of Romans is that the righteous will live by faith. In the sermon “Abraham Justified By Faith” from Romans 4:1–3, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones believes that this is for the sake of the Jews who may not understand their Old Testament and are now rejecting this “new” message. There is only one covenant of grace and it was the same in the Old Testament as it was in the New. God’s way of dealing with humanity has always been the same. In this sermon, Dr. Lloyd-Jones also discusses how Abraham and David were justified in the Old Testament dispensation. By what was Abraham justified? By faith, as the Scripture states that Abraham believed and it was counted to him as righteousness. This is the first time in the Bible that the doctrine of justification by faith has been presented this clearly. When Abraham believed, it meant that he trusted and committed to what God said and this was established as a covenant. Dr. Lloyd-Jones warns that even though Paul continues to review the same points, the Christian must never skip over a Scripture that seems less applicable and appealing. This chapter provides a great explanation for justification by faith and it is essential to grasp and understand these arguments.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The theme of Romans 4 is that there is only one covenant of grace and one way of salvation for all people in all dispensations.
  2. Paul proves this by using the examples of Abraham and David, two of the most prominent figures in Jewish history.
  3. In verses 1-5, Paul discusses Abraham. He asks what Abraham attained according to the flesh, meaning external things like works, circumcision, and the law.
  4. Paul says that if Abraham was justified by works, he would have grounds to boast before God. But Scripture says Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:6).
  5. This shows Abraham was justified by faith alone, just like we are today. Abraham's faith was in God's promise of salvation through the Messiah.
  6. The word "counted" or "reckoned" means to put something to someone's account that they do not possess. God put Christ's righteousness to Abraham's account.
  7. In verses 6-8, Paul shows that David also said people are blessed when God does not count their sins against them (Psalm 32:1-2).
  8. In verses 9-12, Paul says Abraham was justified before circumcision, showing it is by faith and not works.
  9. In verses 13-17, Paul says the promise to Abraham was through faith, not the law. This is so God's promise would be by grace.
  10. In verses 18-22, Paul expounds on Abraham's faith. Though unlikely, Abraham believed God's promise of many offspring.
  11. Paul concludes by saying the words "it was counted to him" were not just for Abraham but also for us - if we believe in Christ, God will count righteousness to us.

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.