Blessings Become a Curse
A Sermon on Romans 11:7-10
7What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened; 8just as it is written:
“God gave them a spirit of stupor,
Eyes to see not and ears to hear not,
7What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded 8(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) …
How can something that the Lord created as a blessing become a curse? In this sermon on Romans 11:7–10 titled “Blessings Become a Curse,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones answers this question by preaching from the words of Paul when he refers to the law and the people of Israel. Paul acknowledges that the Jews were earnest and genuine in their search for salvation but they went about it in the wrong way. The passage says that those who were elect did in fact obtain it but that the Lord hardened the others. Israel was blinded and God gave them the spirit of slumber regarding the true message of the gospel. Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains the passage by saying that the very blessing of the word of God, the law, was once a blessing but became a curse to the Jews. They had the wrong thinking about so many things and despite their best efforts, they still did not truly know Christ and did not receive salvation. The only way to receive this blessing is by faith. Dr. Lloyd-Jones also explains in great detail several other Old Testament passages which show the ignorance of the Jewish people and how they did not understand the gospel.
- Israel was earnestly and persistently seeking God's blessing and righteousness but did not obtain it.
- The election, the remnant chosen by grace, did obtain it.
- The rest of Israel was blinded.
- God gave them a "spirit of slumber"—a state of dim awareness and inability to understand or perceive spiritual truth.
- Their "table"—God's blessings and benefits—became a "snare and a trap." The very things that should have led them to God became a stumbling block.
- Their spiritual blindness and bondage was the result of their own hardness of heart and refusal to believe, not an arbitrary act of God.
- This spiritual decline had been happening in Israel for centuries in small ways, but now culminated in their rejection of the Messiah.
- Jesus himself taught that all the righteous blood shed through history would come upon "this generation" of Jews that rejected him.
- The root cause of Israel's failure was seeking God's righteousness not by faith but by works of the law. They stumbled over the "stumbling stone" of Christ.
- The greatest hindrance today to faith in Christ is often the institutional church, with its false gospels of works and ritual.
- We must be careful not to become proud or judge others, but remain humble before God, knowing we are saved by grace alone.
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.