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Sermon #3229

Choice; not Belief

A Sermon on Romans 9:30-33


Romans 9:30-33 ESV KJV
What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by …

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Sermon Description

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.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The apostle Paul is dealing with why the Jews are outside the Christian church.
  2. He says it is because they sought righteousness not by faith, but by works of the law. They stumbled over Christ, the stumbling stone.
  3. If salvation depended on man's belief, then the Gentiles were better than the Jews. But Scripture says the Gentiles were dead in sin. They could not have understood the gospel in themselves.
  4. If the law was a hindrance, then God should not have given it. But the law was meant to lead us to Christ. The Gentiles were not better off without the law.
  5. If belief saves us, then it is a disadvantage to be intelligent or educated. But God calls people of all types. Belief does not save us. God's calling saves us.
  6. In 1 Cor. 1, Paul is not saying it is better to be foolish. He says God chose the foolish to humble the wise. No one can boast before God.
  7. The Gentiles were saved because they were ordained to eternal life, not because of their belief. Belief is the result, not the cause, of salvation.
  8. Anyone's salvation is due to God's election. Anyone's damnation is due to their own rejection of the gospel. No one deserves salvation. All deserve damnation.
  9. We cannot understand why God elects some and not others. Even the angels cannot understand the depths of God's wisdom and love. We must not question but adore.
  10. Whether wise or foolish, Jew or Gentile, moral or immoral, our state does not determine our salvation. Salvation is all of grace. No one can boast. We glory only in the Lord.

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.