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Sermon #3213

Christ, who is God

A Sermon on Romans 9:4-5


Romans 9:4-5 ESV KJV
They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen. (ESV)

Sermon Description

Have modern critical scholars undermined the teaching about Christ’s deity? On what basis is this passage a doxology to God the Father instead of an affirmation of deity of the Son? False religions and cults seek to mislead the people of God and Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones takes up the challenge of looking closely at the arguments for the departure of modern translations from the Authorized Version. In this sermon on Romans 9:4–5 titled “Christ … Who is … God,” his main contention is that the changes reflected in the modern translations is not the result of an honest reading of the grammar, nor are they based on studying the manuscript tradition (textual criticism). Instead, it rests entirely on a general argument about what Paul does not do in his letters. Dr. Lloyd-Jones finds this most troubling and leverages not only other modern scholars, but the history of interpretation, and most importantly, other Scriptural evidence in order to show that Jesus Christ is called “God” by the apostle Paul in this verse. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones provides a fresh account of an old debate and defends Trinitarian orthodoxy in the face of modern critical scholarship.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The sermon examines Romans 9:5 which states "Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen." There is debate over whether "who is over all, God blessed for ever" refers to Christ or God.

  2. The sermon argues that "who is over all, God blessed for ever" refers to Christ, not God. Translations that interpret this as referring to God introduce an abrupt doxology that is unnatural given the context.

  3. Grammatically, "who" refers to the nearest antecedent which is Christ. This is a common construction in Scripture, as in John 1:18.

  4. Paul emphasizes "according to the flesh" which implies a contrast, completed by "who is over all, God blessed for ever" referring to Christ's divine nature. This parallels Romans 1:3-4.

  5. The word order "God blessed" is atypical for doxologies which usually have "blessed God". Even Socinus, who denied Christ's deity, admitted this refers to Christ.

  6. Paul frequently describes Christ as head over all, as in 1 Corinthians 11:3, 15:28, Philippians 2:10-11, Colossians 1:15-17. Christ is the "image of God" implying identity, as in 2 Corinthians 4:4, Colossians 1:15, Philippians 2:6.

  7. The terms "God" and "Lord" are used interchangeably for Father, Son, and Spirit, as in 1 Corinthians 3:5, 2 Corinthians 3:16-17, Acts 4:24-29, 5:3-4. The early church referred to Christ as God, as in Matthew 1:23, John 1:1, 20:28, Acts 20:28, Titus 1:3, 2:13, Philippians 2:6, 2 Thessalonians 1:12.

  8. Doxologies are addressed to Christ, as in 2 Timothy 4:18, 2 Peter 3:18, Revelation 5:13, 15:3.

  9. Authorities throughout history have interpreted this as referring to Christ, including Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origen, Cyprian, Athanasius, Chrysostom, Augustine, Jerome, Ambrose, Luther, Calvin, and Charles Hodge.

  10. Modern translations contradict historical interpretation due to "theological interest alone" in detracting from Christ's deity, not because of grammar, scholarship, or manuscripts.

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.