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Sermon #3228

Faith; not Works

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

Paul is grieving over the standing of the Jews because in the church there are more believing Gentiles than Jews. This fact probably rattled most Jews to the core. The Gentiles, who had not sought after righteousness and lived immoral lives, had received a righteousness by faith. However, the Jews, who were actively pursuing the law and its commands, had not received righteousness. So why is it that God’s chosen people were outside of the church? In this sermon on Romans 9:30–33 titled “Faith, not Works,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says that the law demands absolute perfection and if any one statute were broken then there would be no account of righteousness. Paul points out that the gospel of the Lord is for all people and salvation is purely the work of Christ alone. Each person is responsible for their rejection of the gospel but they are not responsible for their acceptance of the gospel. The Bible teaches that election alone accounts for the saved, but non-election does not count for those who are lost. All are in Adam so they are all without excuse, both Jews and Gentiles.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The apostle is drawing a conclusion from the whole chapter, especially from verse 6 onwards.
  2. In verses 30-31, he makes a statement of the conclusion. In verses 32-33, he gives an explanation of the facts.
  3. The facts: The Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained righteousness by faith. Israel pursued righteousness through the law but did not attain it.
  4. The explanation: The Jews did not attain righteousness because they pursued it not by faith but by works of the law. They stumbled over the stumbling stone.
  5. Many see a contradiction between verses 6-29 which teach God's sovereignty and verses 30-33 which teach human responsibility. But there is no contradiction. Both doctrines are true.
  6. Election alone accounts for the saved but non-election does not account for the lost. The lost are responsible for rejecting the gospel.
  7. The Jews, like Pharaoh, confirmed their lost state by rejecting the gospel, justifying God's wrath. But God did not make them evil or lost. They were lost in Adam like all.
  8. We must accept both God's sovereignty and human responsibility. How one is saved depends on God's choice. How one is lost depends on man's sin and unbelief.

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.