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Sermon #3060

Faith Only

A Sermon on Romans 4:9-16


Romans 4:9-16 ESV KJV
Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. He …

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Sermon Description

Was Abraham, a prominent figure in the Old Testament, justified by works? Paul says no; he was justified by faith alone. Just as a teacher lectures and then makes time for possible questions, Paul presents his case on the true gospel and a message on salvation and then answers potential questions that might arise. The Jews may have suggested that since Abraham was not justified by works, it was because he was circumcised. Paul again says no. Abraham was the father to all, both circumcised and uncircumcised, because Scripture shows that he was justified before he was circumcised. In the sermon “Faith Alone” on Romans 4:9–16, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones shows that Paul warns against those who merely held to their own circumcision as a means of salvation. Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains how the Jews had not properly understood why the Lord gave them the sign of circumcision and how Paul refutes their wrong beliefs. When Abraham was credited as righteous, it is the first time in Scripture that salvation by faith alone was defined. The Lord promised that because of Abraham’s faithfulness, his seed would produce the Son of God.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The apostle Paul is dealing with possible objections and difficulties to the doctrine of justification by faith, specifically from Jews.
  2. The first objection addressed is whether Abraham was justified by works. Paul shows from Scripture that Abraham was justified by faith, not works.
  3. The second objection is whether circumcision is required for justification. Paul shows that Abraham was justified by faith 14 years before he was circumcised. Therefore, circumcision is not required for justification.
  4. Circumcision was given to Abraham as an outward sign to seal the righteousness he already had by faith. It did not produce justification, but confirmed it.
  5. There were two purposes for circumcision: 1) To confirm to Abraham the righteousness he already had by faith; 2) To show that Abraham is the father of all who believe, whether circumcised or not.
  6. Abraham is the father of all believers, whether circumcised or not. He is the pattern and example of justification by faith.
  7. Merely being circumcised does not make one a child of Abraham. One must have the faith of Abraham. Circumcision alone avails nothing.
  8. The promise to Abraham was not through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. The law came 430 years after the promise.
  9. The promise to Abraham was that he would inherit the world. This refers to the universal reign of Christ in the age to come, which believers will share in.
  10. The seed of Abraham refers to Christ and all who are in Christ. Believers are heirs of the promise because they are in Christ, the seed.
  11. The promise to Abraham applies not just to Jews, but to all believers, Jew and Gentile alike. All who are of faith are Abraham's children.

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.