God's Goodness and Severity
A Sermon on Romans 11:18-22
18do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you. 19You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; 21for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either. 22See then the kindness and severity of God: to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; for otherwise you too will be cut off.
18Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. 19Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. 20Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: 21For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. 22Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
In previous passages, Paul has explained that because of the Jews’ unbelief, the Gentiles were granted belief through Christ. In Romans 11:18–22, Paul now warns the Gentiles against any boasting because of their new standing and salvation. There is no place for pride in a Christian’s life and Paul warns that any such feelings would cause one to suffer. In this sermon on Romans 11:18–22 titled “God’s Goodness and Severity,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains that the best corrective against pride is to know God, and the truth and character of God. The greatest lack would be a lack of the knowledge of God. This lack would show in one’s doctrine and view of sin, and would lead to a lack of fear of the Lord. In his closing, Dr. Lloyd-Jones also pauses to reflect on the goodness and severity of God in Romans 11:22. God is true in all of His characteristics and He is fully known in each of those character traits. One cannot say that God is good without acknowledging His severity. One cannot dwell only on the wrath of God without showing the love of God. The truest example of this is Christ on the cross. May the Christian never boast in themselves, but instead boast in Christ and all that He has done for them.
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.