4Now to the one who works, the wages are not credited as a favor, but as what is due. 5But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, 6just as David also speaks of the blessing of the person to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
7“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven,
And whose sins have been covered.
8“Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account.”
4Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 5But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. 6Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 7Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones asks, “Who is the man who can be justified?” He answers that it is anyone that produces no works and is ungodly. In accordance with Paul’s preaching throughout Romans that would be everyone. Paul says this because the act of justification is entirely a work of Christ and no work that we do could ever be part of that process. In this sermon titled “Justifying the Ungodly” from Romans 4:4–8, Dr. Lloyd-Jones also explains that because all are ungodly, justification does not make them righteous: it means that Christ has imputed His righteousness to their account. In this passage, Paul discusses both Abraham and David, both of whom were people of the Old Testament that received salvation by faith. Paul quotes David in this passage and Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains that forgiveness is noted as the first step in the process of reconciliation. Christ covers sins, forgives iniquities, and does not impute the sins against the sinner. Instead, God imputed those sins on His Son Jesus, which were then taken to the cross. A Christian realizes that they play no part in this process and salvation is purely God’s work on the cross.
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.