The Fear of the Lord
A Sermon on Romans 3:18-20
18“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
19Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; 20because by …
18There is no fear of God before their eyes.
19Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20Therefore by the deeds …
Why does one sin? What drives them to chase after everything that dishonors God? The underlying answer is quoted from Psalm 36 in this Romans passage: “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:18). In this sermon from Romans 3:18–20 titled “The Fear of the Lord,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains fear as reverential awe, a desire to worship God, an understanding that God is the judge of all the earth, and a fear of punishment. The unsaved do not fear the eternal punishment of the holy God. In this passage, Paul also points out that the very law in which the Jews boast has also condemned them. All guilty under sin. Paul has stressed this repeatedly in recent passages and Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains that it is because every mouth needs to be stopped. Scripture shows the standard that all must live up to and that standard shows how humans are truly vile. That alone should silence all arguing and excuses. Dr. Lloyd-Jones asks the listener to examine the heart and mouth and ask if they are still doubting or arguing against the almighty God or has their mouth been stopped by His righteousness and grace? Thanks be to God who by His Son saves from sin.
- The apostle Paul is continuing his analysis of Romans chapter 3.
- Specifically, he is focusing on verses 18-20 in this sermon.
- Verse 18 belongs with the section from verses 10-17, where Paul quotes the Old Testament to prove all are under sin.
- The quotation in verse 18, "There is no fear of God before their eyes," is from Psalm 36:1. It means the wicked do not have reverence for God.
- Paul aims to prove Jews and Gentiles alike are under God's wrath through these scriptural quotations.
- Verses 19-20 summarize Paul's arguments from the whole section starting in Romans 1:18. They make two main points:
- First, "that every mouth may be stopped." This means Paul's arguments should silence all excuses and self-justification. They show us God's high standard, our own sin, and our guilt before God.
- Second, "that the whole world may become guilty before God." This means Paul shows how all people, without exception, are liable to punishment from God for their sin. We are "guilty" in a legal, forensic sense.
- Our greatest need is to be justified before God, not just improved or helped. We need to escape God's wrath, not just become better people.
- Paul emphasizes our guilt to show why we need the justification by faith he will describe starting in verse 21.
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.