The Just Shall Live By Faith
A Sermon on Romans 1:16-17
16For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written: “B …
16For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is …
What is the theme of the gospel? How might a believer summarize its content? In this sermon “The Just shall Live by Faith” from Romans 1:16-17, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones draws attention to the gospel’s content. The heart of the gospel is that the righteousness of the Son, Christ Jesus, is given to Christians by faith. Faith in this regard is the whole faith position, not just an instrument by which we become righteous. What is faith? It is a big term that embraces a number of ideas, including the ideas of belief and intellectual assent. But faith is not limited to the life of the mind. It also includes an active living, a participation in living in obedience to God. The mind, heart, and will are involved in such a way that by the Spirit, the believer is moved into a life lived by faith that involves each of these capacities. Dr. Lloyd-Jones urges the listener to examine themselves to consider if the mind and the body are working together to live by faith.
- Paul is explaining why he is not ashamed of the gospel in Romans 1:16-17. The gospel reveals the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ.
- Verse 17 quotes Habakkuk 2:4, "The just shall live by faith." This means the righteous will have eternal life through faith.
- In verse 18, Paul says God's wrath is revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness. This is true for both Jews and Gentiles.
- Someone might object that God's wrath seems unfair for Gentiles who did not receive God's revelation like the Jews. Paul addresses this objection in Romans 1:19-32.
- God has revealed himself to all people through creation, so all are without excuse. The Gentiles who did not worship God were given over to sin as punishment.
- Someone might say not all people live immoral lives like those described in Romans 1. Paul addresses this in Romans 2:1-16. God judges based on one's actions, not one's words or knowledge.
- God's kindness should lead one to repentance. Simply believing God is loving is not enough. One must live for God's glory.
- All people, whether Jews or Gentiles, will be judged based on their relationship with God, not by the law they know.
- Someone might say Jews have an advantage because they have the law and circumcision. Paul addresses this in Romans 2:17-29.
- Merely having the law and circumcision does not save. One must have circumcision of the heart, not just the flesh. True Jews are those who are Jews inwardly.
- Paul asks if there is any advantage to being a Jew or profit in circumcision based on what he has said. He answers in Romans 3:1-8.
- There are advantages to being a Jew, like receiving God's revelation. However, these advantages do not save. Salvation is still only by faith.
- Paul shows in Romans 3:9-20 that the law condemns both Jews and Gentiles as unrighteous before God. The law cannot save.
- Paul concludes that every mouth is silenced and the whole world is guilty before God based on the arguments he has made. The only way to be justified before God is by faith in Jesus Christ.
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.