Practice Rooted in Doctrine
A Sermon on Ephesians 4:17
The New Life
Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. (ESV)
Can an unbeliever apply the Scripture? Certainly there are general moral principles that someone could attempt, but as Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains from Ephesians 4:17, we must follow the example of Paul and never present the application of Scripture as mere morality disconnected from the salvation required to implement it. For when we preach morality that is not grounded in the doctrine and narrative of Scripture, we simply set up abstract laws and regulations for men to follow. This leads to legalism and self-righteousness because people reduce Christianity to a mere list of actions. This, says Dr. Lloyd-Jones, is a broad road that leads to destruction. The proper way to teach the Bible is to ground all application in the doctrine of transformation taught in the Scripture. This is to place morality in the context of who God is and what he has done in Christ Jesus on the cross for our salvation. It is to see the Christian life not in terms of what we do first and foremost, but in terms of what God has done for us. Sanctification flows from this right understanding of the doctrine of salvation by showing us the place of our works in light of God’s gracious gift of salvation. For all that trust in God and in his son Christ Jesus have been made a new people that are to seek holiness and a true knowledge of God.