Applying the Principles
A Sermon on Romans 8:28-30
28And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would …
28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the …
Interpretive principles are not only necessary for proper handling of sacred Scripture, but all who engage the biblical text operate with principles of interpretation. The question is whether they are good interpretive principles or bad ones. In this sermon on Romans 8:28–30 titled “Applying the Principles,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones has provided Christians with principles of interpretation that have proven the test of time within the church. In a previous sermon, he faithfully outlined principles such as looking at Scripture alone, interpreting Scripture with Scripture, and interpreting the more difficult text in light of the unambiguous passages on doctrine. While he has applied these principles throughout his preaching ministry, he pointedly draws upon them in this sermon in order to model an appropriate handling of Scripture for Christians. Moreover, Dr. Lloyd-Jones applies these interpretive principles in the context of one of the most contested doctrines in the Christian church: the perseverance of the saints. There are those who teach that a true believer – one born again by the Holy Spirit – can genuinely commit apostasy, meaning that they fall away from their faith. This position has established itself though considerable “proof texts” which Dr. Lloyd-Jones faithfully engages as he continues his number of sermons on Romans 8:28–30. Listen as he models and demonstrates charitable engagement with those with whom he disagrees and how he applies interpretive principles in his reading of Scripture.
- The sermon begins by revisiting Romans 8:28-30, which speaks of God's sovereign plan for believers.
- Lloyd-Jones then mentions that the sermon will focus on addressing difficulties people have with the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints.
- He lays out several principles for interpreting Scripture, including:
- Start with clear, unambiguous passages
- Never contradict Scripture
- Compare Scripture with Scripture
- Let Scripture speak for itself; be patient and ask questions
- Consider the context
- Lloyd-Jones then applies these principles to passages that seem to deny the perseverance of the saints. He notes that some passages refer to the church as a whole rather than individuals. For example, Revelation 2:5 is addressed to the church at Ephesus, not individual believers.
- He also notes that some passages refer to a person's office or work rather than their personal salvation. For example, 1 Corinthians 9:27 refers to Paul's ministry, not his own salvation. 1 Corinthians 3 also shows that a person's work may be burned up but they themselves are saved.
- John 15:1-11 can also be interpreted as referring to a person's ministry rather than personal salvation. The branches that bear no fruit refer to those without a true ministry. However, even if interpreted as referring to personal salvation, there are two types of people: those truly in Christ who bear fruit, and those only outwardly in Christ who bear no fruit.
- Matthew 7:15-23 and Romans 11:13-24 provide parallels to this interpretation. Not all who profess faith in Christ truly belong to him.
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.