Here are the last three Crucial Questions booklets from R.C. Sproul that were published before his death in December.
How Can I Be Right with God? (Crucial Questions No. 26) by R.C. Sproul. Reformation Trust Publishing. 69 pages. 2017
The late Dr. R.C. Sproul writes that the gospel tells us how we can be right with God. In this short book looking at the doctrine of justification. That doctrine explains how we, as unjust people, can be reconciled to a just and holy God. Justification takes place when God declares a person to be just in His sight.
The author tells us that the good news of the gospel is that we don’t have to wait until we become perfectly righteous before God will consider us and declare us righteous. We are made and declared righteous by virtue of God’s imputing to us the righteousness of Christ. Christ’s righteousness and merit are attributed to us while we are still sinners.
God declares us just, not because He looks at us and sees our righteousness, but because He sees the righteousness of Christ. God counts the righteousness of Christ for us, and does not count our own sins against us.
The author compares the Reformed view and the Roman Catholic views. In the Reformed view, the righteousness of Christ is imputed by faith to the believer. In the Roman Catholic view, the righteousness of Christ is infused into someone via the sacraments. That person must then cooperate with this infusion of grace in order to become truly righteous.
We are told that faith is the instrument by which we are linked to the righteousness of Christ. Faith is the conduit through which His righteousness is given to us. The instant someone has true faith, God declares them justified and imputes to them all of the merit of Christ, so that all that Christ is and all that He has accomplished becomes his.
The author tells us that throughout, the Bible describes the relationship between a holy God and unholy people as a relationship of estrangement. However, when we are justified, we have peace with God that is forever.
What Can We Know about God? (Crucial Questions No. 27) by R.C. Sproul. Reformation Trust Publishing. 70 pages. 2017
In this booklet in his Crucial Questions series, Dr. R.C. Sproul looks at “theology proper,” which has specific reference to the study of God Himself. He tells us that “incomprehensible” does not mean that we cannot know anything about God, but rather that our knowledge of Him will always be limited. He tells us that the fundamental principle is that even though we do not know God exhaustively and comprehensively, we do have meaningful ways of speaking about Him. He covers some of those ways (God’s attributes, will and providence).
The author writes that a primary concern is to develop an understanding of His attributes such as His holiness, His immutability, and His infinity, to gain a coherent understanding of who He is. He writes about both communicable and incommunicable attributes. A communicable attribute is one that can be transferred from one person to another. An incommunicable attribute is one that cannot be transferred. God’s incommunicable attributes, therefore, cannot be attributes of human beings. He writes that God’s incommunicable attributes point to the way in which God is different from us and the way in which He transcends us. His incommunicable attributes reveal why we owe Him glory, honor, and praise. In addition, God possesses certain attributes that are communicable. Those are attributes that we have the ability to possess and manifest.
The author writes about the two aspects of God’s will. One aspect of the will of God is His decretive will, which refers to the fact that God sovereignly brings to pass whatsoever He wills. In addition, there is the preceptive will of God. The author tells us that while the decretive will of God cannot be resisted, we not only can resist the preceptive will of God, but we do resist it all the time. The preceptive will of God refers to God’s law, to His commandments.
The author also looks at the doctrine of providence. Providence includes the sustenance of creation and the doctrine of concurrence, which he tells us in one sense is the fact that everything that happens, even our sin, is the will of God. He writes that in the mystery of divine providence, God works His will even through our intentional decisions.
What Do Jesus’ Parables Mean? (Crucial Questions Book 28) by R.C. Sproul. Reformation Trust Publishing. 86 pages. 2017
In this the book in his Crucial Conversations series published before his death in December, 2017, R.C. Sproul writes that in His proclamation of truth with authority, Jesus is perhaps most noted for His use of parables. He tells us that while the Pharisees used parables to explain or illustrate the meaning of the Mosaic Law, Jesus used them to give new revelation.
He writes that Jesus explained that for those who have ears to hear, the parable provides a deeper understanding of Jesus’ teaching. But for those who don’t have ears to hear, the parable is actually an instrument of concealment.
Although we find many different themes when we read the parables, one of the most common ones is the gospel of the kingdom of God. He tells us that a parable’s meaning consists of one central, decisive point.
In this booklet the author looks at eleven of Jesus’ parables, and considers what Jesus’ single, important, central point is. In other words, what lessons do these parables carry for believers? The parables and a few takeaways are:
The Unjust Judge (Luke 18:1-8)
This parable is about persistent prayer. It’s about persistent prayer in the midst of trouble, even when it seems as if our prayers go no higher than the ceiling.
The Rich Fool (Luke 12:13-31)
We don’t truly understand how destructive the sin of covetousness is to a community, a family, and a nation.
Lazarus and the Rich Man (Luke 16:19-31)
This is one of the most sober warnings that we ever receive from our Lord. He warns us that now is the time for us to seal our eternity, because once we die, it’s too late.
The Hidden Treasure and the Pearl of Great Price (Matthew 13: 44-45)
The main point in both of these parables is that if you find something extremely valuable, then it is worth selling everything you have so that you can possess it.
Jesus is saying, “This is how valuable the kingdom of God is. How much value do you put on your soul? What will you give in exchange for your soul?”
The Workers in the Vineyard (Matthew 20: 1-6)
How does this parable relate to the doctrine of election?
The Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18:9-14)
Jesus was addressing all who were standing there who thought they could be justified by their own righteousness. And by extension, this parable addresses all people—then and now—who still trust in their own achievements and good works to make them right with God.
As long as a person trusts in his own righteousness, he can never experience that grace of sin removed and forgiveness received. Jesus said that the tax collector went home an adopted son of God. He went home forgiven. He went to his house justified.
The Unforgiving Servant (Matthew 18:21-35)
In the parable of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18:21–35, Jesus addresses the difficult concept of forgiveness.
If we’re not willing to forgive those who have sinned against us, we should never expect God to forgive us when we sin against Him.
The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)
The whole point of the story is to answer the question, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus says there are no limits.
The Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32)
This is a story of the gospel. A person is converted to Christ. One who was dead in sin and trespasses has been made alive.
The Wise and Foolish Bridesmaids (Matthew 25:1-13)
What was missing in the lives of the foolish virgins? Salvation. Saving faith. They obviously didn’t have the regenerative power of the Holy Spirit.
This parable is not about pagans. It’s about those who have made a profession of faith but who do not possess what they profess.
The Talents (Matthew 25:14-30)
The parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14–30 is one of three that Jesus gave to warn people of the suddenness of His coming.
The plight of the unprofitable servant is the same as the plight of the foolish virgins.
The digital version of all 28 Crucial Questions books are available at no cost.