Saved from What? by R.C. Sproul. Reformation Trust Publishing. 120 pages. 2021
I read this book when it was first published in 2002, and again recently when it was republished. As he did in all of his teaching, in this book Dr. Sproul takes difficult theological topics and presents them in a manner in which the average person in the pew can understand.
He tells us that the Bible uses the term salvation in many ways. The common thread that is found in the many uses is that, at root, salvation means rescue or deliverance from some calamity or catastrophe. The ultimate salvation that any human being can ever experience is rescue from the wrath that is to come. He goes on to say that he believes that the greatest point of unbelief in our culture and in our church today is an unbelief in the wrath of God and in His certain promise of judgment for the human race. What every human being needs to be saved from is God, and Jesus is the Savior who saves us from the wrath that
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Sproul indicates that the question “Are you saved?” is the most important issue any person will ever face. What are we saved from? Sproul tells us that the glory of the gospel is that the One from whom we need to be saved is the very One who saves us. God in saving us saves us from Himself.
Sproul tells us that the greatest and most frequent error that human beings make is the assumption that they are going to survive the judgment of a holy God on the basis of their own performance. But our ability to pay the debt we owe to God is beyond the realm of possibility. There exists an estrangement between God and man, and reconciliation is necessary. It is into this situation of estrangement, of brokenness, that Christ comes as Mediator. God demands that justice be done. The price must be paid. Jesus, as the Servant, offers Himself in payment to the Father for us.
Sproul writes that what is often overlooked in our justification is that there is a double transaction that takes place. First the weight of our guilt is transferred to Christ. Second, Christ’s righteousness is transferred to our account. The wonderful news of the gospel is that the minute we embrace Jesus Christ, all that Christ has done is applied to us.
Ultimately, Sproul tells us that we are saved by God, from God, for God.
Among the topics addressed in this short book are sin, expiation and propitiation, justification, total depravity and adoption.
Below are a few of my favorite quotes from the book:
- For the unbeliever, the day of the Lord is a day of darkness, with no light in it. For the Christian, the day of the Lord is a day of light, with no darkness in it.
- We sin because we are sinners. We are not sinners because we sin.
- Take away the cross as an atoning act, and you take away Christianity.
- Mercy and grace are things that are never deserved. They cannot be deserved. If they were deserved, they would be justice and not mercy.
- Expiation is what Christ does on the cross. The result of Christ’s work of expiation is that God is propitiated. And the bottom-line result is that we are then reconciled.
- The whole point of the cross is that if Jesus was going to bear our sins and the sanctions of the covenant, then He had to experience the fullness of the curse. He had to experience utter and complete forsakenness by the Father.
- If we are not willing to participate in the humiliation of Christ, we will never participate in the exaltation of Christ. But if we are willing to participate in the shame of Christ, we will also participate in the glory of Christ.
- Study, Savor and Share Scripture: Becoming What We Behold. My wife Tammy recently published a book about HOW to study the Bible. The book is available on Amazon in both a Kindle and paperback edition. She writes “Maybe you’ve read the Bible but want to dig deeper and know God and know yourself better. Throughout the book I use the analogy of making a quilt to show how the Bible is telling one big story about what God is doing in the world through Christ. Quilting takes much patience and precision, just like studying the Bible, but the end result is well worth it.”
- A Review of Christianity and Wokeness by Owen Strachan. Bill Muehlenberg reviews Owen Strachan’s book Christianity and Wokeness. He writes “Strachan is to be praised for bringing us back to where we always should be: back to God and his Word, and not relying on trendy lefty social theories and ideologies that always fail and cause more harm than good.”
- Introducing the ESV Bible Read by Kristyn Getty. “The Bible is made up of 66 books that tell the magnificent story of God’s redemptive work in Christ. In this new audio recording of the full Bible, that story comes alive in a fresh way through the voice of award-winning modern hymn writer Kristyn Getty. From Genesis to Revelation, this word-for-word reading of the ESV Bible text is a great way to encounter God’s word and the story of salvation on any phone, tablet, or computer.” This is now available to stream for free on ESV.org or the ESV Bible app on iOs and Android.
BOOK CLUB – Won’t you read along with us?
The providence of God is his purposeful sovereignty by which he will be completely successful in the achievement of his ultimate goal for the universe. God’s providence carries his plans into action, guides all things toward his ultimate goal, and leads to the final consummation.
John Piper draws on a lifetime of theological reflection, biblical study, and practical ministry to lead readers on a stunning tour of the sightings of God’s providence—from Genesis to Revelation—to discover the all-encompassing reality of God’s purposeful sovereignty over all of creation and all of history.
Exploring the goal, nature, and extent of God’s purposes for the world, Piper offers an invitation to know the God who holds all things in his hands yet remains intimately involved in the lives of his people.
You can download the PDF of the book free from Desiring God.
Watch this six-minute video as John Piper talks about the book, and this interview with Dr. Joe Rigney of Bethlehem College & Seminary.
This week we look at Chapter 17 Earth, Water, Wind, Plants, and Animals. Here are a few takeaways from the chapter:
- All natural processes in the earth, such as earthquakes, are in God’s control, for if God causes them, he also can stop them.
- There is no reason to think that Jesus, from his throne in heaven today, cannot command the waves the way he did when he was here.
- Nothing in nature happens without God’s wise and just and gracious providence.
- The world and even thousands of Christians give no praise and thanks to God for millions of daily, life-sustaining providences because they do not see the world as the theater of God’s wonders.