|RC Sproul (Ligonier Ministries)
R.C. Sproul was the first theologian I ever read. I remember as a young teenager—around the age of 14—I picked up my father’s copy of Knowing Scripture by Dr. Sproul. My father and I had begun having conversations about God and the Bible and theology at this time, and I remember my convictions about certain truths being challenged. My entire way of looking at things began to change. As we talked, I would be pushed to the Scriptures to try to make sense of what we were discussing.
However, at this time—I must confess—I did not have much skill in rightly dividing the Word of truth. I needed help. So I rummaged around my dad’s library and found Knowing Scripture. I devoured the book. I think I read the entire book in two sittings. To this day, I still use the basic principles I learned in that book in reading the Bible.
So the first thing I learned from Dr. Sproul is biblical exegesis. Simply put, I learned to draw out (ex) of Scripture what is really there, and not put into Scripture what isn’t there. I learned that the aim of the interpreter is to guide (gesis) out of the text the intended meaning of the author.
The second thing I learned from Dr. Sproul is God’s sovereignty in salvation. Having gobbled up Knowing Scripture, I quickly turned to another book on my dad’s shelf from R.C. Sproul: Chosen by God. The absolute supremacy of God portrayed in that book just shattered my entire worldview.
Growing up I knew that I was supposed to do everything for the glory of God; I didn’t realize that God does everything for the glory of God. When God shows his love, he receives glory (Eph. 1:4-6). When God shows his mercy, he receives glory (Rom. 9:23). When God shows his justice, he receives glory (Rom. 3:5-7). When God shows his wrath, he receives glory (Rom. 9:22). Everything God does, he does for his glory.
It had never dawned on me that God is glorified in the damnation of unrepentant sinners. It had never dawned on me that God was in no way obligated to be merciful to me (Rom. 9:16). It had never dawned on me that God would create someone like Pharaoh just to make known his power in destroying him (Rom. 9:17).
You see, I had always thought God saved me because of me—because of who I am. I had it all wrong. God didn’t save me because of me; God saved me despite me. I am a sinner who deserves nothing short of eternal judgment. There is nothing good in me that would cause God to save me. I didn’t make myself a vessel of mercy. I am not in any way more qualified to receive mercy than anyone else. God could have given me
justice—but instead, he showed me mercy.
The reason why God saved me has nothing to do with me; it has everything to do with God. He did it for his glory—to show the riches of his grace (Eph. 1:7-14). I was created to make God look great. It’s not about me; it’s all about the glory of God.
That’s what R.C. Sproul taught me. And for that, I am eternally grateful to God.
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