R.C. Sproul: The Holiness of God; Chosen by God; Pleasing God; — THREE VOLUMES IN ONE; Classic Teachings on the Nature of God
Review & comments by Ken Pullen
ACP — A Crooked Path
Friday, February 14th, 2020
My lovely, loving, thoughtful wife, a gift of and from God the Father in my life, bought me a book. She knows my love of books. She went into my office one day when I was out running errands and perused the bookshelves of my modest library of Christian writings. Knowing some of the Christian writers I gravitate to she found an R.C. Sproul book I do not have in my collection and have never read. I was unaware the book even existed.
She bought the book for me and gave me it as a gift.
After reading every word on the outside and interior of the dustjacket, and gently breaking the hardback book in as one ought to, I read all the table of contents and such, as I normally do, and then dove into chapter one, with the heading The Holy Grail.
I do not know if you’re familiar with R.C. Sproul or not. If so, please bear with me as I am going to include here for those who might not be the very small and inadequate bio information from the back dustjacket cover that publishers provide about authors:
DR. R. C. SPROUL (1939 – 2017), author of more than sixty-five books, general editor of The Reformation Study Bible, and founder of Ligonier Ministries, committed his life to clearly communicating deep, practical truths from God’s Word. He also served as senior minister of preaching and teaching at Saint Andrews Chapel in Sanford, Florida. Ligonier Ministries, home of the daily broadcast Renewing Your Mind with R. C. Sproul, is an international multimedia ministry near Orlando, Florida.
I am going to transcribe a passage from the first chapter of this book and then I am asking all who are now reading this to fervently pray upon seeking this book out. Either buying it, or attempting to find it in a library to borrow, and then read every word. As a help in our walk, our study of God’s Word, our understanding and growing closer, walking closer to God our Father. Our pursuit of God as Father, our pursuit in understanding, knowing what holiness is and being holy as and for He is holy;
“The one concept, the central idea I kept meeting in Scripture, was the idea that God is holy. The word was foreign to me. I wasn’t sure what it meant. I made the question a matter of diligent and persistent search. Today I am still absorbed with the question of the holiness of God. I am convinced that it is one of the most important ideas that a Christian can ever grapple with. It is basic to our whole understanding of God and of Christianity.
The idea of holiness is so central to biblical teaching that it is said of God, “Holy is his name” (Luke 1:49). His name is holy because He is holy. He is not always treated with holy reverence. His name is tramped through the dirt of this world. It functions as a curse word, a platform for the obscene. That the world has little respect for God is vividly seen by the way the world regards His name. No honor. No reverence. No awe before Him.
If I were to ask a group of Christians what the top priority of the church is, I am sure I would get a wide variety of answers. Some would say evangelism, others social action, and still others spiritual nurture. But I have yet to hear anyone talk about what Jesus’ priorities were.
What is the first petition of the Lord’s Prayer? Jesus said, “This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven…'” (Matthew 6:9). The first line of the prayer is not a petition. It is a form of personal address. The prayer continues: “hallowed be your name, your kingdom come” (Matthew 6-9-10). We often confuse the words “hallowed be your name” with part of the address, as if the words were “hallowed is your name.” In that case the words would merely be an ascription of praise to God. But that is not how Jesus said it. He uttered it as a petition, as the first petition. We should be praying that God’s name be hallowed, that God be regarded as holy.
There is a kind of sequence within the prayer. God’s kingdom will never come where His name is not considered holy. His will is not done on earth as it is in heaven if His name is desecrated here. In heaven the name of God is holy. It is breathed by angels in sacred hush. Heaven is a place where reverence for God is total. It is foolish to look for the kingdom anywhere God is not revered.
How we understand the person and character of God the Father affects every aspect of our lives. It affects far more than what we normally call the “religious” aspects of our lives. If God is the Creator of the entire universe, then it must follow that He is the Lord of the whole universe. No part of the world is outside of His lordship. That means that no part of my life must be outside of His lordship. His holy character has something to say about economics, politics, athletics, romance — everything with which we are involved.
God is inescapable. There is no place we can hide from Him. Not only does He penetrate every aspect of our lives, but He penetrates it in His majestic holiness. Therefore we must seek to understand what the holy is. We dare not seek to avoid it. There can be no worship, no spiritual growth, no true obedience without it. It defines our goal as Christians. God has declared, “Be holy, because I am holy” (Leviticus 11:44).
To reach that goal, we must understand what holiness is.”
If this wee bit does not whet ones appetite to ingest more of this wonderful book I cannot fathom why not.
We ought not be consumed in all the distractions in this life, of this world, even ones we attempt to justify as being faith-based, serving the Lord, unless the pursuit of God the Father, God as our Father, the pursuit of holiness first and foremost is what our lives are founded upon. For all else would be for naught, as dross unless we have the reverence, the awe, the humbleness and understanding that first and foremost is the pursuit of God and being holy, because He is holy…