Sunday, July 12, 2009

Believing God by R. C. Sproul Jr.

R. C. Sproul Jr. says failing to believe God’s promises is serious. “When we fail to believe His promises, we fail to believe that He is faithful.” R. C. Jr. wrote Believing God to encourage Christians to take God at His word.
R. C. Jr. has chosen to write about twelve of God’s promises. He does a great job of placing each of these promises in context and criticizing those who use these promises in a manner God never intended.
The first promise R. C. Jr. looks at is that God will equip us (2 Tim. 3:16). “The trouble is that we don’t believe it.” He encourages readers to return to the oldest Christian habit of reading, understanding and believing the Word of God.
He next looks at the promise of God’s love (1 John 3:1). Our calling, for the rest of our lives, is to get our hearts and minds around the staggering reality that if we are in Christ, God truly, truly loves us.
We are reminded that God has promised forgiveness of our sins (1 John 1:9) and wisdom for the asking (James 1:5). Psalm 127 promises that children are a blessing. (R. C. Jr. does not address the issue of Paul’s New Testament suggestion that Christians not marry in 1 Cor. 7:25ff. He also seems to be rather thoughtless with regard to those who have no children.)
The chapter on Psalm 37:4 is worth the price of the book. God promises that we will receive the desires of our heart if we delight in the Lord. R. C. Jr. has some fun with how difficult it is for Reformed people to “delight” in God. He reminds the stiff Calvinists that the Westminster Catechism reminds Christians we were made to enjoy God. When we delight ourselves in the Lord we do receive the desires of our heart for we desire Him. God is not only the promise keeper but is Himself the promise.
God has promised to open the windows of heaven in Mal. 3:10. R. C. Jr. addresses the “health and wealth” preachers and the damage they have caused. He helps the reader understand why Malachi asserted this promise. The Israelites doubted God and their worship was mere habit and not heart felt. He also notes that this passage in Malachi reflects a pattern of God’s behavior. God is not a celestial slot machine.
With the same care R. C. Jr. looks at the promise of casting mountains into the sea (Mark 11:22-24), the promise that all things work together (Rom. 8:28), that Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33), that the good work will be completed (Phil.1:6), and that we shall be like Him (1 John 3:2).
R. C. Jr. says he wrote this book because, “I want to see the people of God grow in grace and wisdom.” The result of his writing is a great book to use for personal devotion or as a group study. His work presents a challenge to every Christian to take God at His word.
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