R.C. Sproul in Arabic

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Sound Doctrine Foundational to Sound Living — R.C. Sproul


R.C. Sproul,

God…commands us to progress in doctrinal understanding. Let us follow the apostle Paul’s exhortation to “put away childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:11) so that we might press forward to the goal of Christian understanding. In evil we are to be babes, but in understanding we seek mature adulthood (1 Corinthians 14:20). We don’t do this to become arrogant in our knowledge, but that we might grow in grace. Mature understanding is the foundation for mature living.

Growing in the knowledge of God is a great joy and privilege. It is a matter of delight for us. Yet it is more than a privilege; it is also a duty. God commands us to grow up into the fullness of Christ. Consider the Shema of Old Testament Israel:

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)

At the heart of this sacred command is the solemn duty of learning the law of God, of mastering His revelation. It is by no means a casual or cavalier enterprise. To master God’s Word is to be deeply immersed in the study of theology. . . .

. . . .It is possible to have a sound theology without having a sound life. But we cannot have a sound life without having a sound theology. In this sense, theology must never be viewed as an abstract science. It is a matter of life and death, even eternal life and eternal death.

R.C. Sproul, Essential Truths of the Christian Faith (Wheaton: Tyndale, 1992), introduction, xx–xxi

“Twilight of the Idols” by R.C. Sproul


Great article by R.C. Sproul,

The motto of the United States is e pluribus unum. However, since the rise of the ideology of pluralism, the real Unum of that motto has been ripped from its foundation. What drives pluralism is the philosophical antecedent of relativism. All truth is relative; therefore, no one idea or source can be seen as having any kind of supremacy. Built into our law system is the idea of the equal toleration under the law of all religions. It is a short step in people’s thinking from equal toleration under the law to equal validity. The principle that all religions should be treated equally under the law and have equal rights does not carry with it the necessary inference that therefore all religions are valid. Even a cursory, comparative examination of the world’s religions reveals points of radical contradiction among them, and unless one is prepared to affirm the equal truth of contradictories, one must not be able to embrace this fallacious assumption….[read entire article at the Ligonier homepage]

“The Bread of Life” from “Knowing Christ: The I AM Sayings of Jesus” — R.C. Sproul [VIDEO]

This is excellent!

“Choosing My Religion” and other $5.00 Friday (5/27/2011) Specials at Ligonier.

Choosing My Religion is an excellent teaching series by R.C. Sproul, and if you purchase it today (here) it will set you back only $8 bucks (not exactly $5.00, but still a great price!) I used the VHS series (I know, I know…it was in the 1990’s) to teach a high school and college age class at church, and while directed at young adults, any age will benefit from it.

This from Ligonier: “In a world engulfed with false prophesies and theories, we would be mistaken to think our students are not burdened by them. In Choosing My Religion, Dr. R.C. Sproul addresses the promises that relativism and rebellion make but cannot keep.

This series includes interviews with students and young adults, which reveal convictions they hold. Dr. Sproul responds to these views with biblical truth. Choosing My Religion benefits the young person by exposing false philosophies and redirecting them to the truths of the Gospel.”

View today’s other specials here.

“Christianity Has No Time For Pluralism” — R.C. Sproul

“If all religions are equally good, then one stands out as terribly bad, and that is Christianity, because Christianity has no time for pluralism. It sees one way only. Now that is downright un-American. Sometimes you have to make a decision where your allegiance is going to be—with the secular culture or with the One whom God sent into the world as your Redeemer” (R. C. Sproul, Acts [Crossway: 2010], 318)

(RT: Dan Phillips)

R.C. Sproul: On The Problem of an Anti-Intellectual, Politically-Correct “Christianity”


“We live in what may be the most anti-intellectual period in the history of Western civilization. We are not necessarily anti-academic, anti-technological, or anti-scientific. The accent is against the intellect itself. Secular culture has embraced a kind of impressionism that threatens to turn all our brains into mush, and the evangelical world has followed suit, developing an allergy to all things intellectual.

The kind of debate waged between Luther and Erasmus or Edwards and Chubb would be unacceptable today. Their reasoning was too acute, their polemics too acerbic, their critiques too rapier-like for our modern comfort zones. Debates, if they are held today, are won by charm and a benign smile rather than by lucid argument. Satire is almost extinct, the verbal gladiators who used it having perished with the fathers. To be sure, William Buckley persists, but he is an anachronism, a refurbished antique whose style is so uncommon that some mistake him for something new.” (excerpted from: Burning Hearts Are Not Nourished by Empty Heads, R.C. Sproul [read entire article here])

Be Sure To Read:
“Read the Gospels: Jesus Christ is not Politically Correct” by John MacArthur

“Receiving Joy and Strength” by R.C. Sproul

“Receiving Joy and Strength”

R.C. Sproul

There is still another vital aspect to the “why” of Jesus’ departure. He said, “If I do not go away, the Helper (Paraclete) will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.” Jesus’ departure was tied to Pentecost. There is no Pentecost without ascension. As the invested King of kings, Jesus had the authority together with the Father to send His Holy Spirit in a new and powerful way upon the church. Jesus spoke of a certain necessity of His leaving in order for the Spirit to come. Herein was another great advantage. He declared, “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost has come upon you” (Acts 1:8, KJV).

Two remarkable things happened to the disciples after Jesus departed. The first is that they “returned to Jerusalem with great joy” (Luke 24:52). They were not despondent over the departure of Jesus. Obviously they finally understood why He was leaving. They understood what, for the most part, the church since then has failed to understand. We live as if it would not have been better for Jesus to leave.

The second obvious change in the lives of the disciples was in their spiritual strength. After Pentecost, they were different people. No longer did they flee like sheep without a shepherd. Instead, they turned the world upside down. They turned the world upside down because they fully understood two simple things: the “where” and the “why” of Jesus’ departure.

Coram Deo: Great joy and spiritual strength are two of the benefits of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Let Him release these benefits in your life today.

Acts 4:31: “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.”

Acts 4:33: “And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.”

Acts 4:29: “Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word.”
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From Ligonier Ministries, the teaching fellowship of R.C. Sproul. All rights reserved. Website: www.ligonier.org | Phone: 1-800-435-4343
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“Awaiting the City of God” by R.C. Sproul

“Awaiting the City of God”

R.C. Sproul

Dr. R.C. Sproul

Evangelical Christians love America. Some see in her the last hope of creating a Christian nation. But it is not a Christian nation. It is pagan to the core. It is in danger of becoming, if it is not already, the new “Evil Empire.” The Mayflower Compact is a museum piece, a relic of a forgotten era. “In God We Trust” is now a lie.

Yes, we must always work for social reform. Yes, we must be “profane” in Martin Luther’s sense of going out of the temple and into the world. We do not despise the country of our birth. But in what do we invest our hope? The state is not God. The nation is not the Promised Land. The president is not our King. The Congress is not our Savior. Our welfare can never be found in the city of man. The federal government is not sovereign. We live—in every age and in every generation—by the rivers of Babylon. We need to understand that clearly. We must learn how to sing the Lord’s song in a strange and foreign land.

America will fall. The United States will inevitably disintegrate. The Stars and Stripes will bleed. The White House will turn to rubble. That is certain. We stand like Augustine before the sea. We pray that God will spare our nation. If He chooses not to, we ask for the grace to accept its demise. In either case, we look to Him who is our King and to heaven, which is our home. We await the city of God, the heavenly Jerusalem, whose builder and maker is God.

Coram Deo: Are you looking to your King and to your eternal destiny, despite the circumstances around you? Keep your focus on the heavenly Jerusalem, whose builder and maker is God.

1 Corinthians 15:50: “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.”

John 3:5: “Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.’”

2 Peter 1:11: “An entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
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From Ligonier Ministries, the teaching fellowship of R.C. Sproul. All rights reserved. Website: www.ligonier.org | Phone: 1-800-435-4343 www.ligonier.org

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“Christian Loses His Burden” by R.C. Sproul

“Christian Loses His Burden”

by R.C. Sproul

John Bunyan

“As a seminary student, I remember my favorite professor often setting forth arguments for particular theological positions. On many occasions, as these debates proceeded, the professor stopped in mid-sentence, paused, looked at his students and said, “I sense that you do not feel the weight of this argument.” His regular reference to the “weight” of arguments was an interesting metaphor for me. Arguments that we do not take seriously are those that we take lightly. The whole idea of weight or weightiness is one that is found throughout the Bible. In the first instance, the glory of God is described in terms of His inherent and eternal weightiness. Those who take God lightly are those who have no regard for His glory.

One of the most important areas in which the whole idea of weight comes to bear in the New Testament has to do with the Law. In Paul’s letter to the Romans, in chapter 3, verse 9, after he has set forth the unrighteousness of both Jew and Gentile, he makes the comment, “What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin” (NKJV). Again in verse 19 of the same chapter, the apostle writes, “Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (NKJV).

In our day, the weightiness of the Gospel itself has been eclipsed. I doubt if there’s a period in the history of the church in which professing evangelicals have been as ignorant of the elements of the biblical Gospel as they are today.

There is a stark contrast between the second best-seller in the history of the English language, second only to the Bible, namely, John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, and the runaway best-seller of the last two years, The Purpose Driven Life. In Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, we see set forth in masterful literary style the depths and the riches of the biblical Gospel. When we compare it to The Purpose Driven Life, we see a book in which it is difficult to find a full explanation of the biblical Gospel. Justification, the relief from the burden of sin that weighs down the soul, is all but absent in the setting forth of a new and different gospel of achieving or discovering purpose in one’s life. One of the leaders of the recent emerging church movement boasts that he has not mentioned the word “sin” in the last ten years of his preaching. He wants to make sure that his people will not feel crushed by guilt or by a loss of their self-esteem. When the acute awareness of guilt is removed from the conscience, there is no sense of the burden of sin. There is no sense of being under the crushing weight of the law of God that bears down upon our souls relentlessly.

However, if we turn our attention to the insights of Bunyan set forth in the Christian classic Pilgrim’s Progress, we see a story that focuses on the groaning pressure of a man who is weighed down to the depths of his soul with a burden of which he is unable to rid himself. It is like the apostle Paul’s description in Romans 7 of the body of death that crushes the spirit. In the very first paragraph on the first page of Pilgrim’s Progress, Bunyan pens these lines:

“As I walked through the wilderness of this world, I lighted on a certain place, where was a den; and I laid me down in that place to sleep: and as I slept I dreamed a dream. I dreamed, and behold I saw a man clothed with rags, standing in a certain place, with his face from his own house, a book in his hand, and a great burden upon his back. I looked, and saw him open the book, and read therein; and as he read, he wept and trembled: and not being able longer to contain, he brake out with a lamentable cry; saying, ‘What shall I do?’”

When preachers announce from their pulpits that God loves people unconditionally, there is hardly any reason for the hearer to feel any burden or cry out with any lament, saying, “What shall I do?” If indeed God loves us unconditionally and requires nothing of us, then obviously there is no need for us to do anything. But if God has judged us according to the righteousness of His perfect Law and has called the whole world before His tribunal to announce that we are all guilty, that none of us is righteous, that none of us seeks after God, that there is no fear of God before our eyes, that we are in the meantime, before the appointed day of judgment, treasuring up wrath against the day of wrath, then anybody in his right mind (and even those in their wrong mind) would have enough sense to cry out the same lamentation, “What shall I do?” The story of Christian is the story of a man who is burdened by the weight of sin. His conscience was smitten by the Law, but where the Law is eliminated in the church, no one needs to fear divine judgment. Without the Law there is no knowledge of sin, and without a knowledge of sin, there is no sense of burden. The pilgrim knew the Law, he knew his sin, and he realized he had a burden on his back that he could not, with all of his effort and his greatest strivings, ever remove. His redemption must come from outside of himself. He needed a righteousness not his own. He needed to exchange that weighty sack of sin on his back for an alien righteousness acceptable in the sight of God. For the pilgrim there was only one place to find that righteousness, at the foot of the cross. The crucial moment in Christian’s life is when he comes to the cross. We read the description: “He ran thus till he came to a place somewhat ascending; and upon that place stood a cross, and little below in the bottom, a sepulchre. So I saw in my dream, that just as Christian came up with the cross, his burden loosed from off his shoulders, and fell from off his back; and began to tumble, and so continued to do so until it came to the mouth of the sepulchre, where it fell in, and I saw it no more.”

Shortly thereafter, Christian sang his song of deliverance: “Thus far did I come laden with my sin, nor could aught ease the grief that I was in, till I came hither. What a place is this! Must here be the beginning of my bliss? Must here the burden fall from off my back? Must here the strings that bound it to me, crack? Blessed cross! Blessed sepulchre! Blessed rather be the Man that there was put to shame for me.”

This is the description of how salvation comes. It comes as a result of the atoning work of Christ and the exchange of our sin from our backs to His, as well as the cloak of His righteousness being transferred from His account to ours. Anything that eliminates this double exchange, this double imputation of sin and righteousness, falls short of the biblical Gospel. It’s time once more for the Christian community to follow the Pilgrim’s Progress.”

We Recommend
Faith and Works Devotional
In the Dungeon of Giant Despair Article by Andrew McGowan
The Means of Salvation Devotional

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From Ligonier Ministries and R.C. Sproul. © Tabletalk magazine. Website: www.ligonier.org/tabletalk. Email: tabletalk@ligonier.org. Toll free: 1-800-435-4343. www.ligonier.org
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John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul, Alistair Begg, and Michael Horton Weigh In On Manhattan Declaration

The Manhattan Declaration was released a year ago today. Today, it is once again being promoted. It was put forth as “A Call of Christian Conscience.” Below are the links to four balanced and excellent statements, on why these men, indeed all Christians, should still refuse to sign it.

*These statements were written a year ago when the document was first released.

• R.C. Sproul

• John MacArthur

• Alistair Begg

• Michael Horton

“Asking the Most Important Question” — R.C. Sproul

R.C. Sproul

Dr. R.C. Sproul

Many believe that assurance of eternal salvation is neither possible nor even to be sought. To claim such assurance is considered a mask of supreme arrogance, the nadir of self-conceit.

Yet if God declares that it is possible to have full assurance of salvation and even commands that we seek after it, it would be supremely arrogant for one to deny or neglect it.

In fact, God does command us to seek certainty about our salvation: “Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall” (2 Peter 1:10, NIV).

This command admits of no justifiable neglect. It addresses a crucial matter. The question “Am I saved?” is one of the most important questions I can ever ask myself. I need to know the answer. I must know the answer. This is not a trifle.

Without the assurance of salvation, the Christian life is unstable. It is vulnerable to the debilitating rigors of mood changes and allows the wolf of heresy to camp on the doorstep.

Progress in sanctification requires a firm foundation in faith. Without it, the foundation crumbles.

Coram Deo: Ask God to cement the foundation of your faith with divine assurance of your salvation.

2 Peter 1:10: “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble.”

Ephesians 2:4-5: “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).”

1 Peter 1:5: “[We] are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
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From Ligonier Ministries, the teaching fellowship of R.C. Sproul. All rights reserved. Website: www.ligonier.org | Phone: 1-800-435-4343
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“God’s Justice and Election” by R.C. Sproul

“God’s Justice and Election”

by R.C. Sproul

Dr. R.C. Sproul

“What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.'” [Romans 9:14-15]

We can distinguish between injustice and “nonjustice.” Let us use the term nonjustice to mean everything that is outside the circle of what justice is. Injustice means what is contrary or opposed to justice. Injustice is one form of nonjustice, but mercy is also a form of nonjustice. God is not unjust when he saves us in spite of our sins. He has not done an injustice. But he has not given us the justice we deserve, either. He has chosen to be nonjustly merciful to us.

People often have problems with the doctrine of predestination because they think it makes God unfair. It does not seem fair for God to choose some and reject others. It seems fairer to say that God saves those who choose Him, and rejects those who reject Him.

But this argument is based on an inadequate view of human depravity. Left to ourselves, none of us would ever chose God. As we have seen in previous studies, the Bible says that we are dead in sin. How can a dead person do anything, let alone choose God? The Bible tells us that the desires of our hearts are only wicked continually (Gen. 6:5; Jer 17:9), so that we never, ever would choose God on our own. Jesus said, that unless we are born again first, we cannot see, let alone enter, the kingdom of God (John 3:3). Jesus said that none of us is able to come to him unless the Father acts first to draw us (John 6:44).

If God did not act first, no one would be saved. The divine initiative is the only possible principle that can account for any person coming to Jesus Christ. God has chosen to save some people and bypass others. We don’t know the reason for this, but he does act in this way. It is his decision, based on his nature, character, and plan. We cannot understand his reasons, but we can be grateful that he chose to save us.
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(R.C. Sproul, Before the Face of God: a daily guide for living from the book of Romans: Book 1 [Grand Rapids/Orlando: Baker Book House/Ligonier Ministries, 1992], pp. 332-333)
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John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul, And Tabletalk On N.T. Wright.

This compiles different pastors and theologians critiquing N.T. Wright, and his New Perspective on Paul. Reading these essays makes clear that N.T. Wright is teaching a false gospel.

John MacArthur’s – (link here)

Phil Johnson – (link here)

R.C. Sproul and a host of other pastors and theologians – (link here)

“Justification by Death?” by R.C. Sproul

“Justification by Death?”

by R.C. Sproul

In the sixteenth century, Christendom underwent one of the most extensive and serious schisms in its history. The chief article that caused the controversy to end in division was the doctrine of justification by faith alone. The Protestant Reformation was not a tempest in a teapot. The issue that divided the Roman Catholics from the Protestant Reformers was not a secondary or tertiary doctrine. The dispute focused on the essence of the gospel. Some have argued that sola fide (faith alone) is central to the Christian faith but not essential. I contend, however, that it is essential to the gospel in that, without sola fide, we do not have the gospel. And without the gospel, we have no salvation.

One would think after so many centuries of dissemination of the doctrine of justification by faith alone, particularly in Protestant countries, that the doctrine would be firmly entrenched in the minds of Christian people. But such is not the case. Those who hold to justification by faith alone are clearly in a minority. More popular views are the doctrines of justification by works and justification by a combination of faith and works. These really reflect not so much Christian views of the matter as a Muslim one. In the Muslim view, a person’s eternal destiny is determined by the scales of justice. If one’s good works outweigh the bad deeds, then the person goes to heaven. If the bad deeds outweigh the good deeds, the person goes to hell. This view is held by many professing Christians, who still entertain the idea that they can gain entrance into heaven and into the kingdom of God by living a good life. As long as they refrain from egregious sins such as murder, grand theft, or adultery, they think they have kept their moral slates clean enough to get them past the gates of judgment.

As fallacious as that view is, there is a view even more insidious in its subtlety and thus more pervasive — the cultural view of justification that is widely held in the West. That doctrine is the doctrine of justification by death. It is an implicit universalism that assumes everyone goes to heaven when he or she dies. Perhaps the most rank evildoers, such as Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin, may not make it, but the average person certainly has nothing to worry about.

I was informed of how pervasive this doctrine is when I asked my son, when he was a child, the second diagnostic question made popular by Evangelism Explosion. I asked him: “If you were to die tonight and God were to say to you, why should I let you into My heaven, what would you say?” His eyes lit up and he looked at me with a shocked expression as if the question I had just proffered was the most stupid he had ever heard. With a simple shrug, he said, “Well, I would say He should let me in because I’m dead.” In other words, “Doesn’t everyone who dies enter into God’s redeeming presence?” Here was a son of a father who was by profession a theologian — a Reformed theologian — who not only had failed to grasp the doctrine of justification by faith alone but wasn’t even sidelined by a doctrine of justification by works. He was content to rest on his assumption of justification by death.

Of course, my young son’s confession of faith, or the lack thereof, is by no means an isolated instance in our culture. Nothing transforms sinners into valorous saints more miraculously or more frequently than death. Go to the funeral of the most wicked sinner you know and you will hear a eulogy that guarantees that person’s entrance into the kingdom of God.

What drives this pervasive belief in justification by death? I think there are several factors. One is a misinformed idea of the character of God. We are told ad nauseum that God loves everyone unconditionally. The necessary inference that people draw from that is simple: If God loves me unconditionally, then there are no conditions that I must meet in order to enter into heavenly bliss. In a sense, God, if He is loving, is obligated to give me eternal life.

The second driving factor is a widespread denial of hell. The whole concept of hell is so ghastly and difficult even to comprehend that we have a visceral response of denial to it. We cannot imagine any of our loved ones ever being assigned to such a dreadful place. We also find in our culture a rejection of the whole idea of a final judgment. Never mind that our Lord taught again and again that each one of us will stand before God and will be held accountable for his or her sins — to the extent that even every idle word we speak will be brought into judgment. No one escapes the judgment of God. We all must stand before that final tribunal and be judged not on a curve, not according to how we stack up against other people in this world, but how we stand according to God’s standard of righteousness, a standard that none of us will ever reach.

The Bible speaks of two ways in which people die. There are those who die in faith and, because of that faith, are linked to the atoning work of Christ and receive the benefits of His atoning work, including entrance into His kingdom. The other way that the Bible speaks of dying is dying in sin. Those who die in sin are those who die in a state of impenitence. Such people have never bowed the knee to the living God and cried out from their helplessness for His grace. Instead of clinging to the cross and coming with nothing in our hands, it is our nature as fallen creatures to try to bring something in our hands that will pay the price that needs to be paid for our redemption. This is the height or, perhaps, the nadir of folly. The only thing we can be sure of is that death will give us judgment. The question is, do we have that faith by which we are linked to the righteousness of Christ and all the benefits of His ministry on our behalf, or will we stand alone at that judgment bar of Christ?
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From Ligonier Ministries and R.C. Sproul. © Tabletalk magazine. Website: www.ligonier.org/tabletalk. Email: tabletalk@ligonier.org. Toll free: 1-800-435-4343. www.ligonier.org

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“The Supremacy of Christ” by R.C. Sproul

“The Supremacy of Christ”

by R.C. Sproul

I wonder if it is proper to have a “favorite” book of the Bible. The idea scratches like fingernails on a chalk-board. What would induce us to prefer one portion of the Word of God to another? It would seem that to hear God say anything would be such a delight to the soul that every word that proceeds from His mouth would excite the soul to the same degree. Perhaps when we reach glory, our delight in Him and in His Word will be such that it will know no comparative degrees.

In the meantime we are left with our varied inclinations. When I think of “favorite” books of the Bible, I always place Hebrews near the very top. Why? In the first instance, this book masterfully connects the Old Testament and the New Testament. What Augustine said is true: “The New is in the Old concealed, and the Old is in the New revealed.” The bridge between the two is Hebrews.

Hebrews is a book of comparisons and contrasts. The New Covenant is seen against the backdrop of the Old. The New is seen as being better. “Better” is the operative word. The New Covenant is better because it is more inclusive (it includes Gentiles); it has a better Mediator; a better High Priest; a better King; and a better revelation of God.

What the New Covenant has that the Old Covenant lacked is the fulfillment of the promised Messiah. In a word, we have Jesus — the Word made flesh.

Indeed, as the author of Hebrews (whom I believe was Paul, possibly through an amanuensis) describes the person and work of Jesus, the comparative quickly changes to the superlative. It is not enough to see Jesus as simply being “better” than what came before. He is more than better; He is the best.

In this regard, Hebrews focuses on the supremacy of Christ. To speak of “supremacy” is to speak of that which is “above” or “over” others. It reaches the level of the “super.” In our language it refers to that which (or who) is greatest in power, authority, or rank. It is also used to describe that which (or who) is greatest in importance, significance, character, or achievement — the “ultimate.”

In all these areas of consideration, Jesus ranks as the ultimate or supreme — supreme in power, rank, glory, authority, importance, etc.

The high Christology of Hebrews is set against the background of the Old Testament. Hebrews begins with the attestation of Christ as the supreme revelation of God: “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power…” (Heb. 1:1–3a NKJV).

Here the supremacy of Christ is His preeminence over the Old Testament prophets. Those prophets spoke the Word of God — but Christ is the Word of God. He is not merely a prophet in a long line of prophets. He is the Prophet par excellence. This supreme revelation comes from Him, the One who is more than a prophet — the very Son of God. In this opening passage of Hebrews there is enough weighty Christology to occupy the most astute theologians for their entire lives without exhausting its richness. Here Christ is seen as the Creator of the world and the One who upholds it by His power. He is the Creator of all things and the Heir of all things. He is the very brightness of the glory of God. Again, it is not enough to say that He is the supreme reflection of divine glory. Nay, He is the brightness of that glory. He is the express image of God’s person, the one who bears the imago dei supremely.

Next, Hebrews sets forth the contrast between the person and function of angels to Jesus. No angel rises to the level of the only begotten Son of God. Angels are not to be worshiped — yet the angels are commanded to worship Christ. The Kingdom is not given to angels; it is given to Christ who alone is seated at the right hand of God the Father in the position of cosmic authority. In every way Christ has supremacy over the angels and is not to be confused as being one of them.

Then the author of Hebrews details the supremacy of Christ over Moses. Surely Moses is the most exalted person of the Old Testament in his role of Mediator of the Law. We read, “Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus, who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house. For this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who built the house has more honor than the house. For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God. And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, … but Christ as a son over His own house, whose house we are… .” (Heb. 3:1–6a NKJV).

The contrasts here are among the servant of the house, the builder of the house, and the owner of the house. The builder and owner are supreme over the servant of the house. Moses could lead the people to the earthly promised land but could not lead them into their eternal rest.

Next, Christ is seen as the supreme High Priest. The high priests of old offered shadows of the reality to come. The sacrifices of old were offered regularly — Christ offers the true sacrifice, once for all. The old priests offered objects different from themselves. The Supreme High Priest offers Himself — a perfect sacrifice. He is both the subject and object of the supreme atoning sacrifice.

Finally, Christ’s priesthood differs from the old in that Christ serves both as High Priest and as King. In the Old Covenant, the king was ultimately to come from the tribe of Judah. The priests were to be consecrated from the tribe of Levi (following Aaron). But Jesus was not a Levite. His was a different priesthood from a different order — the order of Melchizedek. Melchizedek makes a strange appearance to Abraham as both king and priest to whom Abraham gives obeisance. Hebrews argues that as Abraham is greater than Levi, and Melchizedek is greater than Abraham, then manifestly Melchizedek is greater than Levi. The eternal high priesthood and kingship is given to Christ in fulfillment of Psalm 110.

These references are but a few of the riches set forth in Hebrews that declare the supremacy of Christ.

We Recommend
The Light of the World Devotional
The Bread of Life Devotional
All Things Under Christ Devotional
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From Ligonier Ministries and R.C. Sproul. © Tabletalk magazine. Website: www.ligonier.org/tabletalk. Email: tabletalk@ligonier.org. Toll free: 1-800-435-4343. www.ligonier.org

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