The Holiness of God: You’ve Got to Read This Book!
I recently re-read R.C. Sproul’s classic, The Holiness of God. It was a feast for my soul. I first read Sproul’s book in 1988 at the beginning of my first pastorate. Sproul is a gifted theologian and author who has had a massive impact on a generation of pastors, leaders, and lay people. He is still alive and kicking in Orlando, Florida, where he teaches, speaks and writes.
Sproul wrote The Holiness of God to remind Western Christians about the real God of the Bible—a God who loves us and invites us into a relationship with Him—and to remind us what kind of a God He really is. With so many bizarre conceptions of God floating around these days, it is imperative that we have a proper understanding of who God really is. Put simply, if I am going to walk in joy, peace, and confidence, I need to submit myself to a God who is absolutely holy. To view Him as anything less will inevitably cheapen my worship and discipleship and lead to casual Christian living—casual discipleship, casual obedience. And there is only one word for casual obedience: disobedience.
I’ve talked to three individuals who took up the challenge to read his book recently. One is in their 30s, one in their 40s and one in their 70s—all three were deeply impacted by the book! At a lunch with one of the men, I listened as he spent two hours describing how much the book had impacted his view of God and his life.
Christianity is an unusual paradox. In the Bible, we learn that those who pursue their own freedom and agenda end up in slavery, while those who submit to God’s holiness and authority end up the most free. So weird . . . but so proven over the centuries.
I’ve been struck again, recently, by the Bible’s reminder of the blessings for obedience and the curses for disobedience. Just read Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28. What a powerful reminder that what we believe and live like makes a huge difference. What a reminder that theology matters—and matters a lot!
I can’t recommend Sproul’s book enough. As I noted, the first time I read it was at the very beginning of my ministry, at the age of 28. It has deeply impacted my preaching and life ever since. It is desperately needed tonic for an age of cheap grace, prosperity theology, and the emergent church. When others are telling us that God wants us to have our “Best Life Now” or trying to convince us that “Love Wins,” Sproul comes along with a meaty book, anchored in Scripture, reminding us that God is holy and will not be trifled with. AND that He dwells with those who pursue holiness and humble themselves before Him. I so need this to counteract my selfish, self-centered perspective—again and again. For only in surrender to a holy God can I find joy and lasting hope.
If you’ve never read this book, do yourself a massive favor: go buy it, get a good highlighter, grab your Bible, and sit down for a profound experience. Guaranteed!
by Jay Childs, Future Senior Pastor