Typically, I feel like it’s a bit of a waste of time to read books more than once. There are very few books that get me to come back and read them again and again. This is one of those books. I was recently able to read through this with a couple of guys in my community group. We went through it chapter by chapter, asked questions, wrestled with answers, and came out the other end better for it. R.C. Sproul has a way of making the difficult understandable, and this book deals with a very difficult reality: predestination. If you’ve ever wrestled over this biblical doctrine, I would highly recommend this thoughtful and winsome book. Also, the last chapter is devoted to frequently asked questions surrounding predestination and Calvinism. I think that chapter is particularly helpful for any of us whether we agree with his conclusions or not.
Here are ten of my favorite quotes. Enjoy!
1. Page 3
It is not enough to have just any view of predestination. It is our duty to seek the correct view of predestination, lest we be guilty of distorting or ignoring the Word of God.
2. Page 16
If God refused to permit something to happen and it happened anyway, then whatever caused it to happen would have more authority and power than God himself. If there is any part of creation outside of God’s sovereignty, then God is simply not sovereign. If God is not sovereign, then God is not God.
3. Page 30
God is free. I am free. God is more free than I am. If my freedom runs up against God’s freedom, I lose.
4. Page 45
Edwards declared that man’s problem with sin lies with his moral ability, or lack thereof. Before a person can make a choice that is pleasing to God, he must first have a desire to please God. Before we can find God, we must first desire to seek him. Before we can choose the good, we must first have a desire for the good. Before we can choose Christ, we must first have a desire for Christ. The sum and substance of the whole debate on predestination rests squarely at this point: Does fallen man, in and of himself, have a natural desire for Christ?
5. Page 110
In the Reformed view of predestination God’s choice precedes man’s choice. We choose him only because he has first chosen us.
6. Page 128
Unconditional election means that our election is decided by God according to his purpose, according to his sovereign will. It is not based upon some foreseen condition that some of us meet and others fail to meet. It is not based on our willing or our running, but upon the sovereign purpose of God.
7. Page 150
Our preservation is a Trinitarian work. God the Father keeps us and preserves us. God the Son intercedes for us. God the Holy Spirit indwells and assists us.
8. Page 162
People in our society know more about the twelve signs of the zodiac than they do about the twelve tribes of Israel. Yet Reuben has more to do with my future than Aquarius, Judah more than Gemini.
9. Page 167
Still, to be inconsistently biblical is far better than it is to be consistently unbiblical and deny the biblical truths that God knows the future and that he is sovereign over all things, even the human will.
10. Page 182
God not only foreordains the end of salvation for the elect, he also foreordained the means to that end. God has chosen the foolishness of preaching as the means to accomplish redemption.