R.C. Sproul: 1939-2017
There was a great loss to the Church this week. Surrounded by his family, R.C. Sproul went to be with his Savior and Lord. When I read this headline, I wept. I wept because I know firsthand the wonderful ways the Lord used this man in the lives of so many people. The Lord used Sproul in ways that I can only wish to be used in my lifetime. Through his ministry at Ligonier, through his conferences, through his old VHS video lectures, my life has been touched and shaped more by this man than perhaps anyone aside my own father. Here are just a few ways the Lord used R.C. Sproul to shape me into the Christian that I am today.
Sproul Made God Set Apart
Some of my greatest memories of childhood are when my dad would put the old VHS tape into the VCR and R.C. would begin one of his recorded lectures. I remember being transfixed by the deep, gravelly voice of Sproul as he laid out and explained what I would come later to know as Reformed Theology. During his “Holiness of God” series I remember Sproul describing God in ways that I had never heard before. He depicted God as first and foremost, Holy. “Holiness,” he would say, “is God’s primary attribute. Without Holiness, all God’s other attributes become worthless.” He would go on and on about how big and Holy God is. Sproul opened my mind to the vastness of God and the wonder and glory that He possessed. My mind was stretched and molded in this knowledge of God’s Holiness and how different from us He truly is. He showed me through His lectures that God, in His Holiness, must punish sin. Then he would so expertly lead into the Gospel. Always the Gospel with Sproul. It was always about Jesus.
Sproul Made God Big
Something else Sproul taught me was how big God truly is. “If God is not sovereign, then God is not God” he would say. I remember learning from him of the intricacies of God’s sovereignty over all things. Nothing is outside of God’s will nor does anything happen apart from God’s own choosing. Whether it be His sovereignty in salvation when He elected us, or His sovereignty in pain and suffering, Sproul always made a point to make God big and us small. This method of describing God in these terms has carried over into my life. Sproul taught me the importance of always making God big in life and attributing to Him all glory and honor. Sproul taught me to never forget God’s sovereignty, even and especially when life is difficult. God is always in control, and we can go to Him for peace no matter what happens.
Sproul Made It All About Jesus
Finally, Sproul made everything about Jesus. His entire mission and ministry was for the proclamation of Christ and His Gospel. He entire focus was on Christ and His glory. All theology, all faith and all life was for the glory of God, through the proclamation of the Gospel. He taught me to use my theology and the knowledge that I have of God to strengthen my resolve to preach Christ. R.C. Sproul was the main influence in my desire to be a preacher. To proclaim the truth of Christ and His Gospel just like Sproul did for all those years. This desire is still present to this day and I hope that it will never be doused. Sproul made it all about Jesus. I want to do this too.
R.C. is now living in the glory of Christ. He breathed his last and found himself in such glory and wonder that the imagination cannot begin to understand it. R.C. left this world with its troubles and pain, and ran into the arms of Jesus. He is now basking in the light of the One that he served faithfully for all those years. This is what R.C. had to say about his own death.
“You can grieve for me the week before I die, if I’m scared and hurting, but when I gasp that last fleeting breath and my immortal soul flees to heaven, I’m going to be jumping over fire hydrants down the golden streets, and my biggest concern, if I have any, will be my wife back here grieving. When I die, I will be identified with Christ’s exaltation. But right now, I am identified with His affliction.”
R.C. Sproul is indeed running free through the streets of Heaven. What a time he is having at this moment. He is finally home. Imagine for a moment the look on his face when he finally got to see Jesus. The thought of it is enough to make me weep. Yet I am here. Stuck in this place with its pain and sorrows. How are we to live? How are we to move on? It is done by simply this. By simply knowing that Christ waits for us too. That when death comes and we breath our last breath and fly to Christ, He is there waiting with open arms. He is there waiting to call us home. That is truly reality. That is legit stuff. Jesus is worth all the pain, all the sorrow, all the discomfort and all the death that we experience here on Earth. Nothing can compare to the love and glory that we will experience when we enter into our home. This life is temporary, heaven is forever. It will be there that we will sing with R.C. and all those that have gone before us, to the One that gave Himself for us. It is there that we will behold the hope of our salvation and the Savior of our souls. We will finally see Jesus. He is worth it all. He is worth it all.