Friday, March 25, 2011

Book Review: The Holy Spirit by R.C. Sproul

It seems that one of the big themes in my life lately is holiness and (thereby) the Holy Spirit. I’m learning a ton about Who the Holy Spirit is and how He works in our lives. I think for many Christians (myself included), it’s much easier to understand God the Father and Jesus the Son than the Holy Spirit- both who they are and what they do. But the fact of the matter is that God is three in one- Father, Son, AND Spirit. The Trinity is a difficult idea, but so so vital to properly understand. This book helped me in that, and I found it both accessible and challenging. The first few chapters give a detailed account of Who the Holy Spirit is, what the Trinity is, and an explanation and defense of the underlying truth of the Trinity- that God is one in essence and three in person. At some level it’s a mystery for sure, and I don’t pretend to fully understand it. But I believe it and trust that if God is really an infinite God, then my finite brain isn’t going to be able to fully grasp every aspect of His being. And that is ok. In fact, God wouldn’t be a God worthy of my worship if I- a finite human- could understand every single thing about Him. He is knowable and personal, but He is also infinite. Pretty awesome. 

I particularly liked the chapter entitled Safe and Sound in which Sproul expands upon how the Spirit is “the One who applies the work of Christ to our lives by working in us to bring us to full conformity and the image of Christ.” The Christianese term for this idea is “sanctification”, and it is an ongoing process that lasts our whole life. The chapters on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and Fruit of the Spirit were helpful as well. This is a solid book if you’re looking for an overview of the person and work of the Holy Spirit. Each chapter certainly could be its own book, but it definitely covers the essential points. I think the W.A. Criswell quote that Sproul uses best sums up the book and the work of the Spirit, “ Without the presence of the Spirit there is no conviction, no regeneration, no sanctification, no cleansing, no acceptable works…Life is in the quickening Spirit.” Amen.

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