It’s been a while since I’ve done a book review, so why don’t we dip back into one of the all-time greats of the past 50 years. Here is The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul.
The Holiness of God, first published in 1985, is a masterpiece of protestant theological writing that provides readers with a deep understanding of the nature of God’s holiness. Sproul’s insight, biblical knowledge, and ability to articulate complex ideas in a simple way make this book an essential read for anyone seeking to gain a richer understanding of the nature of God and His holiness.
The overarching key theme of the book is, of course, the importance of understanding God’s holiness. Sproul argues that many people today have lost sight of the significance of God’s terrifying holiness and have instead focused on His love and mercy. While these are undoubtedly important aspects of God’s character, Sproul argues that they cannot be fully understood without first understanding His holiness. Sproul writes, “Only when we understand God’s holiness can we truly understand His love and mercy.”
To help readers understand the concept of holiness, Sproul explores the Hebrew word for holiness, “qadosh,” and its various meanings. He also examines the biblical passages that describe God’s holiness, such as Isaiah 6, where Isaiah has a vision of God on His throne, surrounded by angels who cry out, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” Through these passages, Sproul helps readers understand the magnitude and intensity of God’s holiness.
Another important theme of the book is the impact of God’s holiness on humanity. Sproul argues that God’s holiness demands absolute perfection from His creation and that because of sin, humans fall short of that perfection. However, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, God offers a way for humans to be reconciled to him and made holy. Sproul writes, “The holiness of God is the fire that refines us, the light that exposes us, and the love that purifies us.”
Sproul also examines the impact of God’s holiness on the world around us. He argues that because God is holy, He cannot tolerate sin and evil. Sproul writes, “The holiness of God is the standard by which all things are judged, and the measuring stick by which all things are compared.” This means that as believers in Christ, we are called to stand against sin and evil in the world and to work towards a world that reflects God’s holiness.
Throughout the book, Sproul provides numerous examples from history and literature to illustrate his points. He cites the stories of Uzzah, Nadab, and Abihu, who were struck dead for their irreverence towards God, as well as the story of Ananias and Sapphira in the book of Acts, who were struck dead for lying to the Holy Spirit. Sproul also cites passages from works of literature, such as Dante’s “Inferno,” to illustrate the consequences of sin and the reality of God’s holiness.
Another strength of the book is its relevance to modern-day Christians. Sproul’s message about the importance of understanding God’s holiness and the impact of sin on the world is just as relevant today in the 21st Century as it was when the book was first released 38 years ago. In a world that often seeks to minimize sin and its consequences, Sproul’s message is a powerful reminder of the importance of living a holy life and standing up for what is right.
One of the most powerful aspects of the book is its emphasis on the indescribable beauty of God’s holiness. Sproul writes, “The holiness of God is not a repellent attribute, but an attractive one.” He argues that as Christians, we should strive to reflect God’s holiness in our own lives and to seek out the beauty of holiness in the world around us. This message is both encouraging and inspiring, and it offers readers a powerful vision of what it means to live a holy life.
Finally, one of the greatest strengths of The Holiness of God is its focus on the centrality of the Cross of Christ. Sproul argues that it is only through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ that we can be made holy and reconciled to God. He writes, “The cross is the blazing fire at which the flame of our love is kindled, but we have to get near enough to it for its sparks to fall on us.” This message is at the heart of the Christian faith, and Sproul does an excellent job of explaining its significance and impact.
As I mentioned before, one of Sproul’s strengths is his ability to make complex theological concepts accessible to a broad audience. He breaks down the idea of holiness into easily understandable terms and uses clear, concise language throughout the book. So if you’re concerned about being overwhelmed about this being something way above your head, try instead to give this book a chance. Additionally, he provides helpful summaries at the end of each chapter, which helps to reinforce the key ideas and concepts.
The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul is a modern classic and is on my list of top 10 favorite books. This a must-read book for any Christian seeking to deepen their understanding of God’s holiness and its impact on their lives. Sproul’s insights are both profound and practical, and he provides readers with a clear roadmap for understanding God’s holiness and living a holy life. This book is a powerful reminder of the beauty and majesty of God’s holiness, and it offers readers a compelling vision of what it means to live a life that is pleasing to God. I could not give this any higher of a recommendation.