In my early teens, one of the first Bible studies I did with my father was called, The Holiness of God, by RC Sproul. As a teenager, it wasn’t the most exciting topic, but now looking back, I will most certainly give honor and gratitude to both my father, and to an excellent expository teacher, RC Sproul.
What I didn’t know then, but appreciate now that I am a further along on my faith journey, was that studying the holiness of God, lead me on a lifelong trajectory of seeking the face of Jesus, and making choices that honor Him.
I loved the old school way of teaching… as RC Sproul always wrote on the chalk or dry erase board! In his wisdom, hearing and seeing the written word, what more effective way of learning?
On the radio, not too long ago, I heard RC Sproul in one of his teachings say something to the effect of, “If I ever had to take a scripture to the grave with me, I’d take Genesis 15.” Immediately, I understood to some extent. I am sure RC had a much deeper level of understanding of this passage, but I too, love teaching Genesis 15.
The story in Genesis 15 is when God makes a covenant with Abraham, and asks Abraham to prepared a sacrifice of animals. God puts Abraham into a deep sleep. When Abraham is in the “dreadful darkness” (v. 12) simultaneously “a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the sacrifice” (v. 17). To shed light on the passage and seriousness of this covenant, I’d like to share from what I have written in The Invitation:
In ancient days covenants were made through sacrificial customs. The stronger partner of the two parties named the terms of the covenant and the weaker partner agreed to the terms by slaughtering an animal and positioning it so that blood would flow on the path. The weaker partner committed his life to the agreement by walking through the blood of the sacrificed animal. In this sacrifice with Abraham God guaranteed the covenant with His life by walking through the blood, solidifying His unconditional promise to Abraham. God’s extraordinary and significant act extends His commitment to bless us from generation to generation. God proves His faithfulness by keeping the Abrahamic covenant.
This significant event was sealing a covenant between Abraham and God, and as a promise for all generations . God has promised Abraham’s descendants of faith would be “as numerous as the stars in the sky” (Genesis 15:5). This passage is so powerful, so weighty, such that RC Sproul knew in the depths of his heart the truth of God’s word given to us as a foreshadowing of the grace of the gospel in Jesus Christ! Jesus was the “messenger of the Covenant” (Malachi 3:1), the perfect sacrifice offered for our sins (Hebrews 9:14), bearing the wrath of God for us, so that we might believe and live forever in a relationship with God. The beautiful gift of the covenant is that we have the privilege in approaching a holy God in prayer, without fear forever.
Many of us have been through a trying year in 2017, but there is a HOPE! There is a peace in the midst of the chaos. Have you put your faith and hope in Jesus? I pray, that you may have courage to commit your life and future to Him, who loves you and has shown you this love by sending His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. (1 John 4:9).
Are you weary of trying to make things right in your own strength? This Christmas, put your faith and hope in Jesus, who is the True rest… exemplified by Abraham as God does the work of originating, initiating, providing the “Perfect Sacrifice” through Jesus, and keeping a covenant He knew man could never keep. What grace! What love!
As we enter this holy week of Christmas, I ponder how the words from the prophets of the Old Testament all tie together and point to Jesus Christ.
— the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” Matthew 4: 12-16
As we consider the meaning of this passage as most special, most necessary to RC Sproul… if a truth was to be taken to the grave, may we too. consider the deep darkness of our times, YET God simultaneously appears in glorious light to us, as He did to Abraham as a smoking firepot and blazing torch, to the world as a radiant Son of God. Let us again, be hopeful and expectant to behold His glory.
I am most confident, one of the greatest expository teachers of God’s word in our time is now beholding the glory of Jesus.
May the Spirit of Jesus permeate your hearts and homes this year with JOY!