When I was just a lad I heard the story of Jesus from my pastor at the end of a week of Vacation Bible School. It was not new to me, having grown up in the church, but when he told us to “come forward if you want to receive Jesus into your heart” I thought, “Okay, if that’s what I am supposed to do!” Taking my hop, skip and cantor down the aisle, I still recall looking over my shoulder and wondering why some kids still sat. Was there something special about me? Was I smarter? Did I pay closer attention? Was my hearing just better?
RC Sproul would probably just chuckle and comment that it was not based on my decision, but on the work of the Holy Spirit that caused me to believe what my pastor said. In his book Chosen by God, Sproul discusses what he believes to be the full testimony of Scripture on the topic of who really is responsible for the decision of our salvation.
Sproul grew up as I did in a church that taught that Jesus died for everyone and that we need to be convinced to decide to choose to let Christ be the lord of our lives and save us from our sin. It was not until seminary that he heard another perspective. “Every church must have a doctrine of predestination,” he writes, because it is a concept taught in the Bible. The question is, what does the concept mean.
In very accessible language, Sproul addresses questions that all of us have in terms of our salvation and brings solid biblical scholarship to answer those questions. God’s sovereignity and our choices are concern for every Christian, and in light of the Bible’s teaching we can learn to more fully stand in awe of the One who saves us.