We all have a theology—an understanding of the Bible out of which we answer life’s big questions and think about the world.
What’s your theology?
In Grace Unknown, R.C. Sproul presents Reformed Theology or the doctrines of grace. It’s an accessible explanation of an elegant system that revolves around the Sovereignty of God.
The book has two parts: Foundations of Reformed Theology and Five Points of Reformed Theology.
Part 1: Foundations of Reformed Theology
- Centered on God. Reformed theology draws on the whole history of the church, and is protestant in nature. (In fact, the Reformation began all protestant denominations.) Reformed theology begins with the doctrine of God who is incomprehensible, self-sufficient, and holy.
- Based on God’s Word Alone. The Latin phrase from the Reformation is Sola Scriptura. Scripture is our primary authority—not tradition, not the church. Scripture is inspired by God, infallible, and without error in all that intends to teach.
- Committed to Faith Alone. Sola Fide. We are not justified or saved by our works, but by a living faith that leads to confession of sin and embracing Christ alone in the Gospel.
- Devoted to the Prophet, Priest, and King. Jesus is one man with two natures (fully God and fully man), and those two natures are without confusion, division, separation, or mixture. He fulfills the offices of prophet, priest, and king, so all those offices in the Old Testament are anticipating him.
- Nicknamed Covenant Theology. God entered into a Covenant of Works with Adam where the promise was life, the threat was death, and the condition was perfect obedience. Adam broke that covenant in the fall. In the Covenant of Redemption, God the Son agrees to pay the penalty for Adam’s covenant breaking AND fulfill that covenant to merit life. God extends the Covenant of Grace to sinners after the fall because of the Covenant of Redemption.
Part 2: Five Points of Reformed Theology
- Humanity’s Radical Corruption. Total Depravity. After the fall, because of original sin, man is spiritually dead, and not able to convert himself.
- God’s Sovereign Choice. Unconditional Election. Man’s spiritual inability means that it is God’s choice, and not man’s works, that determine our salvation. The origin of our salvation is in God’s decree, not our merit. (And I, for one, am really glad for that!)
- Christ’s Purposeful Atonement. Limited Atonement. Christ’s death on the cross is sufficient for all, but efficient only for the elect. Jesus actually purchases our redemption on the cross, rather than just making it possible.
- The Spirit’s Effective Call. Irresistible Grace. Regeneration comes before We’re born again by the Spirit before we believe. The Spirit’s work in our life is effectual and effective, and we are born again.
- God’s Preservation of the Saints. Perseverance of the Saints. It’s not that by our own work we will persevere. Rather, no one is able to snatch us out of our Father’s hand.
When anxiety comes, I find great hope in a God who has rescued me, redeemed me, given me new life, and will never let me go.
“Surely his goodness and mercy will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Ps 23:6)