Book Review by Olya Stefanovich
I knew that R. C. Sproul’s book, “The Truth of the Cross,” would be great before even opening the first page... but boy, was I blown away. The main difficulty won’t be writing the actual review itself, but making sure I don’t end up writing a book! Anyways, while reading the book, even though I was blown away multiple times, three quotes in particular stuck out to me which just happen to summarize the book pretty well.
Here’s quote number one: “The work that Jesus did on the cross is the very essence of the gospel. A substitute has appeared in space and time, appointed by God himself, to bear the weight and the burden of our transgressions, to make expiation for our guilt, and to propitiate the wrath of God on our behalf. Therefore, if you take away the substitutionary atonement, you empty the cross of its meaning... you take away Christianity itself.”
Nowadays, lots of people don’t see the need for Christ. Many people sorta believe in Christ and go to church (even if it be every once in a while) but they forget and water-down our desperate need for salvation and the corruption of our nature. Sproul talks a lot about this in the first chapters, and then really dropped a great bomb with this quote. It really made me fully see and understand the magnitude of our redemption and the desperate need for it as well as the dangers of forgetting about the cross and our sin.
Also, a couple of times throughout the book Sproul mentioned how the Bible alluded from the very beginning that someday Christ will come to save His people. I knew that that yes, this was the case, but I didn’t really realize how early on God started to show the coming of Jesus. Themes of the cross define the entirety of the Bible, and traces of God’s ultimate sacrifice are made from the very beginning. It’s mind blowing because it just shows once again the enormity of God’s grace and His sacrifice, but also gives us a glance at His secret will. He knew everything that was going to happen, everything was in His control, and He did it all for us. It’s truly great.
Here’s the second quote that blew my mind: “We must see that the righteousness of Christ that is transferred to us is the righteousness he achieved by living under the law for thirty-three years without once sinning. Jesus had to live a life of obedience before His death meant anything... not only did Jesus die for us, He lived for us.”
Wow. We often hear that God knows exactly what we’re going through; that all of the struggles, pains, and difficulties of life are no stranger to Him because He lived life as a human being... but we don’t really think about it much. Yes, that statement is true, but there’s so much more to His human life than just that. Personally, I never really thought about why Jesus lived for thirty three years before He fulfilled His mission. I just thought that “yeah, He was alive as a human, and that’s it.” But, like the book said, He had to be around for thirty-three years being completely perfect to make His death mean anything. Not only did He die for us, and not only does He know our struggles and whatnot as a result of being alive as a human being, but He lived for us too. That’s really powerful and brings so much more meaning to His sacrifice, but it just reveals God’s immense love, grace once again.
The last but not least: “Jesus submitted Himself to His father’s will and endured the curse, that we, His people, might experience the ultimate blessedness.” This quote just made me happy. It’s basically John 3:16 paraphrased, but that verse is one of the greatest, so we need to paraphrase it as much as it takes for people to really understand it. We’re really lucky to be saved by and to serve a savior as great as ours.
My review really didn’t do justice for R. C. Sproul’s book, “The Truth of the Cross,” I can’t cover it all... which is exactly why you should read it. It’s a solid 100/10 from me.