Gospel Relevance

Gospel-Centered Resources For The Gospel-Driven Life

How R.C. Sproul’s Words Changed My Life

I don’t talk to my favorite theologian everyday. But I did chat with R.C. Sproul last Spring. Not in person, unfortunately, but online. Ligionier Ministries held a Twitter Q&A with Sproul for one hour. So I asked a question — and he actually replied. And even though this was several months ago, I think about Sproul’s answer almost daily.

rc_sproul

What was my question, you ask?

I asked a question about pride and success. Sure, I could have struck a nerve with double predestination or eschatology or whatever. But I can find those answers on my own. I wanted to ask a question that only Sproul could answer, so I asked this:

I want an answer to this question: Is it harder to stay humble when you experience more success? I genuinely want to know if famous Christians have a harder time with humility.

So, I asked Sproul.

I thought he would say what Christians usually say:

“Study election.”

“Read more books.”

“Devote yourself to the spiritual disciplines.”

All of these are good answers, to be sure, and things we can and should pursue. But Sproul had something else in mind. And like a good teacher, Sproul answered my question with, well, a question. Indeed, a question I’ll never forget:

And that’s when, as they say, everything changed.

A Call to Remembrance 

Paul calls the Gentile believers to remembrance in Romans 11. After explaining in length the doctrine of election in the previous chapters, he warns against pride for being picked. He didn’t want the elect to think they were elite.

“…do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you (Romans 11:18).

If you are arrogant . . . remember.

Not purge yourself.

Not pray for nine hours.

Not give all your money to the poor.

Remember.

For Paul, the antidote to arrogance is remembrance. As Kevin DeYoung says, “Remembrance is one of the most important aspects of the Christian faith.”

So, you remember. You remember Christ had to die for you. You remember Christ was glad to die for you. You remember all your gifts are from above. In the Christian life, when you’re struggling with pride, what you need to do is remember God’s grace in the gospel.

Yes, spiritual disciplines matter.

Yes, community matters.

Yes, you should do everything in your power to fight pride. Yes, yes, and amen.

But don’t overlook Sproul’s words just because they’re 140 characters.

When you feel pride creeping in, stop and take a deep breath. Breathe. Exhale. Remember the gospel. And then look in the mirror and ask, “How can I be arrogant when I’ve been a receipt of such grace?”

You may also like:

  1. 3 Common Misconceptions of Calvinism 
  2. My 10 Books of 2015 
  3. John Calvin’s 5 Rules for Right Prayer

About David Qaoud

David Qaoud (MDiv, Covenant Theological Seminary) is associate pastor of Bethesda Evangelical Church in St. Louis, Missouri, and founder of gospelrelevance.com. His work has appeared on The Gospel Coalition, For the Church, and Banner of Truth. He lives in St. Louis with his wife and son. You can follow him on Twitter.

2 Replies

  1. Succinct and straight to the heart of the matter. Why RC is such a gift to us.

    1. Yep. A true gift to the church. Very grateful for him.