A fun Monday morning post. Recently I read R.C. Sproul, Sr.’s little booklet, What is Baptism? (Crucial Questions Series). The booklet is a helpful look at baptism, for people from a variety of perspectives. I found his defense of infant baptism helpful in understanding the other position, but not over the top or vitriolic. It also was not the central point of his book.
Anyway, the reason for this post is an intriguing reference Sproul made to his favorite verse – Genesis 15:17. He went on to give an answer as well to the age-old question, what book would you want with you if you were marooned on an island?
I often tell people that if I were marooned on an island and had only one book, the book I would want with me, of course, would be the Bible. If I could have only one book of the Bible, I would want to have the book of Hebrews because of the way in which it so richly summarizes all the teachings of the Old Testament and relates them to the finished work of Christ in the New Testament. But if I could have only one verse of the Bible, I would want Genesis 15:17.
[Kindle locations 151-153]
Genesis 15 is the story of Abraham’s covenant. God has promised great blessings to Abraham and his children, but Abraham wants a guarantee. He is told to cut sacrificial animals in half and wait. Then we see “a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch” pass through the pieces. This is a theophany, this is the Shekinah glory of God passing through the pieces — making the covenant unilateral. “Abraham saw a divine manifestation passing between the animal pieces and immediately understood the significance. God was enabling Abraham to know for sure that His promises would come to pass… only God passed through the pieces because He alone was making promises. He was instituting His covenant with Abraham [Kindle locations 165-166, 172].” As Hebrews says in 6:13-14, God could swear by none greater (in making his promise to Abraham), so “he swore by himself, saying, ‘Surely I will bless you and multiply you’.”
What a great thought to treasure today. God’s gospel promises to us are unilateral. God has sworn by himself, as there is none greater. He gave his own Son for our salvation. If he did that, how can he not also with him give us everything that we need — indeed all that pertains to life and godliness (Rom. 8:32 with 2 Pet. 1:3-4).
What would you want on a desert island? Gen. 15:17 would be good. Hebrews would be better. I agree with R.C. Sproul, Sr. on this one!