8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
"Those who are genuinely saved are those who prove themselves to be doers of the word." ~ (Locations 100-102)
R. C. Sproul starts his book with a very scary statement Jesus made which strikes terror into even the hearts of even those who believe they are saved. What if Jesus says he never knew you and you thought you were saved as you call out to him "Lord, Lord." This is not something you want to happen to you. It would mean an eternity in hell. So R. C. Sproul takes a more cautious approach and explains the four types of people who are saved and unsaved. As you go through this book you will also learn about universalism, legalism and sacerdotalism. R. C. Sproul also explains "election" in a way I finally understood. By reading this book you will find out if you are truly saved or whether you need to get saved once and for all. I think this is an excellent book and one of the best Sproul has written.
~The Rebecca Review
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2011
I thought the contrast of the Catholic view of salvation vs. the Protestant view was very interesting. I would have liked the author to explore that a little more.
I also liked the discussion of the uncertainty of salvation, but he quickly brushes it too too quickly I think.I think this book would be a good tome for the first
stage Christian. For a deeper Christian I don't think it really addresses fundamental mystery of salvation.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 2013
I love R.C. Sproul and his ministry. For some odd reason, this book didn't quite strike me as his other titles. (Not sure why.) While this book is steeped in verses, it comes across as more of a primer than something really "meaty" to sink one's teeth into. I think it makes for good discussion with those who are already believers in Christ/Reformed but I would be a little reticent to share this with some one who is a seeker and/or skeptic of Christ.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2015
Assurance is something that every Christian seeks. Various traditions claim that it is obtained through a variety of means. Some claim that it cannot be claimed at all. Can I Be Sure I'm Saved? by R.C. Sproul, an entry in the Crucial Questions series, seeks to tackle this question.
Sproul begins with a general discussion of assurance and how different traditions understand it. He then proceeds to outline four types of people:
People who are saved, and know it
People who are saved but do not know it
People who are unsaved and know it
People who are unsaved but do not know it
Now, I might squabble with the second category of people... since I think that a belief that Christ will save you is necessary for faith in Christ to save you. How can you trust that Christ will save you, if you don't know that Christ will save you? I also might add a fifth category of people who are unsaved, but don't think that salvation is a thing.
However, since the remainder of the book is focused on taking people from category four and helping them transition into category one, I'll focus my attention there.
By "People who are unsaved but do not know it" Sproul means something like "People who know they are saved but are not." He calls this "false assurance" and spends a great deal of time explaining this. I'm not sure the lengthy time (relative to the length of the book) was necessary, but as usual Sproul is careful and precise in his presentation.
He then proceeds to explain three soteriological positions that lead people to false assurance. Universalism, Legalism, and Sacerdotalism. While I think that heuristically, the second and third of these collapse into themselves (ultimately believing that we are saved on the basis of something we do), it is a helpful distinction. He claims that ultimately all three of these categories lead to people who think they are saved, but are not.
He then proceeds into the fourth chapter to discuss how we might gain true assurance. Rooting the idea that we are able to gain assurance based on the fact that we are commanded to do so, he then proceeds to explain various views of election and predestination. Now, it seems to me a somewhat inconsistent notion that on the one hand we are able to gain assurance because we are commanded to do so, but on the other hand we are not able to be perfect even though we are commanded to... but I digress. The remainder of the chapter points toward the idea that if we can become sure of our election and regeneration, that we can be sure of our justification and ultimately sanctification/glorification. However, I was left wondering how one might be able to be more sure of someone's election or regeneration than one could be sure of their own current justification or salvation.
Sproul closes the work by discussing the idea that we can be sure that we are saved if we love Jesus. Rooting this in the reality that we can not love Jesus if it is not granted to us to do so (regeneration). He also discusses the idea that the indwelling testimony of the Holy Spirit is the ultimate source of assurance. However, like the previous chapter, I was left wondering how one can be sure of those things.
Ultimately, I was disappointing that the traditional Reformed position was not better represented in this work. Although the idea of examining one's self for fruit in keeping with repentance was touched on, it was not a major point in the work. Furthermore, and this should warm the hearts of my Lutheran readers, I was disappointed to see no reference to remembering our baptism. For the Reformed, our baptism serves as a sign of God's promise to save those who are united to Christ by faith. Although it does not guarantee salvation, it is a sure sign that one is a member of the visible Church, where the Holy Spirit regenerates people by the preached Gospel, and confirms this regeneration by confirming our union with Christ in the Lord's Supper.
Ultimately, I think that Sproul here misses the mark. Rather than give concrete things people can look at, he pointed to other realities that can be incorrectly assumed. We can be sure we are saved if we are elect. How can we know for sure we are elect? We can be sure we are saved if we are regenerated. How can we know we are regenerated.
I'm not sure, for those reasons, that I would really recommend this book to anyone. While it is helpful for some of the soteriological discussions, and might serve as a good primer for that... someone who is genuinely needing to find assurance of salvation would not benefit from this book. It seems to me that those persons are the primary intended audience, and thus this book left me feeling... well... unsure.
Please note: Reformation Trust / Ligonier Ministries has provided me with an electronic version of this book for review purposes, and will be providing me with a hard copy edition in exchange for this review. They do not require positive reviews, nor have they edited or modified this review in any way.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2013
Most certainly a deep read. Sproul puts to rest questions concerning salvation. He confronts the four different kinds of people: those who are saved and know it, those who are saved and don't know it, those who are unsaved and know it, and those who are unsaved and don't know it. He also helps to calm our uncertainties about whether or not we're saved and reveals the lies some believe about their own salvation. I'll probably read it again because it was just that rich.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2013
This is something that can never be taken for granted. Mr. Sproul takes you step by step through the the true meaning of being a Christian. He explains some of the misconceptions that people have in reference to actual salvation. From beginning to end Mr. Sproul explains what I have previously mentioned very thoroughly and clearly. For every statement made he quickly showed how the statement concurred with the word of God.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 2014
I've struggled at different times in my walk with God about the part in Scripture when the Lord could say, 'Depart, I never knew you.' The author has helped me understand being truly saved. I have looked back over my 45 years of salvation and can clearly see where and how I've grown and changed and matured. I love Him, not perfectly but I am learning and continue to seek His face and His will for my life.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on October 3, 2013
The books is well written. Unfortunately, the doctrine presented can only leave one with the title question still unanswered. He says: "...if you are elect, you will be saved..." and "...none who are elect fail to be saved." The whole premise is circular in that you are saved if you are elect; you know you are elect if you persevere; and you won't know that until the end of your life. The title asks a great question, it just does not answer it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 28, 2014
I have struggled with this question for such a long time... so long! I don't know how many times I doubted my salvation to the point of blindness. I read second Peter before but rc sproul really nailed it describing biblically how a Christian can through themselves into so much doubt that it's as if they forgotten the past forgiving of their sins. I always found myself doubting my election when sinning or not reading His word. (Lacking these qualities "2 Peter") by me not being diligent to make sure my election I only found myself stuck in doubt and that doubt lead to more sin in which that sin lead to more doubting. Over and over again. I recommend this book to any believer that is going through the suffering of doubting their own salvation and election. The question "am I a vessel made for Grace or a vessel made for destruction?" Can really cause allot of anxiety or doubt in a believer. Rc Sproul helps us to ask the right questions and guides us with spiritual gift by answering those questions biblically. God really used this man's gift to help me understand biblical assurance. Even if you don't struggle with assurance... read it so you know how to help a brother or sister in Christ who is not so assured!