No Better School For Learning Contentment

“‘He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all–how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?’ (Romans 8:32).

Would I learn how to be contented and cheerful under all the cares and anxieties of life? What school shall I go to? How shall I attain this state of mind most easily? Shall I look at the sovereignty of God, the wisdom of God, the providence of God, the love of God? It is well to do so; but I have a better argument still.

I will look at Calvary and the crucifixion. I feel that He who spared not His only begotten Son but delivered Him up to die for me–will surely with Him give me all things that I really need. He who endured that pain for my soul–will surely not withhold from me anything that is really good. He who has done the greater things for me–will doubtless do the lesser things also. He who gave His own blood to procure me a home in Heaven–will unquestionably supply me with all that is really profitable for me by the way. Ah, reader, there is no school for learning contentment that can be compared with Calvary and the foot of the cross!”

– J.C. Ryle

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No Spiritual Gains Without Pains

“Sanctification depends greatly on a diligent use of scriptural means. The ‘means of grace’ are such as Bible reading, private prayer, and regularly worshiping God in Church, wherein one hears the Word taught and participates in the Lord’s Supper. I lay it down as a simple matter of fact that no one who is careless about such things must ever expect to make much progress in sanctification. I can find no record of any eminent saint who ever neglected them. They are appointed channels through which the Holy Spirit conveys fresh supplies of grace to the soul and strengthens the work which He has begun in the inward man. Let men call this legal doctrine if they please, but I will never shrink from declaring my belief that there are no “spiritual gains without pains.” Our God is a God who works by means, and He will never bless the soul of that man who pretends to be so high and spiritual that he can get on without them.”

– J.C. Ryle, Holiness, p.25

He Can Never Do Too Much for Him That Died For Him

“Sanctification is the invariable result of that vital union with Christ which true faith gives to a Christian. ‘He who abides in Me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit’ (John 15:5). The branch which bears no fruit is no living branch of the vine. The union with Christ which produces no effect on heart and life is a mere formal union, which is worthless before God. The faith which has not a sanctifying influence on the character is no better than the faith of devils. It is a ‘dead faith, because it is alone.’ It is not the gift of God. It is not the faith of God’s elect. In short, where there is no sanctification of life, there is no real faith in Christ. True faith works by love. It constrains a man to live unto the Lord from a deep sense of gratitude for redemption. It makes him feel that he can never do too much for Him that died for him. Being much forgiven, he loves much. He whom the blood cleanses walks in the light. He who has real lively hope in Christ purifies himself even as He is pure (James 2:17–20; Titus 1:1; Gal. 5:6; 1 John 1:7; 1 John 3:3).”

– J.C. Ryle, Holiness, p.21

He is Not a Half Savior

“He who supposes that Jesus Christ only lived and died and rose again in order to provide justification and forgiveness of sins for His people has yet much to learn. Whether he knows it or not, he is dishonoring our blessed Lord and making Him only a half Savior. The Lord Jesus has undertaken everything that His people’s souls require: not only to deliver them from the guilt of their sins by His atoning death, but from the dominion of their sins, by placing in their hearts the Holy Spirit; not only to justify them, but also to sanctify them. He is, thus, not only their ‘righteousness,’ but their ‘sanctification’ (1 Cor. 1:30). Let us hear what the Bible says: ‘For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified.’ ‘Christ loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it.’ ‘Christ . . . gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.’ ‘Christ . . . bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness.’ Christ ‘has . . . reconciled [you] in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight’ (John 17:19; Eph. 5:25, 26; Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 2:24; Col. 1:22). Let the meaning of these five texts be carefully considered. If words mean anything, they teach that Christ undertakes the sanctification, no less than the justification, of His believing people. Both are alike provided for in that “everlasting covenant ordered in all things and sure,” of which the Mediator is Christ. In fact, Christ in one place is called ‘He who sanctifies,’ and His people ‘they who are sanctified’ (Heb. 2:11).”

– J.C. Ryle, Holiness, p.20

A Religion That Costs Nothing is Worth Nothing

“I grant it costs much to be a true Christian. But what sane man or woman can doubt that it is worth any cost to have the soul saved? When the ship is in danger of sinking, the crew think nothing of casting overboard the precious cargo. When a limb is mortified, a man will submit to any severe operation, and even to amputation, to save life. Surely a Christian should be willing to give up anything which stands between him and heaven. A religion that costs nothing is worth nothing! A cheap Christianity, without a cross, will prove in the end a useless Christianity, without a crown.”

– J.C. Ryle, Holiness, p.79