“Once again we see that the Christian family life is to imitate the divine family life. If our loving commitment to our Christian brothers and sisters is less than it should be, it can only mean that we have lost sight of the wonder of the cross. The cross is not only the centerpiece of the Christian faith, it is the pulse-beat of the Christian life. We never graduate beyond it. Where love is failing, our great need is not so much to be exhorted to love, but to be reacquainted with the Saviour’s selfless sacrifice for sinners.”
– Iam Hamilton, Let’s Study the Letters of John, p.45
See what the rappers of Lamp Mode Recordings have to say about the current state of Christian Hip-Hop.
(The Chopping Block // The State of CHH from Lamp Mode Recordings on Vimeo.)
“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
“A Christian man should seek to win the respect of the woman he is dating. His outlook is shaped by a husband’s duty to love his wife: ‘Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her’ (Ephesians 5:25). This does not require a man to fall in love on the first date. But if he is to love a woman, it is to be the kind of self-sacrificing love shown to us by the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus ‘gave himself up’ for his bride, the church, dying on the cross for our sins. Likewise, the Christian man is to put the spiritual and emotional well-being of a woman he is dating ahead of his own needs and desires. Unlike the norm for worldly men, the Christian is not to exploit the woman sexually, emotionally, or otherwise, but to minister to her needs so that she will be blessed.”
– Richard Phillips & Sharon Phillips, Holding Hands Holding Hearts, p.71-72
What does it mean to be “born again”? Does it matter if I am regenerate or not? How does one become born again? There is confusion on this topic still today. In his clear, straightforward bible exposition, J.C. Ryle answers these questions from Scripture in his book, Regeneration. In addition to answering these vital questions, he draws from the book of First John to give six marks of those who are born of the Spirit. Here are the marks:
1. A regenerate person does not commit sin as a habit.
2. A regenerate person believes that Jesus Christ is the only Savior by whom their soul can be pardoned and redeemed.
3. A regenerate person is a holy person.
4. A regenerate person has a special love for all true disciples of Christ.
5. A regenerate person does not make the world’s opinion their rule of right and wrong.
6. A regenerate person is very careful of their own soul.
He asks the reader to evaluate himself/herself in light of these characteristics. He encourages regenerate to grow in these all the more and warns the unregenerate to pray and ask the Spirit for the gift of a new heart and new nature. In the last chapter Bishop Ryle answers various objections in his day to his convictions on regeneration.
Overall, this was an edifying read. The first three chapters were concise, solid biblical teaching. In the last chapter on answering various objections, which was about half the book (over 50 pages!), he answers some interesting objections, but they mainly refer to the doctrine of baptismal regeneration and specifically how the Church of England adheres to it. (If you don’t know what baptismal regeneration is, it’s the doctrine that teaches that baptism is necessary for salvation.) I could see why some people might want to skip this chapter because it’s just some theological debate, but I thought it was helpful to see how Ryle interpreted and used Scripture to come to his sound, logical conclusions.
I would recommend this book to Christians and non-Christians alike. Regardless of your theological background, Ryle is very readable and I think this would be a good, short book to get a introduction to his writing.
If you are curious to get more excepts of this book, I don’t have too many quotes from this book on my blog, but you can find some here (and many other encouraging J.C. Ryle quotes).
“It is an extraordinary thing that those who profess to care so much about Christ should know and care so little about the Holy Spirit. Christians are aware of the difference it would make if, after all, it transpired that there had never been an incarnation or an atonement. They know that then they would be lost, for they would have no Saviour. But many Christians have really no idea what difference it would make if there were no Holy Spirit in the world. Whether in that case they, or the Church, would suffer in any way they just do not know. Surely something is amiss here. How can we justify neglecting the ministry of Christ’s appointed agent in this way? Is it not a hollow fraud to say that we honour Christ when we ignore, and by ignoring dishonour, the one whom Christ has sent to us as His deputy, to take His place, and care for us on His behalf? Ought we not to concern ourselves more about the Holy Spirit than we do?
“But is the work of the Holy Spirit really important?
“Important! Why, were not for the work of the Holy Spirit there would be no gospel, no faith, no Church, no Christianity in the world at all.”
– J.I. Packer, Knowing God, p.60-61