Holiness ~ J.C. Ryle ~ 1877

Well I’m behind others who are reading Holiness by J.C. Ryle in the blog world but that way I can glean from the book and their reviews and hopefully comprehend the book better. The full text of Ryle’s original work on Holiness is included in J. I. Packer’s book Faithfulness and Holiness. Here’s a quote from the book that I wanted to share from chapter 2 on Sin…

“In the next place, a right view of sin is one of the best antidotes to the overstrained theories of Perfection, of which we hear so much in these times. I shall say but little about this, and in saying it I trust I shall not give offence. If those who press on us perfection mean nothing more than an all-round consistency, and a careful attention to all the graces which make up the Christian character, reason would that we should not only bear with them, but agree with them entirely. By all means let us aim high. But if men really mean to tell us that here in this world a believer can attain to entire freedom from sin, live for years in unbroken and uninterrupted communion with God, and feel for months together not so much as one evil thought, I must honestly say that such an opinion appears to me very unscriptural. – I go even further. I say that the opinion is very dangerous to him that holds it, and very likely to depress, discourage, and keep back inquirers after salvation. I cannot find the slightest warrant in God’s Word for expecting such perfection as this while we are in the body. …Christ alone is without sin; and that all we, the rest, though baptized and born again in Christ, offend in many things;

…we do not love God so much as we are bound to do, with all our hearts, mind, and power; we do not fear God so much as we ought to do; we do not pray to God but with many and great imperfections. We give, forgive, believe, live, and hope imperfectly; we speak, think, and do imperfectly; we fight against the devil, the world, and the flesh imperfectly. Let us, therefore, not be ashamed to confess plainly our state of imperfections.”

James 5:16 ~ “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.”

I John 1:8-10 ~ “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

I am imperfect and I prove it many times a day but thanks be to God that He keeps leading me forward and He continues His work of sanctification on me.

7 thoughts on “Holiness ~ J.C. Ryle ~ 1877

  1. Great quote!! I’m with you: I’m imperfect and will prove it many times in a day, but thanks be to God!

    The one thing that we all do–sin–is the one thing we don’t want to admit to doing to the extent that we do. But the things that we don’t do as much as we are “bound” to do–love God, fear God, pray to God, etc.–are the things that we boast about doing most. Even though we know that we will not be perfect in this world, it does not prevent us from trying our best to present ourselves that way to others. We miss out on so much grace when we are afraid to confess our sins to one another and to God.

  2. That is so very true…and a quote that gets right to the point. As a former, at one time seriously depressed perfectionist, I have learned this lesson but do need reminders now and then, being the imperfect (smile) human that I am! I do love J.I. Packer’s work, at least the two I’ve read so far: Knowing God, and Prayer…I’ll have to get this one too, I see.

  3. I cannot find the slightest warrant in God’s Word for expecting such perfection as this while we are in the body. …Christ alone is without sin; and that all we, the rest, though baptized and born again in Christ, offend in many things;

    Great Quote.

    I may need to add this book to my Fall Reading Challenge list!

  4. Somebody should compile a list of the blog postings on this book–I am drinking all of the insights up, in the interim of not being able to do the read along. Thanks for sharing. And please continue.

  5. “Nobody’s perfect”. Something every human readily will accept about themselves and openly admit. I also agree with it.

    I believe we go to the polar opposite with this type of thinking. “Everybody is entitled to one mistake!” Is cried aloud often. Who in the world said we are entitled to it? Even if it was so, how long ago did we use up ours.

    We justify our insults to God with our actions/words far too often. The Christian culture seems to have purposefully tried to camouflage itself within the World. Remembering that God is Holy is our first step towards holiness. It is the only trait of God raised to the “nth” degree biblically. It is something He demanded the tribes recognize within Him. Two young men, believers. Taught about God since their birth. Well versed in His customs and law. They decided to offer incense with their own little twist….teenage experimentation. They were incinerated by God on the spot. God explained, “I will be regarded as Holy”. We seem to be behaving much like these young men. Twisting God’s dictates to fit our current social situation. Very difficult to find the light in us it seems these days.

    Hi Rick, Thanks for your comments. I too have never been fond of our community trying to justify sin. (Never liked the bumper sticker “Christians aren’t perfect just forgiven”). I’m pretty sure that is not the point Ryle is making. One thing I know for sure, at the end of the day no matter what, we still need a Savior. That’s what the Bible is showing us, our desperate need to be reconciled to God and why the blood Christ shed for us is the only means to anything good in our lives and the sacrifice that God is pleased with. Hopefully we will shine brighter and brighter in this dark world of ours. Blessings…

  6. Without a doubt, Ryle hits the nail on the head. J.C. Ryle’s writings are so clear cut and sharp, that by while reading them, you feel as if he talking directly to you. I discovered Ryle a few years back and have come to appreciate his no-nonsense, straightforward approach to writing and exposition of Scripture. Holiness is such a convicting yet encouraging book! 🙂

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