“To live the life of daily faith in the Son of God, and to be daily drawing out of His fullness the promised grace and strength which He has laid up for His people–this is the grand secret of progressive sanctification.” — J.C. Ryle
I’m reading Holiness, by the Anglican J.C. Ryle. It’s an old book I’ve had recommended to me several times in the last few years, and so I’m finally getting started on it. It’s not a fast read for me. I read through a few pages, underlining and marking up…and then it’s time to change a diaper, or to make lunch, or to fold clothes. So far, though, it has definitely been worth the time. May I learn to depend daily on Christ to make me fit for heaven. (Ryle points out that without sanctification, we probably wouldn’t even enjoy heaven–it would be too holy for us.)
A convicting quote, also from chapter two: “What are our tastes, and choices, and likings, and inclinations? This is the great testing question. It matters little what we wish, and what we hope, and what we desire to be before we die. Where are we now? What are we doing? Are we sanctified or not? If not, the fault is all our own.” We have to continually examine our own lifestyles. Are we living according to what we talk about? Or are bad habits creeping into our lives?
Sanctification isn’t a once-and-done thing, Ryle reminds us. That’s justification. Once we are made right with God by His grace, no one can change that. But sanctification is about the daily choices. Should I watch that? Listen to that? Wear that?
Can we make the right choices always? Of course not! We aren’t perfect until we reach heaven! “We must go to Him (Christ) as sinners, with no plea but that of utter need, and cast our souls on Him by faith,” Ryle says (p. 26 of my edition). Christ is the one who sanctifies us. The Holy Spirit renews us daily and helps us make those right choices.
For this type of heavy read, I like to have a physical copy to mark up. But if you’d like to read it for free, it’s online HERE with an introduction by Martin Lloyd-Jones.