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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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GOD CALLS HIS PEOPLE TO BE HOLY

The problem of lax and hypocritical Christianity is not a new one, and one of the best treatments of the entire subject is a classic [Holiness] written by J.C. Ryle (1816–1900), who served as the Anglican Bishop of Liverpool for twenty years…

Ryle’s work is convicting because he does not appeal to silly gimmicks and other manmade answers to the problem of sin. He appeals over and over to Scripture, to the Word of the living God, and he drives the Word of God home through careful and direct application. If you are complacent in your sin and do not want to be disturbed in your enjoyment of it, do not read Ryle [Holiness].

(Keith Mathison, A Christian Classic on Sanctification, Ligonier Ministries)

I also recommend The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges and The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul. – Samuel

 

PROGRESSIVE SANCTIFICATION

Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:23 ESV)

HolinessThe spiritual life of a Christian is progressive in its character. A continuing growth in the grace of Christ is the best confirmation of its authenticity. Genuine sanctification increases and shows that its foundation is deep by its steady progress towards holiness. Holiness may be slow in appearing. Advancement may not be visible from one day to the next, but in time the increase becomes apparent. In the various seasons of life, the development of sanctification may often seem delayed, diminished, or weak. God, however, will give us help in our time of need. He will lead us by the hand and with His right hand He shall uphold us. (Psalm 139:10 ESV) For the work that God has begun will certainly be brought to completion. (Philippians 1:6 ESV)

END OF THE GOSPEL

Thomas Boston:

Thomas BostonThe doctrines of the gospel believed with the heart, teach us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present world. As Christ is the end of the law, so I may say, the law is the end of the gospel; for it is the great design of the gospel revelation, to bring back sinners to that righteousness and holiness which the law requires. The gospel never gains its end among a people, till a strain of piety and holiness run through their whole lives. (Works, 3:377)

THE MEASURE OF RELIGION

Bishop J. C. RyleJ.C. Ryle:

“Let us never measure our religion by that of others, and think we are doing enough if we have gone beyond our neighbors.” (Holiness)

Preaching is an Awesome Responsibility

Charles H. SpurgeonCharles H. Spurgeon:

“Often, when I come in at the door and my eyes fall on this vast congregation, I feel a tremor go through me to think that I should have to speak to you all and be, in some measure, accountable for your future state. Unless I preach the Gospel faithfully and with all my heart, your blood will be required at my hands. Do not wonder, therefore, that when I am weak and sick, I feel my head swim when I stand up to speak to you, and my heart is often faint within me. But I do have this joy at the back of it all—God does set many sinners free in this place! Some people reported that I was mourning that there were no conversions. Brothers and Sisters, if you were all to be converted tonight, I should mourn for the myriads outside! That is true, but I praise the Lord for the many who are converted here. When I came last Tuesday to see converts, I had 21 whom I was able to propose to the Church—and it will be the same next Tuesday, I do not doubt. God is saving souls! I am not preaching in vain. I am not despondent about that matter—liberty is given to the captives and there will be liberty for some of them, tonight! I wonder who it will be? Some of you young women over yonder, I trust. Some who have dropped in here, tonight, for the first time. Oh, may this first opportunity of your hearing the Word in this place be the time of beginning a new life which shall never end—a life of holiness, a life of peace with God!” (1894, Sermon #2371)

He Chose Us to be Holy

Holiness“May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness,” (2 Peter 1:2-8 ESV)

God is calling to Himself a holy people. Those whom He chooses receive His very great and precious promises. Election is the only way by which we escape the corruption of this world. God’s glory is displayed by enabling those whom He calls to live a life of holiness. The chosen are called to live a virtuous life. God has decreed that without holiness no man shall see God. The elect of God are chosen to be holy. God does not choose a man because he is holy. Holiness is the result of being chosen by God. God’s only motive in election is His own glory and excellence. There is nothing in us – left to ourselves – that merits our salvation. “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:10-18 ESV) Continue reading

Pursuing Holiness

As you read these excellent comments by Andrew Murray today, I would like to add that one of the best tests of holiness is to find if it produces an increasing humility in you. Humility is needed to allow God’s holiness to dwell in you. Counterfeit holiness is identified by its lack of humility. Andrew Murray writes:

“But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation: because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15,16)

And what work do we have to do to receive this holiness of Christ through the Holy Spirit? “God bath chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth”. The holiness of Christ becomes ours through faith. Naturally, there must first be the desire to become holy. We must cleanse ourselves from all pollutions of flesh and spirit by confessing them–giving them up to God–and having them cleansed away in the blood. Then, holiness can be perfected. Then, in belief of the truth that Christ Himself is our sanctification, we have to take and receive from Him what is prepared in His fullness for us. We must be deeply convinced that Christ is wholly and alone our sanctification as He is our justification. We must believe that He will actually and powerfully work in us what is pleasing to God. In this faith, we must know that we have sufficient power for holiness, and that our work is to receive this power from Him by faith every day. He gives His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, in us to communicate the holy life of Jesus to us.

Young Christian, the Trinity is three times holy. And this Trinity is the God who sanctifies you. The Father sanctifies by giving Jesus to you and confirming you in Jesus. The Son sanctifies by becoming your sanctification and giving you the Spirit. The Spirit sanctifies by revealing the Son in you, preparing you as a temple for the indwelling of God, and making the Son live in you. Be holy, for God is holy.

Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, what thanks will I render to You for the gift of Your Son as my sanctification, and that I am sanctified in Him. And what thanks for the Spirit of sanctification to live in me, and transplant the holiness of Jesus into me. Lord, help me to understand this correctly, and to long for the experience of it. Amen. (“Holiness”)

Holiness

 

 

 

Quoting J. C. Ryle:

Holiness is the habit of being of one mind with God, according as we find His mind described in Scripture. It is the habit of agreeing in God’s judgment, hating what He hates, loving what He loves, and measuring everything in this world by the standard of His Word. (Ryle, Holiness, 34)

Moving Beyond The Milk

Quoting Keith Mathison:

In the early centuries of the church’s existence, Christian apologists would sometimes appeal to the distinctively holy lives of Christians as evidence for the truth of Christianity. Would such an appeal be of any use today? According to numerous surveys, the behavior of professing Christians is not discernibly different from the behavior of those who profess other religions or no religion at all. The phrase one often hears on the lips of pagans who observe contemporary Christian behavior is: “The church is full of hypocrites.” This should not be. We worship a holy God who calls His people to be holy and who has provided the means by which they may be holy.

The problem of lax and hypocritical Christianity is not a new one, and one of the best treatments of the entire subject is a classic written by J.C. Ryle (1816–1900), who served as the Anglican Bishop of Liverpool for twenty years. Ryle was a deeply committed and non-compromising evangelical Christian. In fact, Charles Spurgeon referred to him as an “evangelical champion.” His book Holiness has been reprinted numerous times since its original publication in 1879. It is deservedly considered a Christian classic on the subject of sanctification. It ranks up there with the work of John Owen on the mortification of sin.

I first read Bishop Ryle’s Holiness some twenty years ago. The book was deeply convicting and made a lasting impact on my thinking. Ryle’s work is convicting because he does not appeal to silly gimmicks and other manmade answers to the problem of sin. He appeals over and over to Scripture, to the Word of the living God, and he drives the Word of God home through careful and direct application. If you are complacent in your sin and do not want to be disturbed in your enjoyment of it, do not read Ryle. This is a book about the necessity of sanctification, the necessity of holiness. It deals with weighty subjects, the weightiest in fact: God, sin, Jesus Christ, the gospel, the Holy Spirit, justification, sanctification, heaven, and hell. It is a book for those who want to move beyond milk and get to the meat of the Word.

J.C. Ryle: “Are We Ready For Holiness?”

J. C. Ryle

From the writings of J.C. Ryle:

We ask that God would make us holy. It is a good request indeed. But are we prepared to be sanctified by any process that God in His wisdom may call on us to pass through? Are we ready to be purified by affliction, weaned from the world by bereavements, drawn nearer to God by losses, sicknesses, and sorrow? (Commentary, Matthew 19)

Theology Made Simple By A. W. Tozer

A. W. Tozer

Aiden Wilson Tozer was born April 21, 1897 on a small farm in Western Pennsylvania, the third of six children. And although he would inspire millions with his preaching and writing, he was given very little education during his childhood. I share this quote from him because he states this in a simple manner and yet it is so profound:

He remembers our frame and knows that we are dust. He may sometimes chasten us, it is true, but even this He does with a smile, the proud, tender smile of a Father who is bursting with pleasure over an imperfect but promising son who is coming every day to look more and more like the One whose child he is.

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