Holiness

Holiness

J. C. Ryle

He who wishes to attain right views about Christian holiness, must begin by examining the vast and solemn subject of sin. He must dig down very low if he would build high. A mistake here is most mischievous. Wrong views about holiness are generally traceable to wrong views about human corruption.

Grant that mankind has sprung from one pair, and that this pair fell as Genesis three tells us, and the state of human nature everywhere is easily accounted for. Deny it, as many do, and you are at once involved in inexplicable difficulties. In a word, the conformity and universality of human corruption supply one of the most unanswerable instances of the enormous difficulties of infidelity.

Holiness touches the deepest parts of Christian personality. It touches the emotions and causes the believer to hate what God hates and to love what God loves. Holiness influences one to eschew the evil and cleave to that which is good. It was holiness that led the Apostle Paul to say, “I delight in the law of God after the inward man… In me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing” (Rom. 7:18-22). Holiness inspired the Psalmist to write, “I esteem all Thy precepts concerning all things to be right, and I hate every false way” (Psa. 119:128). Holiness effects the will so that it refuses to allow sin to have dominion (Rom. 6:9-14), and that, instead, every thought might be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. Holiness so effects the will that it makes the Christian a rebel to sin and a willing captive to Christ.

Holiness influences the mind so that the mind is purged from pride and arrogance and imbibes the lowliness and meekness of Christ. Holiness leads the believer to mind not high things but to condescend to men of low estate (Rom. 12:16).