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Archive for the ‘holiness’ Category

A set of rules is unable to motivate and conform us to holiness.

You have to know that you are loved by God. Otherwise you will always have fear motivating you i.e. if I don’t do this he will be mad and punish me.

Fear cannot motivate you to genuine holiness. You must know that you are loved and that the outcome is assured – so you can obey with your whole heart.

This knowledge will propel one to obedience, knowing that you are loved and believing that God has given you what is needed in terms of enabling.

If you not assured of God’s love for you then you will fall into a sinful lifestyle. Duty cannot motivate in the face of temptation but love in response to grace (God’s love and enabling) is more motivating.

Source: ‘The Gospel and Sanctification: How Does Your Garden Grow?’  Providence Church in Temecula, CA is a congregation of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

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A set of rules is unable to motivate and conform us to holiness.

You have to know that you are loved by God. Otherwise you will always have fear motivating you i.e. if I don’t do this he will be mad and punish me.

Fear cannot motivate you to genuine holiness. You must know that you are loved and that the outcome is assured – so you can obey with your whole heart.

This knowledge will propel one to obedience, knowing that you are loved and believing that God has given you what is needed in terms of enabling.

If you not assured of God’s love for you then you will fall into a sinful lifestyle. Duty cannot motivate in the face of temptation but love in response to grace (God’s love and enabling) is more motivating.

Source: no longer have the details of the source.

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Snippets. More can be found here:

http://andrewgroves.s3.amazonaws.com/Classic Writers/Holiness – The Ruler of the Waves (J.C. Ryle).pdf

… Say not, because your heart is lifted up just now with a strong sense of Christ’s mercy, ‘I shall never forget Him as long as I live.’ Oh, learn to abate something of this flattering estimate of yourself. You do not know yourself thoroughly. …

… I do want young Christians to understand what they must expect to find in themselves. I want to prevent their being stumbled and puzzled by the discovery of their own weakness and infirmity. I want them to see that they may have true faith and grace, in spite of all the devil’s whispers to the contrary, though they feel within many doubts and fears. …

… I dare be sure your heart has sometimes been tossed to and fro like the waves in a storm. You have found it agitated like the waters of the troubled sea when it cannot rest. … Jesus can say to your heart, whatever may be its ailment, ‘Peace, be still!’

What though your conscience within be lashed by the recollection of countless transgressions, and torn by every gust of temptation? What though the remembrance of past hideous profligacy be grievous unto you, and the burden intolerable? What though your heart seems full of evil, and sin appears to drag you whither it will like a slave? What though the devil rides to and fro over your soul like a conqueror, and tells you it is vain to struggle against him, there is no hope for you?

I tell you there is One who can give even you pardon and peace. My Lord and Master Jesus Christ can rebuke the devil’s raging, can calm even your soul’s misery, and say even to you, ‘Peace, be still!’ He can scatter that cloud of guilt which now weighs you down. He can bid despair depart. He can drive fear away. He can remove the spirit of bondage, and fill you with the spirit of adoption. Satan may hold your soul like a strong man armed, but Jesus is stronger than he, and when He commands, the prisoners must go free. Oh, if any troubled reader wants a calm within, let him go this day to Jesus Christ, and all shall yet be well!

… there is comfort in Christ. He can speak peace to wounded hearts as easily as calm troubled seas. He can rebuke rebellious wills as powerfully as raging winds. He can make storms of sorrow abate, and silence tumultuous passions, as surely as He stopped the Galilean storm. He can say to the heaviest anxiety, ‘Peace, be still!’ The floods of care and tribulation may be mighty, but Jesus sits upon the water floods, and is mightier than the waves of the sea (Ps. 93:4). The winds of trouble may howl fiercely round you, but Jesus holds them in His hand, and can stay them when He lists. Oh, if any reader of this paper is broken-hearted and care-worn and sorrowful, let him go to Jesus Christ, and cry to Him and he shall be refreshed.

 

source: J.C. Ryle “Holiness’” (Chapter 12: The Ruler of the Waves)

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As God’s Spirit works new creation in me and in the midst of the brokenness that comes under his providence, with all my heart I long to grow in grace.

There is such a thing as growing in grace which is:

evidence of spiritual health and prosperity

is a way to be happy in Christ

causes us to be of usefulness to others

pleases God

a thing for which I am accountable

Growing in grace has the following marks:

Increased humility

Increased faith and love toward the Lord Jesus

Increased holiness of life and conversation

Increased spirituality of taste and mind

Increased love

Increased zeal and diligence in trying to do good to souls

The means of growing in grace:

Diligence in the use of private means of grace – prayer, reading, meditation and self-examination

Carefulness in the use of public means of grace – uniting with the people of God in common prayer and praise, the preaching of the Word, the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.

Seeking friends who will stir us up about our prayers, reading, employment of time, souls, salvation and world to come.

Regular and habitual communion with the Lord Jesus.

Watchfulness over our conduct in the little matters of everyday life. Our tempers, our tongues, the discharge of our several relations of life, our employment of time – each and all must be vigilantly attended to if we wish our souls to prosper. Life is made up of days, and days of hours, and the little things of every hour are never so little as to be beneath the care of a Christian. When a tree begins to decay at root or heart, the mischief is first seen at the extreme end of the little branches. … Let others despise us, if they like, and call us precise and over careful. Let us patiently hold on our way, remembering that ‘we serve a precise God’ (Richard Rogers 1550-1618) … We must aim to have a Christianity which, like the sap of a tree, runs through every twig and leaf of our character, and sanctifies all. This is one way to grow!

 

source: J.C. Ryle “Holiness’” (Chapter 6: Growth)

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Sanctification is that inward spiritual work which the Lord Jesus Christ works in a man by the Holy Ghost, when He calls him to be a true believer.

He not only washes him from his sins in His own blood, but He also separates him from his natural love of sin and the world, puts a new principle in his heart and makes him practically godly in life.

The instrument by which the Spirit effects this work is generally the Word of God, though He sometimes uses afflictions and providential visitations ‘without the Word’ (1 Peter 3:1).

Sanctification … is the invariable result of that vital union with Christ which true faith gives to a Christian. ‘He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit’ (John 15:5).

Sanctification … is the outcome and inseparable consequence of regeneration. He that is born again and made a new creature receives a new nature and a new principle and always lives a new life.

Sanctification … is the only certain evidence of that indwelling of the Holy Spirit which is essential to salvation.

Sanctification … is the only sure mark of God’s election. … It is expressly written that they are ‘elect through sanctification’; ‘chosen to salvation through sanctification’; ‘predestinated to be conformed to the image of God’s Son’, and ‘chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world that they should be holy’. Hence, when St Paul saw the working ‘faith’ and labouring ‘love’ and patient ‘hope’ of the Thessalonian believers, he says, ‘I know your election of God’ (1 Peter 1:2; 2 Thess. 2:13; Rom. 8:29; Eph. 1:4; 1 Thess. 1:3,4).

Sanctification … is a thing which depends greatly on a diligent use of scriptural means. When I speak of ‘means’, I have in view Bible reading, private prayer, regular attendance on public worship, regular hearing of God’s Word and regular reception of 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.

Sanctification … pleases God. This may seem wonderful, and yet it is true. The holiest actions of the holiest saint that ever lived are all more or less full of defects and imperfections. They are either wrong in their motive or defective in their performance, and in themselves are nothing better than ‘splendid sins’, deserving God’s wrath and condemnation. … however, the Bible distinctly teaches that the holy actions of a sanctified man, although imperfect, are pleasing in the sight of God. … Let this never be forgotten, for it is a very comfortable doctrine. … our Father in heaven pleased with the poor performances of His believing children. He looks at the motive, principle and intention of their actions, and not merely at their quantity and quality.

Sanctification … is absolutely necessary, in order to train and prepare us for heaven. … To be really happy in heaven, it is clear and plain that we must be somewhat trained and made ready for heaven while we are on earth. … The favourite idea of many, that dying men need nothing except absolution and forgiveness of sins to fit them for their great change, is a profound delusion.

source: J.C. Ryle “Holiness’” (Chapter 2: Sanctification)

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I have just started each night when I go to bed to read from J.C. Ryle’s classic work ‘Holiness’. Ryle argues that the first step to holiness is to rightly understand sin. I’m going to try to blog what I read.

Sin’s Definition

I say, furthermore, that ‘a sin’ … consists in doing, saying, thinking or imagining anything that is not in perfect conformity with the mind and law of God.

Sin’s Extent

I am convinced that the greatest proof of the extent and power of sin is the pertinacity with which it cleaves to man, even after he is converted and has become the subject of the Holy Ghost’s operations. To use the language of the ninth Article: ‘This infection of nature doth remain – yea, even in them that are regenerate.’ So deeply planted are the roots of human corruption, that even after we are born again, renewed, washed, sanctified, justified and made living members of Christ, these roots remain alive in the bottom of our hearts and, like the leprosy in the walls of the house, we never get rid of them until the earthly house of this tabernacle is dissolved.

Sin, no doubt, in the believer’s heart, has no longer dominion. It is checked, controlled, mortified and crucified by the expulsive power of the new principle of grace. The life of a believer is a life of victory and not of failure.

But the very struggles which go on within his bosom, the fight that he finds it needful to fight daily, the watchful jealousy which he is obliged to exercise over his inner man, the contest between the flesh and the spirit, the inward ‘groanings’ which no one knows but he who has experienced them – all, all testify to the same great truth, all show the enormous power and vitality of sin. … Happy is that believer who understands it and, while he rejoices in Christ Jesus, has no confidence in the flesh and, while he says, ‘Thanks be unto God who giveth us the victory,’ never forgets to watch and pray lest he fall into temptation!

J.C Ryle mentions a prayer from the Prayer Book that is put in the mouth of every churchman before he goes up to the communion table:

The remembrance of our misdoings is grievous unto us; the burden is intolerable. Have mercy upon us, have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; for Thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, forgive us all that is past.

source: J.C. Ryle “Holiness’” (Chapter 1: Sin)

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Matthew Henry says that people have two basic problems:

1. Our sinful acts which offends the justice of God

2. Our sinful essence inherited from Adam which offends the holiness of God.

The Lord Jesus, taking on himself our judgment, removes the offence of our sinful acts.

His giving us the Spirit, causing us to become new creations, removes the offence of our old man, our sinful essence.

Guilt and corruption are our two great discouragements when we stand before God. By the guilt of the sins committed by us we have become obnoxious to the justice of God; by the power of the sin that dwells in us we have become odious to the holiness of God.

Source: Matthew Henry commenting on Zechariah 3.

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