By J. C.
The Doctrine of Sanctification – Part 4, conclusion
1. First of all, let us all awake to a sense of the
perilous state of many professing Christians. “Without holiness, no man
shall see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14). Then what an enormous
amount of so-called religion there is which is perfectly useless! What an
immense proportion of church-goers are in the broad road that leads to
destruction! The thought is awful, overwhelming. Oh, that preachers and
teachers would open their eyes and realize the condition of souls around
them! Oh, that men could be persuaded to “flee from the wrath to come”! If
unsanctified souls can be saved and go to heaven, the Bible is not true. Yet
the Bible is true, and cannot lie! What must the end be!
2. Let us make sure work of our own condition, and
never rest till we feel and know that we are sanctified ourselves. 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. What are we now? What are we doing? Are we
sanctified or not? If not, the fault is all our own.
3. If we would be sanctified, our course is clear and
plain: we must begin with Christ. We must go to Him as sinners, with no plea
but that of utter need, and cast our souls on Him by faith, for peace and
reconciliation with God. We must place ourselves in His hands, as in the
hands of a good physician, and cry to Him for mercy and grace. We must wait
for nothing to bring with us as a recommendation. The very first step
towards sanctification, no less than justification, is to come with faith to
Christ. We must first live, and then work.
4. If we would grow in holiness and become more
sanctified, we must continually go on as we began, and be ever making fresh
applications to Christ. He is the Head from which every member must be
supplied (Eph. 4:16). 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. Believers who seem at a standstill are generally neglecting
close communion with Jesus, and so grieving the Spirit. He that prayed,
“Sanctify them,” the last night before His crucifixion, is infinitely
willing to help everyone who by faith applies to Him for help and desires to
be made more holy.
5. Let us not expect too much from our own hearts here
below. At our best, we shall find in ourselves daily cause for humiliation,
and discover that we are needy debtors to mercy and grace every hour. The
more light we have, the more we shall see our own imperfection. Sinners we
were when we began, and sinners we shall find ourselves as we go on:
renewed, pardoned, justified, yet sinners to the very last. Our absolute
perfection is yet to come, and the expectation of it is one reason why we
should long for heaven.
6. Finally, let us never be ashamed of making much of
sanctification, and contending for a high standard of holiness. While some
are satisfied with a miserably low degree of attainment, and others are not
ashamed to live on without any holiness at all, let us stand fast in the old
paths, follow after eminent holiness ourselves, and recommend it boldly to
others. This is the only way to be really happy.
As a general rule, in the long run of life, it will be
found true that “sanctified” people are the happiest people on earth. They
have solid comforts which the world can neither give nor take away. It is
written, “Great peace have they that love thy law” (Ps.
119:165); and again: “My yoke is easy and my burden is light”
(Matt. 11:30). But it is also written, “There is no peace, saith
the Lord, unto the wicked” (Is. 48:22).
J. C. Ryle on
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