Sunday, August 06, 2006

Recommended Reading: Holiness

I thought I might whet your appetite to read a wonderful book by J.C. Ryle entitled Holiness. In this book, he has a chapter devoted solely to the topic of holiness, which is often greatly misunderstood in evangelical churches today. In this chapter, he poses a series of thoughts, beginning with a simple question, "Are you holy" (p. 44)? He continues:
I do not ask whether you attend your church regularly, whether you have been baptized, and received the Lord's Supper, whether you have the name of Christian. I ask something more than all this: are you holy, or are you not?

I do not ask whether you approved of holiness in others, whether you like to read the lives of holy people and to talk of holy things, and to have on your table holy books, whether you mean to be holy, and hope you will be holy some day. I ask something further: are you yourself holy this very day, or are you not?

And why do I ask so straitly, and press the question so strongly? I do it because the Scripture says, "Without holiness no man shall see the Lord." It is written, it is not my fancy; it is the Bible, not my private opinion; it is the word of God, not man: "Without holiness no man shall see the Lord" (Heb. 12:14).

Alas, what searching, sifting words are these! What thoughts come across my mind, as I write them down! I look at the world and see the greater part of it lying in wickedness. I look at professing Christians and see the vast majority having nothing of Christianity but the name. I turn to the Bible and I hear the Spirit saying, "Without holiness no man shall see the Lord."

Surely it is a text that ought to make us consider our ways and search our hearts. Surely it should raise within us solemn thoughts and send us to prayer.
So...I ask you the same question. Are you holy? This is the question that I have asked myself recently, and I have sought to live more like my Savior.

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