Category Archives: J. C. Ryle

The Bible and Advent

Study the Word of God

Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

Collect for Proper 28, 1979 Book of Common Prayer

During this season of Advent, we renew our commitment to read God’s word faithfully and diligent in the coming Christian year. We recognize that our growth in Christ is contingent on faithfully reading, consistently meditating, and diligently practicing God’s revealed will in Holy Scripture (Psalm 119: 97-104).

Bible study and meditation is the diligent and careful consideration of God’s Word for the purpose of growing in the knowledge of salvation and in personal, practical holiness. We use own rational abilities combined with Spirit-led illumination and heart-felt participation to engage God’s Spirit-inspired Word. We study the Bible to learn God’s ways, grow into God’s character, and obey God’s commands (2 Tim. 3:16). “God has ordained that the eye-opening work of his Spirit always be combined with the mind-informing work of his Word.” [John Piper, A Godward Life, Book Two (Sisters, OR: Multnomah Press, 1999), 184].

Let us arm ourselves with a thorough knowledge of the Word of God. Let us read our Bibles more diligently than ever, and become familiar with every part of them. Let the Word dwell in us richly. Let us beware of anything which would make us give less time and less heart to the perusal of its sacred pages. The Bible is the sword of the Spirit – let it never be laid aside. The Bible is the true lantern for a dark and cloudy time – let us beware of traveling without its light.”

J.C. Ryle, Warnings to the Churches, “Idolatry”, 167.

HT: J.C. Ryle Quotes

Oh, To Be Pardoned and Changed!

Two Distinct Things

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Titus 3:4-8 (ESV)

The truth of the gospel: salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. My deliverance from sin is not based on my performance, but based on Christ’s performance on the Cross. Faith tells me that what Christ did for me on the cross will be worked in me by the Holy Spirit preparing me for glory in the Father’s eternal presence. “I have been saved from the penalty of my sin; I am being saved from the power of my sin; and I shall be saved from the very presence of sin.” [R. C. Lucas, “The Christian’s Inheritance,” Daily Thoughts from Keswick: A Year’s Daily Readings, ed. Herbert F. Stevenson (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1980), 141.]

It ought always to be remembered that there are two distinct things which the Lord Jesus Christ does for every sinner whom He undertakes to save. He washes him from his sins in His own blood, and gives him a free pardon: this his justification. He puts the Holy Spirit into his heart, and makes him an entirely new man: this is his regeneration.

The two things are both absolutely necessary to salvation. The change of heart is as necessary as the pardon; and the pardon is as necessary as the change. Without the pardon we have no right or title to heaven. Without the change we should not be ready to enjoy heaven, even it we got there.

J.C. Ryle, Regeneration (Fearn, Tain, Ross-shire, Scotland: Christian Heritage, 2007), 22.

HT: J. C. Ryle Quotes

Standing Before God Himself

Evangelical Essentials (Part Eight)

So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

2 Cor 5:9-10 (ESV)

No man ever said, at the end of his days, ‘I have read my Bible too much, I have thought of God too much, I have prayed too much, I have been too careful with my soul.’

J.C. Ryle

HT: J.C. Ryle Quotes

Evangelicals believe in a final judgment because scripture frequently affirms the fact that there will be a verdict by God in which he decides the eternal destiny of believers and unbelievers. All will stand before the great judgment seat of Christ in resurrected bodies and hear the Lord’s declaration of their unending fate.

If we have given our lives to Christ, then we can be assured that Christ’s righteousness has covered our guilty stains and that we will be delivered from condemnation.

It is important to realize that this judgment of believers will be a judgment to evaluate and bestow various degrees of reward, but the fact that they will face such a judgment should never cause believers to fear that they will be eternally condemned. Jesus says, “He who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment but has passed from death to life” (John 5:24). Here “judgment” must be understood in the sense of eternal condemnation and death, since it is contrasted with passing from death into life. At the day of final judgment more than at any other time, it is of utmost importance that “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:1).

[Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994), 1143.]

As Christians, we begin understanding the final judgment by acknowledging that we are accountable to God: we will be judged for our faithfulness to the gospel, behavior in his name, and the quality of our ministries. We must give an account to God for the gifts, opportunities, and abilities that God granted us in this life (1 Cor. 3:10-15). We will have to explain how we used God’s gifts for his glory. This reverential awe is a sure cure for our carelessness. It is dangerous to claim a relationship with Jesus, while no genuine fruit is manifesting in our lives. We want to be diligent that we are actually walking in the “works that have been prepared for us to do” (Eph. 2:10).

When God asks what we did with our lives, will we be able to say, “I invested in people, served the church, reached out to the world, and advance the kingdom to the best of my ability?” Or  will we have to admit, “I wasted my life playing all hundred levels of Warcraft, watched every S.E.C. football game since 1985, and alienated everyone around me.”

As Evangelicals, the doctrine of final judgment grants us a a healthy fear of God and a determination to be faithful with our limited time on this earth.