Tag Archives: J. C. Ryle

The transforming power of the Spirit!

The transforming power of the Spirit!

(J. C. Ryle, “The Lord’s Garden”)

“To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints.” Romans 1:7

Believers are separated from the world by the effectual working of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit calls them out from the world, and separates them as effectually as if a wall were built between them and it. He puts in them . . .

new hearts,
new minds,
new tastes,
new desires,
new sorrows,
new joys,
new wishes,
new pleasures,
new longings.

He gives them . . .

new eyes,
new ears,
new affections,
new opinions.

He makes them new creatures. They are born again–and with a new birth they begin a new existence. Mighty indeed is the transforming power of the Spirit!

The fruits and effects He produces

The fruits and effects He produces

(J.C. Ryle, “The Holy Spirit”)

“When He comes, He will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment.” (John 16:8)

Where the Holy Spirit is, there will always be deep conviction of sin — and true repentance for it. It is His special office to convict of sin.

He shows the exceeding holiness of God.

He teaches the exceeding corruption and infirmity of our nature.

He strips us of our blind self-righteousness.

He opens our eyes to our awful guilt, folly and danger.

He fills the heart with sorrow, contrition, and abhorrence for sin — as the abominable thing which God hates.

He who knows nothing of all this, and saunters carelessly through life, thoughtless about sin, and indifferent and unconcerned about his soul — is a dead man before God! He has not the Holy Spirit.

The presence of the Holy Spirit in a man’s heart can only be known by the fruits and effects He produces. Mysterious and invisible to mortal eye as His operations are — they always lead to certain visible and tangible results.

Just as you know there is life in a tree by its sap, buds, leaves and fruits — just so you may know the Spirit to be in a man’s heart by the influence He exercises over his thoughts, affections, opinions, habits, and life. I lay this down broadly and unhesitatingly. I see it clearly marked out in our Lord Jesus Christ’s words,

“Every tree is known by his own fruit.” Luke 6:44

Everybody is going to be saved–and nobody is going to be lost!

Everybody is going to be saved–and nobody is going to be lost!

(J.C. Ryle, 1884)

One great danger of the church today, consists in the rise and progress of a spirit of indifference to all doctrines and opinions in religion. A wave of latitudinarianism about theology, appears to be passing over the land. The minds of many seem utterly incapable of discerning any difference between . . .

one belief–and another belief,
one creed–and another creed,
one tenet–and another tenet,
one opinion–and another opinion,
one thought–and another thought,
however diverse and mutually contrary they may be!
Everything is true–and nothing is false.
Everything is right–and nothing is wrong.
Everything is good–and nothing is bad–if only it comes to us under the garb and name of religion. Most think that it is kind and liberal, to maintain that we have no right to think that anyone is wrong, who is in earnest about his creed.

We are not allowed to ask what is God’s truth–but what is liberal, and generous, and charitable.

Most professing Christians make cleverness and earnestness the only tests of orthodoxy in religion. Thousands nowadays seem utterly unable to distinguish things that differ. If a preacher is only clever and eloquent and earnest–they think that he is all right, however strange and heterodox his sermons may be.

Popery–or Protestantism,
an atonement–or no atonement,
a personal Holy Spirit–or no Holy Spirit,
future punishment–or no future punishment

–they swallow all! Carried away by an imagined liberality and charity, they seem to regard doctrine as a matter of no importance, and to think that everybody is going to be saved–and nobody is going to be lost! They dislike distinctness, and think that all decided views are very wrong!

These people live in a kind of mist or fog! They see nothing clearly, and do not know what they believe. They have not made up their minds about any great point in the Gospel, and seem content to be honorary members of all schools of thought. For their lives–they could not tell you what they think is truth about . . .

forgiveness of sins,
or justification,
or regeneration,
or sanctification,
or saving faith,
or conversion,
or inspiration,
or the future state.

They are eaten up with a morbid dread of doctrine. And so they live on undecided, and too often undecided they drift down to the grave, on the broad way which leads to eternal destruction.

They are content to shovel aside all disputed points as rubbish, and will tell you, “I do not pretend to understand doctrine. I dare say that it is all the same in the long run.” They are for a general policy of universal toleration and forbearance of every doctrine. Every school of false teaching, however extreme, is to be tolerated. They desire the Church to be a kind of Noah’s Ark, within which every kind of opinion and creed shall dwell safely and undisturbed, and the only terms of admittance are a willingness to come inside, and let your neighbor alone. Nothing is too absurd to concede and allow into the church, in the present mania for complete freedom of thought, and absolute liberty of opinion.

The explanation of this boneless, nerveless condition of soul, is perhaps not difficult to find. The heart of man is naturally in the dark about religion–has no intuitive sense of truth–and really needs divine instruction and illumination. Besides this, the natural heart in most men hates exertion in religion. Above all, the natural heart generally likes the praise of others, shrinks from collision, and loves to be thought charitable and liberal. The whole result is that a kind of broad religious anythingism just suits an immense number of professors.

Ignorance, I am compelled to say, is one of the grand dangers of professors of religion in the present day.

Who does not know that such people swarm and abound everywhere? And who does not know that anyone who denounces this state of things, and insists that we should be loyal to Scripture truth–is regarded as a narrow, bigoted, intolerant person, quite unsuited to our times?

When there is no creed or standard of doctrine, there can be no church, but a Babel. Let me venture to advise all true Christians to never to be ashamed of holding Evangelical views. Those views, I am quite aware, are not fashionable nowadays. They are ridiculed as old-fashioned, narrow, defective, and out of date–and those who hold them, are regarded as illiberal, impracticable old fossils!

What the final result of the present state of things will be, I do not pretend to predict.

“Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths!” 2 Timothy 4:2-4

Do not be led astray by all kinds of strange teachings!

Do not be led astray by all kinds of strange teachings!

(J.C. Ryle, 1816-1900)

“Do not be led astray by all kinds of strange teachings!” Hebrews 13:9

Many things combine to make the present inroad of false doctrine peculiarly dangerous.

There is an undeniable zeal in some of the teachers of error–and their ‘earnestness’ makes many think they must be right.

There is a great appearance of learning and theological knowledge–and many imagine that such clever and intellectual men must surely be safe guides.

There is a general tendency to free thought in these latter days–many like to prove their independence of judgment, by believing novelties.

There is a wide-spread desire to appear tolerant and liberal-minded–many seem half ashamed of saying that anybody can be in the wrong.

There is a quantity of half-truth taught by the modern false teachers–they are incessantly using Scriptural terms and phrases in an unscriptural sense.

There is a morbid craving in the public mind for the more sensational and showy–men are impatient of inward, invisible heart-work.

There is a silly readiness in every direction to believe everybody who talks cleverly and earnestly–and a determination to forget that Satan is often “transformed into an angel of light.” 2 Corinthians 2:14

There is a wide-spread ‘gullibility’ among professing Christians–every heretic who tells his story plausibly, is sure to be believed. Anyone who questions him, is called a bigot and a narrow-minded man.

All these things are peculiar symptoms of our times. I defy any observing man to deny them. They tend to make the assaults of false doctrine in our day peculiarly dangerous. They make it more than ever needful to cry aloud, “Do not be led astray by all kinds of strange teachings!”

An ignorant laity will always be the bane of a Church! A Bible-reading laity may save a Church from ruin.

Let us read the Bible regularly, daily, and with fervent prayer, and become familiar with its contents.

Let us receive nothing, believe nothing, follow nothing–which is not in the Bible, nor can be proved by the Bible.

Let our rule of faith, our touchstone of all teaching–be the written Word of God!

“To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this Word–it is because there is no light in them!” Isaiah 8:20

Jelly-Fish Christianity

Jelly-Fish Christianity 

(J.C. Ryle)

The consequences of this widespread dislike to distinct biblical doctrine are very serious. Whether we like it or not, it is an epidemic which is doing great harm, and especially among young people. It creates, fosters, and keeps up an immense amount of instability in religion. It produces what I must venture to call, if I may coin the phrase, a ‘jelly-fish’ Christianity in the land — that is, a Christianity without bone, or muscle, or power.

A jelly-fish, as everyone who has been much by the seaside knows, is a pretty and graceful object when it floats in the sea, contracting and expanding like a little delicate transparent umbrella. Yet the same jelly-fish, when cast on the shore, is a mere helpless lump, without capacity for movement, self-defense, or self-preservation.

Alas! it is a vivid type of much of the religion of this day, of which the leading principle is, ‘No dogma, no distinct beliefs, no doctrine.’ We have hundreds of ministers who seem not to have a single bone in their body of divinity! They have no definite opinions; they are so afraid of ‘extreme views,’ that they have no views at all. We have thousands of sermons preached every year, which are without an edge or a point or a corner — they are as smooth as marble balls, awakening no sinner, and edifying no saint!

We have legions of young men annually turned out from our universities, armed with a few scraps of second-hand philosophy, who think it a mark of cleverness and intellect to have no decided opinions about anything in religion — and to be utterly unable to make up their minds as to what is Christian truth. Their only creed, is a kind of ‘nothingism.’ They are sure and positive about nothing!

And last, and worst of all, we have myriads of respectable church-going people, who have no distinct and definite views about any point in theology. They cannot discern things that differ, any more than color-blind people can distinguish colors. They think . . .

everybody is right — and nobody is wrong,
everything is true — and nothing is false,
all sermons are good — and none are bad,
every clergyman is sound — and no clergyman unsound.

They are ‘tossed to and fro, like children, by every wind of doctrine;’ often carried away by some new excitement and sensational movement; ever ready for new things, because they have no firm grasp on the old; and utterly unable to ‘render a reason of the hope that is in them.’

All this, and much more, is the result of that effeminate dread of distinct doctrine which has been so strongly developed, and has laid such hold on many pastors in these days.

I turn from the picture I have exhibited with a sorrowful heart. I grant it is a gloomy one; but I am afraid it is only too accurate and true. Let us not deceive ourselves. Distinct and definitive doctrine is at a premium just now. Instability and unsettled notions are the natural result, and meet us in every direction.

Cleverness and earnestness are the favorite idols of the age!

What a man says matters nothing — however strange and heterogeneous are the opinions he expresses! If he is only brilliant and ‘earnest’ — he cannot be wrong! Never was it so important for believers to hold sound systematic views of truth, and for ministers to ‘enunciate doctrine’ very clearly and distinctly in their teaching.

Live To Preach Christ

🤔My Thoughts… 

After just finishing my audiobook of “The Evangelistic Zeal of George Whitefield” by Steven .J. Lawson i stumbled on this quote. I had a little chuckle too as i’m currently in a “Methodist” church and it seems to be drifting far away from Biblical preaching like this.

“There are Lutherans and Wesleyans in the present day, but there are no Whitefieldites. No! The great evangelist of last century was a simple, guileless man, who lived for one thing only, and that was to preach Christ.”

J.C. Ryle, Christian Leaders Of The 18th Century

He is not the God of the Bible

“Beware of manufacturing a God of your own: a God who is all mercy, but not just; a God who is all love, but not holy; a God who as a heaven for every body, but a hell for none; a God who can allow good and bad to be side by side in time, but will make no distinction between good and broad in eternity. Such a God is an idol of your own, as truly an idol as any snake or crocodile in an Egyptian temple. The hands of your own fancy and sentimentality have made him. He is not the God of the Bible, and beside the God of the Bible there is no God at all.”

J.C. Ryle

A Cheap, Easy Christianity

A cheap, easy Christianity

“Any of you who does not give up everything he has, cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:33

What does it cost to be a Christian?

I grant freely that it costs little to be a mere outward Christian. A man has only got to attend a place of worship twice on Sunday, and to be tolerably moral during the week — and he has gone as far as thousands around him ever go in religion. All this is cheap and easy work — it entails no self-denial or self-sacrifice. If this is saving Christianity and will take us to Heaven when we die — we must alter the description of the way of life, and write, “Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to Heaven!”

But it does cost something to be a real Christian, according to the standard of the Bible. There are . . .

enemies to be overcome,
battles to be fought,
sacrifices to be made,
an Egypt to be forsaken,
a wilderness to be passed through,
a cross to be carried,
a race to be run.

Conversion is not putting a man in a soft armchair, and taking him pleasantly to Heaven. It is the beginning of a mighty conflict, in which it costs much to win the victory. Hence arises the unspeakable importance of “counting the cost.”

True Christianity will cost a man . . .

his self-righteousness,
his sins,
his love of ease, and
the favor of the world.

A religion which costs nothing — is worth nothing!

A cheap, easy Christianity, without a cross — will prove in the end a useless Christianity, without a crown!

(J.C. Ryle, “The Cost!”)

The characteristics of the modern Christian pulpit!

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“John said to the crowds coming out to be baptised by him: You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath! Produce fruit in keeping with repentance!” Luke 3:7-8

Well would it be for the Church of Christ, if it possessed more plain-speaking ministers like John the Baptist.

A morbid dislike to strong language;
an excessive fear of giving offence;
a constant flinching from directness and plain speaking;

are, unhappily, too much the characteristics of the modern Christian pulpit!

Uncharitable language is no doubt always to be deprecated. But there is no ‘charity’ in flattering unconverted people — by abstaining from any mention of their vices, or in applying smooth names to their damnable sins!

There are two texts which are too much forgotten by Christian preachers. In one it is written, “Woe unto you — when all men shall speak well of you!” (Luke 6:26)

In the other it is written, “Obviously, I’m not trying to be a people pleaser! No, I am trying to please God. If I were still trying to please people — I would not be Christ’s servant.” (Galatians 1:10)

(J.C. Ryle)

Are you manufacturing a God of your own?

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“Beware of manufacturing a God of your own: a God who is all mercy, but not just; a God who is all love, but not holy; a God who as a heaven for every body, but a hell for none; a God who can allow good and bad to be side by side in time, but will make no distinction between good and broad in eternity. Such a God is an idol of your own, as truly an idol as any snake or crocodile in an Egyptian temple. The hands of your own fancy and sentimentality have made him. He is not the God of the Bible, and beside the God of the Bible there is no God at all.”

J.C. Ryle


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