Category Archives: Holiness

“Humility, happiness, and holiness” by Charles Spurgeon

“There will be three effects of nearness to Jesus, all beginning with the letter hhumility, happiness, and holiness. May God give them to us!”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “Christ Manifesting Himself to His People,” in The New Park Street Pulpit Sermons (vol. 1; London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1855), 1: 226.

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“The blessed privilege of prayer” by John Newton

“How little does the world know of that intercourse which is carried on between heaven and earth; what petitions are daily presented, and what answers are received at a throne of grace!

O the blessed privilege of prayer! O the wonderful love, care, attention, and power of our great Shepherd! His eye is always upon us.

When our spirits are almost overwhelmed within us, He knoweth our path. His ear is always open to us: let who will overlook and disappoint us, He will not.

When means and hope fail, when every thing looks dark upon us, when we seem shut up on every side, when we are brought to the lowest ebb, still our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.

To Him all things are possible; and before the exertion of His power, when He is pleased to arise and work, all hindrances give way and vanish, like a mist before the sun.

And He can so manifest Himself to the soul, and cause His goodness to pass before it, that the hour of affliction shall be the golden hour of the greatest consolation.

He is the fountain of life, strength, grace and comfort, and of His fulness His children receive according to their occasions: but this is all hidden from the world.

They have no guide in prosperity, but hurry on as they are instigated by their blinded passions, and are perpetually multiplying mischiefs and miseries to themselves.

And in adversity they have no resource, but must feel all the evil of affliction, without inward support, and without deriving any advantage from it.

We have therefore cause for continual praise. The Lord has given us to know His name as a resting-place and a hiding-place, a sun and a shield.

Circumstances and creatures may change; but He will be an unchangeable friend. The way is rough, but He trod it before us, and is now with us in every step we take; and every step brings us nearer to our heavenly home.

Our inheritance is surely reserved for us, and we shall be kept for it by His power through faith.

Our present strength is small, and without a fresh supply would be quickly exhausted; but He has engaged to renew it from day to day. And He will soon appear to wipe all tears from our eyes; and then we shall appear with Him in glory.”

–John Newton, The Works of John Newton, Volume 2 (London: Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1824), 2: 182-183.

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“A most ordinary pastor” by D.A. Carson

“Tom Carson never rose very far in denominational structures, but hundreds of people in the Outaouais and beyond testify how much he loved them.

He never wrote a book, but he loved the Book.

He was never wealthy or powerful, but he kept growing as a Christian: yesterday’s grace was never enough.

He was not a far-sighted visionary, but he looked forward to eternity.

He was not a gifted administrator, but there is no text that says, ‘By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you are good administrators.’

His journals have many, many entries bathed in tears of contrition, but his children and grandchildren remember his laughter. Only rarely did he break through his pattern of reserve and speak deeply and intimately with his children, but he modeled Christian virtues to them.

He much preferred to avoid controversy than to stir things up, but his own commitments to historic confessionalism were unyielding, and in ethics he was a man of principle.

His own ecclesiastical circles were rather small and narrow, but his reading was correspondingly large and expansive.

He was not very good at putting people down, except on his prayer lists.

When he died, there were no crowds outside the hospital, no editorial comments in the papers, no announcements on television, no mention in Parliament, no attention paid by the nation.

In his hospital room there was no one by his bedside. There was only the quiet hiss of oxygen, vainly venting because he had stopped breathing and would never need it again.

But on the other side all the trumpets sounded.

Dad won entrance to the only throne room that matters, not because he was a good man or a great man-he was, after all, a most ordinary pastor-but because he was a forgiven man.

And he heard the voice of Him whom he longed to hear saying, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; enter into the joy of your Lord.'”

–D.A. Carson, Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor (Wheaton: Crossway, 2008), 147-148.

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“He shall carry you safely home” by J.C. Ryle

“Let all the world know that the Lord Christ is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. He will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax. As a father pitieth his children, so He pitieth them that fear Him.

As one whom his mother comforteth, so will He comfort His people. (James 5:11; Matt. 12:20; Ps. 103:13; Isa. 66:13.)

He cares for the lambs of His flock as well as for the old sheep.

He cares for the sick and feeble ones of His fold as well as for the strong. It is written that He will carry them in His bosom, rather than let one of them be lost. (Isaiah 40:11.)

He cares for the least member of His body, as well as for the greatest.

He cares for the babes of His family as well as the grown up men.

He cares for the tenderest little plants in His garden as well as for the cedar of Lebanon. All are in His book of life, and all are under His charge. All are given to Him in an everlasting covenant, and He has undertaken, in spite of all weaknesses, to bring every one safe home.

Only let a sinner lay hold on Christ by faith, and then, however feeble, Christ’s word is pledged to him, ‘I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.’ He may correct him occasionally in love.

He may gently reprove him at times. But He will never, never give him up. The devil shall never pluck him from Christ’s hand.

Let all the world know that the Lord Jesus will not cast away His believing people because of short-comings and infirmities. The husband does not put away his wife because he finds failings in her.

The mother does not forsake her infant because it is weak, feeble, and ignorant. And the Lord Christ does not cast off poor sinners who have committed their souls into His hands because He sees in them blemishes and imperfections.

Oh! no! It is His glory to pass over the faults of His people, and heal their backslidings,—to make much of their weak graces, and to pardon their many faults.

Who is there now among the readers of this paper that feels desires after salvation, but is afraid to become decided, lest by-and-by he should fall away? Consider, I beseech you, the tenderness and patience of the Lord Jesus, and be afraid no more.

Fear not to take up the cross, and come out boldly from the world. That same Lord and Saviour who bore with the disciples is ready and willing to bear with you.

If you stumble, He will raise you.

If you err, He will gently bring you back.

If you faint, He will revive you.

He will not lead you out of Egypt, and then suffer you to perish in the wilderness. He will conduct you safe into the promised land.

Only commit yourself to His guidance, and then, my soul for yours, He shall carry you safely home. Only hear Christ’s voice, and follow Him, and you shall never perish.”

–J.C. Ryle, Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties and Roots (London: William Hunt and Company, 1889), 299–300.

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“Do not linger!” by J.C. Ryle

“‘He lingered.’ (Genesis 19:16) Do not be a lingering soul.

Would you know what the times demand?—The shaking of nations,—the uprooting of ancient things,—the overturning of kingdoms,—the stir and restlessness of men’s minds—what do they say? They all cry aloud,—Christian! do not linger!

Would you be found ready for Christ at His second appearing,—your loins girded,—your lamp burning. yourself bold, and prepared to meet Him? Then do not linger!

Would you enjoy much sensible comfort in your religion,—feel the witness of the Spirit within you,—know whom you have believed,—and not be a gloomy, complaining, sour, downcast, and melancholy Christian? Then do not linger!

Would you enjoy strong assurance of your own salvation, in the day of sickness, and on the bed of death?—Would you see with the eye of faith heaven opening, and Jesus rising to receive you? Then do not linger!

Would you leave great broad evidences behind you when you are gone?—Would you like us to lay you in the grave with comfortable hope, and talk of your state after death without a doubt? Then do not linger!

Would you be useful to the world in your day and generation?—Would you draw men from sin to Christ, adorn your doctrine, and make your Master’s cause beautiful and attractive in their eyes? Then do not linger!

Would you help your children and relatives towards heaven, and make them say, “We will go with you”?—and not make them infidels and despisers of all religion? Then do not linger!

Would you have a great crown in the day of Christ’s appearing, and not be the least and smallest star in glory, and not find yourself the last and lowest in the kingdom of God? Then do not linger!

Oh, let not one of us linger! Time does not,—death does not,—judgment does not,—the devil does not,—the world does not. Neither let the children of God linger.

–J.C. Ryle, Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties and Roots (London: William Hunt and Company, 1889), 230–231.

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“Christ is our holiness” by Herman Bavinck

“To understand the benefit of sanctification correctly, we must proceed from the idea that Christ is our holiness in the same sense in which He is our righteousness. He is a complete and all-sufficient Savior.

He does not accomplish His work halfway but saves us really and completely. He does not rest until, after pronouncing His acquittal in our conscience, He has also imparted full holiness and glory to us.

By His righteousness, accordingly, He does not just restore us to the state of the just who will go scot-free in the judgment of God, in order then to leave us to ourselves to reform ourselves after God’s image and to merit eternal life.

But Christ has accomplished everything. He bore for us the guilt and punishment of sin, placed Himself under the law to secure eternal life for us, and then arose from the grave to communicate Himself to us in all his fullness for both our righteousness and sanctification (1 Cor. 1:30).

The holiness that must completely become ours therefore fully awaits us in Christ.”

–Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics: Holy Spirit, Church, and New Creation, Ed. John Bolt, and Trans. John Vriend (vol. 4; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2008), 248.

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“I know” by John Newton

“I know Jesus died for sinners. I know I am a sinner.

I know He invites them that are ready to perish. I am such a one.

I know, upon His own invitation, I have committed myself to Him.

And I know, by the effects, that He has been with me hitherto, otherwise I should have been an apostate long ago.

And therefore I know that He died for me. For had He been pleased to kill me (as he justly might have done), He would not have shewn me such things as these…

I know that I am a child, because He teaches me to say, ‘Abba, Father.’

I know that I am His, because He has enabled me to choose Him for mine. For such a choice and desire could never have taken place in my heart, if He had not placed it there Himself.

By nature I was too blind to know Him, too proud to trust Him, too obstinate to serve Him, too base-minded to love Him.

The enmity I was filled with against His government, His righteousness, and His grace, was too strong to be subdued by any power but His own.

The love I bear Him is but a faint and feeble spark, but it is an emanation from Himself. He kindled it, and He keeps it alive.

And because it is His work, I trust many waters shall not quench it.”

–John Newton, The Works of John Newton, Volume 1 (London: Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1824), 643-644. As quoted in Tony Reinke, Newton on the Christian Life: To Live Is Christ (Wheaton: Crossway, 2015), 235.

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