Tag Archives: Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Luke

“No one is too bad to be saved” by J.C. Ryle

“No one is too bad to be saved, or beyond the power of Christ’s grace. The door of hope which the Gospel reveals to sinners is very wide open.

Let us leave it open as we find it. Let us not attempt in narrow-minded ignorance, to shut it.

We should never be afraid to maintain that Christ is ‘able to save to the uttermost,’ and that the vilest of sinners may be freely forgiven if they will only come to Him.

We should offer the Gospel boldly to the worst and wickedest, and say, ‘There is hope. Only repent and believe. Though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson they shall be as wool.’ (Isaiah 1:18.)

Such doctrine may seem to worldly people foolishness and licentiousness. But such doctrine is the Gospel of Him who saved Zacchaeus at Jericho.

Hospitals discharge many cases as incurable. But there are no incurable cases under the Gospel. Any sinner may be healed, if he will only come to Christ.”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Luke, Vol. 2 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1858/2012), 2: 216-217.

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“The pillow of God’s omnipotence” by J.C. Ryle

“Let us mark, in the third place, the mighty principle which the angel Gabriel lays down to silence all objections about the incarnation. ‘With God nothing shall be impossible.’

A hearty reception of this great principle is of immense importance to our own inward peace. Questions and doubts will often arise in men’s minds about many subjects in religion. They are the natural result of our fallen estate of soul.

Our faith at the best is very feeble. Our knowledge at its highest is clouded with much infirmity.

And among many antidotes to a doubting, anxious, questioning state of mind, few will be found more useful than that before us now,—a thorough conviction of the almighty power of God.

With Him who called the world into being and formed it out of nothing, everything is possible. Nothing is too hard for the Lord.

There is no sin too black and bad to be pardoned. The blood of Christ cleanseth from all sin.

There is no heart too hard and wicked to be changed. The heart of stone can be made a heart of flesh.

There is no work too hard for a believer to do. We may do all things through Christ strengthening us.

There is no trial too hard to be borne. The grace of God is sufficient for us.

There is no promise too great to be fulfilled. Christ’s words never pass away, and what He has promised He is able to perform.

There is no difficulty too great for a believer to overcome. When God is for us who shall be against us? The mountain shall become a plain.

Let principles like these be continually before our minds. The angel’s receipt is an invaluable remedy.

Faith never rests so calmly and peacefully as when it lays its head on the pillow of God’s omnipotence.”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Luke (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1879), 1: 27-28. Ryle is commenting on Luke 1:34-38.

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“Lord, clothe us with humility” by J.C. Ryle

“We learn, from this passage, how ready Christians are to be puffed up with success. It is written, that the seventy returned from their first mission with joy, ‘saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.’

There was much false fire in that joy. There was evidently self-satisfaction in that report of achievements. The whole tenor of the passage leads us to this conclusion.

The remarkable expression which our Lord uses about Satan’s fall from heaven, was most probably meant to be a caution. He read the hearts of the young and inexperienced soldiers before Him.

He saw how much they were lifted up by their first victory. He wisely checks them in their undue exultation. He warns them against pride.

The lesson is one which all who work for Christ should mark and remember. Success is what all faithful laborers in the Gospel field desire.

The minister at home and the missionary abroad, the district visitor and the city missionary, the tract distributor and the Sunday-school teacher, all alike long for success. All long to see Satan’s kingdom pulled down, and souls converted to God.

We cannot wonder. The desire is right and good. Let it, however, never be forgotten, that the time of success is a time of danger to the Christian’s soul. The very hearts that are depressed when all things seem against them are often unduly exalted in the day of prosperity.

Few men are like Samson, and can kill a lion without telling others of it. (Judges 14:6.) No wonder that St. Paul says of a bishop, that he ought not to be ‘a novice, lest being lifted up with pride, he fall into the condemnation of the devil.’ (1 Tim. 3:6.)

Most of Christ’s laborers probably have as much success as their souls can bear. Let us pray much for humility, and especially for humility in our days of peace and success.

When everything around us seems to prosper, and all our plans work well,—when family trials and sicknesses are kept from us, and the course of our worldly affairs runs smooth,—when our daily crosses are light, and all within and without like a morning without clouds,—then, then is the time when our souls are in danger!

Then is the time when we have need to be doubly watchful over our own hearts. Then is the time when seeds of evil are sown within us by the devil, which may one day astound us by their growth and strength.

There are few Christians who can carry a full cup with a steady hand. There are few whose souls prosper in their days of uninterrupted success.

We are all inclined to sacrifice to our net, and burn incense to our own drag. (Hab. 1:16.) We are ready to think that our own might and our own wisdom have procured us the victory.

The caution of the passage before us ought never to be forgotten. In the midst of our triumphs, let us cry earnestly, ‘Lord, clothe us with humility.'”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Luke (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1879), 1: 358-360. Ryle is commenting on Luke 10:17-20.

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“Grace is the main thing” by J.C. Ryle

“Let the religion which we aim to possess be a religion in which grace is the main thing. Let it not content us to be able to speak eloquently, or preach powerfully, or reason ably, or argue cleverly, or profess loudly, or talk fluently.

Let it not satisfy us to know the whole system of Christian doctrines, and to have texts and words at our command.

These things are all well in their way. They are not to be undervalued. They have their use. But these things are not the grace of God, and they will not deliver us from hell.

Let us never rest until we have the witness of the Spirit within us that we are ‘washed, and sanctified, and justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of God.’ (1 Cor. 6:11.) Let us seek to know that ‘our names are written in heaven,’ and that we are really one with Christ and Christ in us.

Let us strive to be ‘epistles of Christ known and read of all men,’ and to show by our meekness, and charity, and faith, and spiritual-mindedness, that we are the children of God.

This is true religion. These are the real marks of saving Christianity. Without such marks, a man may have abundance of gifts and turn out nothing better than a follower of Judas Iscariot, the false apostle, and go at last to hell.

With such marks, a man may be like Lazarus, poor and despised upon earth, and have no gifts at all. But his name is written in heaven, and Christ shall own him as one of His people at the last day.”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Luke (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1879), 1: 361. Ryle is commenting on Luke 10:17-20.

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“He lives to heal the broken-hearted” by J.C. Ryle

“Our Lord Jesus Christ never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His heart is still as compassionate as when He was upon earth.

His sympathy with sufferers is still as strong. Let us bear this in mind, and take comfort in it. There is no friend or comforter who can be compared to Christ.

In all our days of darkness, which must needs be many, let us first turn for consolation to Jesus the Son of God. He will never fail us, never disappoint us, never refuse to take interest in our sorrows.

He lives, who made the widow’s heart sing for joy in the gate of Nain.

He lives, to receive all laboring and heavy-laden ones, if they will only come to Him by faith.

He lives, to heal the broken-hearted, and be a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

And He lives to do greater things than these one day.

He lives to come again to His people, that they may weep no more at all, and that all tears may be wiped from their eyes.”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Luke (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1879), 1: 209-210. Ryle is commenting on Luke 7:11-17.

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“Let us pray for our children” by J.C. Ryle

“Let us see, furthermore, in this mighty miracle, a lively emblem of Christ’s power to quicken the dead in sins. In Him is life. He quickeneth whom He will. (John 5:21.)

He can raise to a new life souls that now seem dead in worldliness and sin. He can say to hearts that now appear corrupt and lifeless, ‘Arise to repentance, and live in the service of God.’

Let us never despair of any soul. Let us pray for our children, and faint not. Our young men and our young women may long seem travelling on the way to ruin.

But let us pray on. Who can tell but He that met the funeral at the gates of Nain may yet meet our unconverted children, and say with almighty power, ‘Young man, arise.’

With Christ nothing is impossible.”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Luke (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1879), 1: 211. Ryle is commenting on Luke 7:11-17.

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“Preach free and full forgiveness” by J.C. Ryle

“Forever let the mighty principle laid down by our Lord in this passage, abide in our memories, and sink down into our hearts. It is one of the great corner-stones of the whole Gospel.

It is one of the master-keys to unlock the secrets of the kingdom of God. The only way to make men holy, is to teach and preach free and full forgiveness through Jesus Christ.

The secret of being holy ourselves, is to know and feel that Christ has pardoned our sins. Peace with God is the only root that will bear the fruit of holiness. Forgiveness must go before sanctification.

We shall do nothing till we are reconciled to God. This is the first step in religion. We must work from life, and not for life. Our best works before we are justified are little better than splendid sins.

We must live by faith in the Son of God, and then, and not till then, we shall walk in His ways. The heart which has experienced the pardoning love of Christ, is the heart which loves Christ, and strives to glorify Him.

Let us leave the passage with a deep sense of our Lord Jesus Christ’s amazing mercy and compassion to the chief of sinners. Let us see in His kindness to the woman, of whom we have been reading, an encouragement to any one, however bad he may be, to come to Him for pardon and forgiveness.

That word of His shall never be broken, ‘Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out.’ Never, never need any one despair of salvation, if he will only come to Christ.

Let us ask ourselves, in conclusion, What we are doing for Christ’s glory? What kind of lives are we living? What proof are we making of our love to Him who loved us, and died for our sins?

These are serious questions. If we cannot answer them satisfactorily, we may well doubt whether we are forgiven. The hope of forgiveness which is not accompanied by love in the life is no hope at all.

The man whose sins are really cleansed away will always show by his ways that he loves the Saviour who cleansed them.”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Luke (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1879), 1: 238–239. Ryle is commenting on Luke 7:36-50.

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