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echoes of thought in love with God through Christ crucified

Tag: Christianity

The true Christian is one whose religion is in his heart and life. It is felt by himself in his heart. It is seen by others in his conduct and life. He feels his sinfulness, guilt, and badness, and repents. He sees Jesus Christ to be that Divine Saviour whom his soul needs, and commits himself to Him. He puts off the old man with his corrupt and carnal habits, and puts on the new man. He lives a new and holy life, fighting habitually against the world, the flesh, and the devil. Christ Himself is the corner stone of His Christianity. Ask him in what he trusts for the forgiveness of his many sins, and he will tell you, in the death of Christ.—Ask him in what righteousness he hopes to stand innocent at the judgment day, and he will tell You it is the righteousness of Christ.—Ask him by what pattern he tries to frame his life, and he will tell you that it is the example of Christ.

But, beside all this, there is one thing in a true Christian which is eminently peculiar to him. That thing is love to Christ. Knowledge, faith, hope, reverence, obedience, are all marked features in a true Christian’s character. But his picture would be very imperfect if you omitted his “love” to his Divine Master. He not only knows, trusts, and obeys. He goes further than this,—he loves.

—J. C. Ryle
Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties and Roots (London: William Hunt and Company, 1889), 341.

It is the duty of the faithful to “present their bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God;” and that in this consists the legitimate worship of him.

Hence is deduced an argument for exhorting them:

Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that will of God.”

This is a very important consideration, that we are consecrated and dedicated to God; that we may not hereafter think, speak, meditate, or do any thing but with a view to his glory. For that which is sacred cannot, without great injustice towards him, be applied to unholy uses.

We Are Not Our Own

If we are not our own, but the Lord’s, it is manifest, both what error we must avoid, and to what end all the actions of our lives are to be directed. We are not our own; therefore, neither our reason nor our will should predominate in our deliberations and actions. We are not our own; therefore let us not propose it as our end, to seek what may be expedient for us according to the flesh. We are not our own; therefore let us, as far as possible, forget ourselves and all things that are ours.

We Are God’s

On the contrary, we are God’s; to him therefore let us live and die. We are God’s; therefore let his wisdom and will preside in all our actions. We are God’s; towards him therefore, as our only legitimate end, let every part of our lives be directed.

Surrender to God

O how great a proficiency has that man made, who having been taught that he is not his own, has taken the sovereignty and government of himself from his own reason, to surrender it to God! For as compliance with their own inclinations leads men most effectually to ruin, so to place no dependence on our own knowledge or will, but merely to follow the guidance of the Lord, is the only way of safety.

Let this then be the first step, to depart from ourselves, that we may apply all the vigour of our faculties to the service of the Lord. By service I mean, not that only which consists in verbal obedience, but that by which the human mind, divested of its natural carnality, resigns itself wholly to the direction of the Divine Spirit.

—John Calvin
Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2:164–166.

Had it been published by a voice from heaven that twelve poor men, taken out of boats and creeks, without any help of learning, should conquer the world to the cross, it might have been thought an illusion against all the reason of men; yet we know it was undertaken and accomplished by them. They published this doctrine in Jerusalem, and quickly spread it over the greatest part of the world. Folly outwitted wisdom, and weakness overpowered strength. The conquest of the east by Alexander was not so admirable as the enterprise of these poor men.

—Stephen Charnock
The Complete Works of Stephen Charnock, 2:154–55.

Be regular in going to church, whenever it is open for prayer and preaching, and it is in your power to attend.

I would not want to leave any false impression on your minds. Do not go away and say I told you that going to church made up the whole of Christianity. I will tell you no such thing. I have no wish to see you grow up formalists and Pharisees.

If you think the mere carrying of your body to a certain building, at certain times, on a certain day in the week, will make you a Christian, and prepare you to meet God, I tell you flatly you are miserably deceived. All services without heart-service are unprofitable and vain. They only are true worshipers who “worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks” (John 4:23).

The practices of Christianity are not to be despised because they are not saviors.

Gold is not food, you cannot eat it, but you would not say it is useless, and throw it away. Your soul’s eternal well-being most certainly does not depend on the practices of Christianity, but it is certain that without them, as a general rule, your soul will not do well.

God works by means, and it is His law and will that in all man’s dealings with Him means shall be used. No one but a fool would think of building a house without ladders and scaffolding, and just so no wise man will despise means.

Do not let your mind be filled with arguments against the practices of Christianity. Satan will draw your attention to the numbers of persons who use them and are no better for the using. “See there,” he will whisper, “do you not observe that those who go to church are no better than those who stay away?” But do not let this move you.

It is never fair to argue against a thing because it is improperly used. It does not follow that the practices of Christianity can do no good because many do them and get no good from them. Medicine is not to be despised because many take it and do not recover their health. No man would think of giving up eating, and drinking because others choose to eat and drink improperly, and so make themselves sick. The value of the practices of Christianity, like other things, depends, in a great measure, on the manner and spirit in which we use them.

Resolve not to miss church on Sunday and the fellowship of God’s people.

Do not let the plausible argument of “needing to sleep-in to rest your body,” do not let not the example of all those around you, do not let the invitation of companions pull you away from fellowship and worship; let none of these things move you to depart from this settled rule, that Sunday’s are for God’s honor and for fellowship with His people.

Begin with not honoring the Lord’s Day, and you will soon not honor God’s people; cease to honor God’s book; and in time you will give God no honor at all.

Settle down under a faithful ministry, and once settled, let your place in church never be empty. … And one thing is very certain, your feelings about Sunday and the fellowship will always be a test and criterion of your fitness for heaven. Fellowship and worship are a foretaste and a fragment of heaven. The man who finds them a burden and not a privilege, may be sure that his heart stands in need of a mighty change.

—J. C. Ryle

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