He who wants a correct understanding of holiness must first begin by examining the vast and solemn subject of sin. He must dig down very deep if he wants to build high. Wrong views about holiness are generally traceable to wrong views about human corruption.
Practical holiness and entire self-consecration to God are not given adequate attention by modern Christians. The unsaved sometimes rightly complain that Christians are not as kind and unselfish and good-natured as those who make no profession of faith. Far too many Christians make a verbal proclamation of faith, yet remain unchanged in heart and lifestyle. But Scripture makes it clear that holiness, in its place and proportion, is quite as important as justification. Holiness, without which no one shall see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). It is imperative that Christians are biblically and truly holy.
The aim of this book is to instruct you, equip you, and encourage you in the pursuit of holiness.
John Charles Ryle (1816-1900) graduated from Eton and Oxford and then pursued a career in politics, but due to lack of funds, he entered the clergy of the Church of England. He was a contemporary of Spurgeon, Moody, Mueller, and Taylor and read the great theologians like Wesley, Bunyan, Knox, Calvin, and Luther. These all influenced Ryle’s understanding and theology. Ryle began his writing career with a tract following the Great Yarmouth suspension bridge tragedy, where more than a hundred people drowned. He gained a reputation for straightforward preaching and evangelism. He travelled, preached, and wrote more than 300 pamphlets, tracts, and books, including Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, Principles for Churchmen, and Christian Leaders of the Eighteenth Century. Ryle used the royalties from his writing to pay his father’s debts, but he also felt indebted to that ruin for changing the direction of his life. He was recommended by Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli to be Bishop of Liverpool where he ended his career in 1900.
I want to tell you what perhaps the greatest Christian who ever lived (the Apostle Paul) thought of the cross of Christ. Believe me, the cross is one of deepest importance. This is no mere question of controversy; this is not one of those points on which men may agree to differ and feel that differences will not shut them out of heaven. A man must be right on this subject, or he is lost forever. Heaven or hell, happiness or misery, life or death, blessing or cursing in the last day – all hinges on the answer to this question: “What do you think about the cross of Christ?”
Let me show you:
1. What the apostle Paul did not glory in.
2. What Paul did glory in.
3. Why all Christians should think and feel about the cross like Paul.