What is True Practical Holiness? - page 1

 


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From the Winter 2016 issue of Knowing & Doing:  

What is True Practical Holiness?

by J. C. Ryle (1816–1900)
First Bishop of Liverpool

This is an excerpt from chapter 3, “Holiness,” of J.C. Ryle’s classic book Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties, and Roots, published 1877; enlarged edition 1879.

What then is true practical holiness? It is a hard question to answer. I do not mean that there is any want of Scriptural matter on the subject. But I fear lest I should give a defective view of holiness, and not say all that ought to be said; or lest I should say things about it that ought not to be said, and so do harm. Let me, however, try to draw a picture of holiness, that we may see it clearly before the eyes of our minds. Only let it never be forgotten, when I have said all, that my account is but a poor imperfect outline at the best.

a. Holiness is the habit of being of one mind with God, according as we find His mind described in Scripture. It is the habit of agreeing in God’s judgment – hating what He hates – loving what He loves – and measuring everything in this world by the standard of His Word…

b. A holy man will endeavour to shun every known sin, and to keep every known commandment. He will have a decided bent of mind toward God, a hearty desire to do His will – a greater fear of displeasing Him than of displeasing the world, and a love to all His ways. He will feel what Paul felt when he said, “I delight in the law of God after the inward man” (Rom. 7:22)...

c. A holy man will strive to be like our Lord Jesus Christ. He will not only live the life of faith in Him, and draw from Him all his daily peace and strength, but he will also labour to have the mind that was in Him, and to be “conformed to His image” (Rom. 8:29). It will be his aim to bear with and forgive others, even as Christ forgave us – to be unselfish, even as Christ pleased not Himself – to walk in love, even as Christ loved us – to be lowly-minded and humble… He will remember that Christ was a faithful witness for the truth – that He came not to do His own will – that it was His meat and drink to do His Father’s will… He will lay to heart the saying of John, “He that saith he abideth in [Christ] ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked” (1 John 2:6)…

d. A holy man will follow after meekness, longsuffering, gentleness, patience, kind tempers, government of his tongue. He will bear much, forbear much, overlook much, and be slow to talk of standing on his rights…

 

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