I’m currently re-reading Holiness by J.C. Ryle. Perhaps his most well-known book, it is simple, straightforward, full of practical teaching, and very thought-provoking. Everyone would benefit from reading it.
I’ll perhaps write a full review at some point, however, one passage struck me the other day so I thought I would share it here.
Ryle is describing ‘what it costs to be a true Christian’. He outlines four things in particular: self-righteousness, sins, ease and the favour of the world. This is what he writes about our sins.
True Christianity will cost a man his SINS. He must be willing to give up every habit and practice which is wrong in God’s sight. He must set his face against it, quarrel with it, break off from it, fight with it, crucify it and labor to keep it under control, whatever the world around him may say or think. He must do this honestly and fairly. There must be no secret truce with any special sin which he loves. He must count all sins as his deadly enemies, and hate every false way. Whether little or great, whether open or secret — all his sins must be thoroughly renounced. They may struggle hard with him every day, and sometimes almost get the mastery over him. But he must never give way to them. He must keep up a perpetual war with his sins. It is written, “Cast away from you all your transgressions.” “Break off your sins…and iniquities.” “Cease to do evil” (Ezekiel 18:31; Dan. 4:27; Isaiah 1:16).This sounds hard. I do not wonder. Our sins are often as dear to us as our children! We love them, hug them, cleave to them and delight in them! To part with them, is as hard as cutting off a right hand or plucking out a right eye! But it must be done. The parting must come. “Though wickedness is sweet in the sinner’s mouth, though he hides it under his tongue; though he spares it, and forsakes it not,” yet it must be given up, if he wishes to be saved (Job 20:12,13). He and sin must quarrel — if he and God are to be friends. Christ is willing to receive any sinners. But He will not receive them if they will stick to their sins.Holiness, J.C.Ryle