Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Holiness - Week 6

This last Sunday was Week 6 of our Sunday School class on the book "Holiness" by J.C. Ryle. This book, written in 1879 by a bishop of the Church 0f England continues to amaze us with writing that sounds prophetic for our own time.

Our chapters today were on the topics of assurance and Moses. Moses is seen by Ryle as a remarkable example of biblical faith put into action. How much could Moses have had as part of the Egyptian had he not identified with the people who gave him birth? It's a great chapter.

Most of our class discussion was on the chapter relating to assurance. It was stressed that Christ is our source of salvation, from beginning to end. Ryle observed a wonderful paradox concerning assurance: True, biblical assurance of our salvation increases our sense of living a holy life and does not decrease it. Ryle writes:

Assurance is to be desired because it tends to make the holiest Christians. This, too, sounds incredible and strange, and yet it is true. It is one of the paradoxes of the gospel, contrary at first sight to reason and common sense, and yet it is a fact. Cardinal Bellarmine was seldom more wide of the truth than when he said, "Assurance tends to carelessness and sloth." He who is freely forgiven by Christ will always do much for Christ’s glory, and he who enjoys the fullest assurance of this forgiveness will ordinarily keep up the closest walk with God. It is a faithful saying and worthy to be remembered by all believers: "He who has hope in Him purifies himself, even as He is pure" (1 John 3:3). A hope that does not purify is a mockery, a delusion, and a snare.

None are so likely to maintain a watchful guard over their own hearts and lives as those who know the comfort of living in close communion with God. They feel their privilege and will fear losing it. They will dread falling from the high estate, and marring their own comforts, by bringing clouds between themselves and Christ. He who goes on a journey with little money about him takes little thought of danger and cares little how late he travels. He, on the contrary, that carries gold and jewels will be a cautious traveler. He will look well to his roads, his lodgings and his company and run no risks. It is an old saying, however unscientific it may be, that the fixed stars are those which tremble most. The man that most fully enjoys the light of God’s reconciled countenance will be a man tremblingly afraid of losing its blessed consolations and jealous

Next Sunday's Readings

Chapter 9 - Lot - A Beacon

Chapter 10 - A Woman To Be Remembered

Sermon Audio for next Sunday

Please remember that these can be listened to online or downloaded as free mp3s. (courtesy of Still Waters Revival Books in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)

Sermon Audio of Holiness - Part 12

Sermon Audio of Holiness - Part 13

Sermon Audio of Holiness - Part 14

Sermon Audio of Holiness - Part 15

Start at 39:24 of Part 12

End at 5:40 of Part 15

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Assurance is something you either have or have not. The soul that is sure of where his treasure lies will not care about what his neighbor may think of him in regards to his "separateness" from the world. It may appear an odd thing to those whose mind is blinded by the evil one. Because he is not concerned with others' opinions about him, he is free to serve as Christ calls him no matter what it looks like to the world.

Moses is an excellent example in many ways. From giving up the comforts of Egyptian Royalty to choosing scorn, one can learn much. But Ryle points to Moses' faith in believing that what God said as the best example for us. Do we truly believe what God says in His Word? Or do we think that maybe His promises are only for others more spiritual than ourselves? What sayest thou?