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Holiness (J.C. Ryle) – Sanctification

September 14, 2007

I have been participating in Tim Challies’ “Reading Classics Together” study of J.C. Ryle’s book Holiness.  I have been impressed on how applicable this book is for today – in fact, in other chapters, it seems that Ryle was writing in response to the environment of today’s world, both in addressing the secular world and the Church world.  However, the chapter on Sanctification really struck me as practical for my life.  He describes what sanctification looks like, what it doesn’t look like, what it is, and how it differs from (and how it is similar to) justification.  I love this book, and recommend all Christians read it.  The first two chapters on sin and sanctification are great, and I look forward to the rest of the book.  Here are a few of the points that stuck with me.

1.  Sanctification will always be seen.  Ryle immediately points out that mature Christians may not see it, but that those around them will see it.  While he doesn’t say this, one of the things I saw is the importance of encouragement: there may be believers who aren’t seeing their growth because of the sin that they are seeing in their own lives.  I know that this has been my experience – encouragement helps me see progress that I have been blind to.  I hope to be an encourager myself – telling others how God is working in their lives so that they can see what God is doing.

2.  Ryle says that sanctification is something that, while it doesn’t justify us, pleases God.  Our best deeds are as filthy rags before God.  Even our best deeds have impure motives behind them.  However, God’s Word says that these things are pleasing in God’s sight, which is amazing.  God doesn’t merely tolerate our efforts, which are totally ineffectual, but he takes pleasure from them.  This is amazing, and another sign of the great love God has for us.

3.  Sanctification is preparation for heaven.  God uses this process to make us more and more holy, in preparation for that place in which everything will be completely holy.  If we weren’t being sanctified, if we arrived in heaven unsanctified, we wouldn’t be at home.  God is making us more and more at home in heaven in our time on earth.

There are many other gems in that chapter, but these were the main things that stood out to me.  What an amazing God we serve!  This gives me hope to pursue sanctification.  There are so many benefits and blessings given to us in sanctification – praise God for how he meets us and makes us holy!

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