Recently I finished reading J. C. Ryle’s book Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties, and Roots (Hardcopy/Kindle) It was very refreshing to read a book on this from someone who generally is not entrapped with our own particular troubles in the area of pursuing holiness. By that I don’t mean that Christians of the past did not have their own blind-spots in pursing holiness, but that often theirs and ours are in different areas because of living in different time periods. This reality makes it highly profitable to read devoted Christians of the past and humbly allow the Holy Spirit to use them enlighten our weakness in the pursuit of holiness as they point us to Scripture.
Over the next few weeks I want to share some of Ryle’s insight regarding sanctification. Today, here are some points he makes in defining sanctification. It is highly edifying just to read these points. Reading his explanations of each point is even more profitable.
1. Sanctification, then, is the invariable result of that vital union with Christ which true faith gives to a Christian.
2. Sanctification, again, is the outcome and inseparable consequences of regeneration.
3. Sanctification, again, is the only certain evidence of that indwelling of the Holy Spirit which is essential to salvation.
4. Sanctification, again, is the only sure mark of God’s election.
5. Sanctification, again, is a thing that will always be seen.
6. Sanctification, again, is a thing for which every believer is responsible.
7. Sanctification, again, is a thing which admits of growth and degrees.
8. Sanctification, again, is a thing which depends greatly on a diligent use of Scriptural means.
9. Sanctification, again, is a thing which does not prevent a man having a great deal of inward spiritual conflict.
10. Sanctification, again, is a thing which cannot justify a man, and yet it pleases God.
11. Sanctification, again, is a thing which will be found absolutely necessary as a witness to our character in the great day of judgment.
12. Sanctification, in the last place, is absolutely necessary in order to train and prepare us for heaven.