This is the eighth installment in a series of posts from Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties, and Roots(Hardcopy/Kindle). J. C. Ryle’s classic book on Holiness.

Today we are going to look at a section of this book that deals with “The Cost.”

He introduces this topic with these observations among others:

…Nothing is more common than to see people receiving the Word with joy, and then after two of three years falling away, and going back to their sins.

No doubt Christ’s way to eternal life is a way of pleasantness. But it is folly to shut our eyes to the fact that His way is narrow, and the cross comes before the crown.

His first point deals with this: Showing what it costs to be a true Christian. Here are some selected quotes introducing his main points

Let there be no mistake about my meaning. I am not examining what it costs to save a Christian’s soul. I know well that it costs nothing less than the blood of the Son of God to provide an atonement, and to redeem man from hell.

The point I want to consider is another one altogether. It is what a man must be ready to give up if he wishes to be saved. It is the amount of sacrifice a man must submit to if he intends to serve Christ. It is in this sense that I raise the question, ‘What does it cost?’

I grant freely that it costs little to be a mere outward Christian.

But it does cost something to be a real Christian, according to the standard of the Bible.

Conversion is not putting a man in an arm-chair and taking him easily to heaven. It is the beginning of a mighty conflict, in which it costs much to win the victory. Hence arises the unspeakable importance of ‘counting the cost.’

“Let us see particularly, one by one, the things that his religion will cost him.”

  1. It will cost him his self-righteousness (See Philippians 3:3-6)
  2. It will cost a man his sins (Ezekiel 18:31; Daniel 4:27; Isaiah 1:16)
  3. It will cost a man his love of ease (Proverbs 13:4)
  4. It will cost a man the favour of the world (John 15:20; Isaiah 43:3)

Next week we will look at the importance of counting the cost.