True Holiness, lessons from J .C Ryle part 2

jc-ryle By Ninos Hadjirousou   We continue our series from our last article ‘True Holiness, lessons from J.C Ryle’. A holy man will follow after meekness, longsuffering, gentleness, patience,   and govern his tongue. To be meek means to be humble, or to describe it in another way, to acknowledge and to be what you really are. That is, you are not somebody special, you are not someone that everyone should look up to.   You are a sinner. You are someone who has failures and weaknesses that expose your evil desires and this is because we are by nature fallen since the time of our first p  arents. This fallen nature has a corrupted mind with corrupted emotions and corrupted intentions even if they seem to look good on the outside. And so being humble is acknowledging that fact and seeking for God’s mercy to preserve us from doing evil. That can only be done when God saves us, regenerates us and gives us a new nature, a new heart. A nature that will desire to follow to become meek and righteous, that is why Jesus Christ said “ye must be born again” (  John 3:7 see also Ezekiel 36:25-27 ). J.C Ryle said that the one who follows after meekness “will bear much, forebear much, overlook much, and be slow to talk of standing on his rights”. What Ryle is showing us is that the evidence or the fruits of the Christian’s meekness will be shown with his new relationship towards sin. When the Christian was an unbeliever, his intentions and thought’s where corrupted, influenced by evil motives, though his deeds where good in part. Yet even so, his good works where not enough to make him right with God and have eternal life. As the prophet Isaiah wrote “all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment” (Isaiah 64:6). Because he not only loved himself more than God his Creator, he desired more to do only sin because he is a wretched sinner by nature (see also Ephesians 2:1-3). It is as the Scriptures say “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God… no one does good, not even one… There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:10-18). But when a person becomes a Christian, he has a new relationship with sin. He wants to avoid sin   and he begins to care more about the needs of others, soul was well as body  . He stops using filthy language and begins to cultivate the language of Christ. He realizes everyday how low he really is and how great, Holy and Merciful God is. Thus he begins to become more and more careful in word and thought and deed. He accepts correction at any time from his fellow Christians or even from non-Christians. He admits his mistake and begins to change and to do what is right before God and man. He is able to bear the sufferings of others even sacrificing something that is precious to him, for there sake. All this is due to the fact that he has becomes a Christian and God has given him and new heart. Christians hate sin because they love God. This is the mind of the one who is the humblest person who ever lived the Lord Jesus Christ. Just to help us to understand a bit more what meekness looks like, Ryle point’s his readers to look at King David’s behaviour with Shimei who cursed him in (2 Samuel 16:5-13). Shimei was a relative of Saul, he accused and cursed David by calling him “worthless man” and “man of blood”. Abishai who supported King David wanted Shimei dead. But the King’s response is an example of one who is humbled from his past sin, the murder of Uriah the husband of Bathsheba, with whom David had committed sexual sin (see 2 Samuel 11). David said to Abishai “if he is cursing because the Lord has said to him, ‘curse David’ who then shall say, ‘why have you done so’. The King said to all his servants “Behold, my own son seeks my life; how much more now may this Benjamite! Leave him alone, and let him curse, for the Lord has told him to”. Shimei’s accusation was true, therefore David was humbled. Ryle also gives us another example, back in Numbers 12:3 when Moses’ leadership was questioned by his brother Aaron and his sister Miriam. It is written “And the Lord heard it (the accusation made against Moses). Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth”. Moses did not defend himself, nor did he dispute with them. He knew that he did not provoke this attack and he also knew that the Lord was watching them. God was going to judge them and correct them for what they had said to his servant Moses.   A holy man will follow after temperance and self-denial. We could say that the result of becoming   meek is to live as though we have denied ourselves. To be temperate means to abstain from, or resist involvement in   things which will lead you to slide into sin. Ryle wrote the Christian “will labour to mortify the desires of his body, to crucify his flesh with his affections and lusts, to curb his passions, to restrain his carnal inclinations, lest at any time they break loose.” In the walk of our daily life, we find ourselves battling against the old corrupted nature all the time, because it desires not to do good. Ryle is simply saying that a holy man’s thought is focused on killing that evil and stopping it from having freedom and rule over his life. That kind of behaviour is shown to us in the words of the Apostle Paul who said “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection, lest that by any means when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Corinthians 9:27). In the original Greek text, Paul explains to us that he, as it were, gives himself a black eye  . He beats and punches himself up in order to make sure that he doesn’t fail his mission of winning souls for Christ. And that is what we should do every day of our lives for Christ’s sake. We must be determined to remain humble for the glory of God and to live a life of self-denial for the glory of God. Why? Because, God is glorified when we are most humbled.     If you would like to purchase the book visit : http://www.amazon.com/Holiness-Abridged-Hindrances-Difficulties-Classics/dp/0802454550 also visit : http://www.tabernaclebookshop.org/holiness-9780852341360.html                  

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