by J.C. Ryle

What must we have in order to see the Lord Jesus? The author of Hebrews charges us to pursue “holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). Outside of the Bible, no book has shaped my thinking about practical holiness in my life more than Holiness by J.C. Ryle.

While Ryle wrote in the 1800s, his discourse on holiness could not be more necessary for the Christian today. Ryle lamented that “Politics, or controversy, or party spirit, or worldliness, have eaten out the heart of lively piety in too many of us. The subject of personal godliness has fallen sadly into the background.” Had I not known that this was written in the 1800s, I would have thought that this was a description of our times.

How then does one begin his or her pursuit of holiness? Ryle surprisingly but appropriately begins the book with a chapter on sin, explaining, “He that wishes to attain right views about Christian holiness must begin by examining the vast and solemn subject of sin.” To be holy, you must hate sin! Ryle’s work will both convict you of your sin and compel you to a holy life—without which no one will see the Lord.

—Joe Zhakevich, Sojourners Fellowship Group

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