Living In or Below our Spiritual Privileges

Written By: John - Oct• 30•12

This morning my reading group discussed chapter six of JC Ryle’s book Holiness.  Chapter six is on Christian Growth and is one of the more practical chapters in the book.  It centers around three points: 1) The Reality of Religious Growth, 2) The Marks of Religious Growth, and 3) The Means of Religious Growth.  There were many lines that I found helpful, but there was one sentence that really stood out.

Ryle said, “A man may be a believer and have his feet on the rock, and yet live far below his privileges.  It is possible to have union with Christ and yet to have little if any communion with Him.”  I don’t want to get to heaven and find that I spent what little time I had on earth living below my privileges.  I want to make the most of what God has given to me and I want to live in constant communion with Him.  How is that possible?

When Ryle talked about the means of religious growth he gave several ways you and I can take full advantage of the things Christ secured for us upon the cross.  He talked about (a) the private means—prayer, reading the Bible, meditation, and self-examination.  Ryle said, “Here are the roots of true Christianity.  Wrong here, a man is wrong all the way through!”

He also spoke of (b) the public means of growth—Sunday worship, common prayer and praise, the preaching of God’s Word, and the Lord’s Supper.  He spoke of (c) the need to keep watch over the little matters of everyday life—such as our tempers, our tongues, our relations, and jobs.  Ryle said, “Life is made up of days, and days of hours, and the little things of every hour are never so little as to be beneath the care of a Christian.”

He spoke of (d) the need for good Christian friends.  Ryle said, “Let us seek friends that will stir us up about our prayers, our Bible reading, and our employment of time, about our souls, our salvation, and a world to come.”  Finally, he spoke of (e) the regular and habitual communion with the Lord Jesus.

It was in this last section that I found the quote about communion with Christ.  Do you make full use of the means God has given us by which we can grow in our faith?  One thing is true—when we die and stand before Him all that will matter is what we do with Him.  Let me close with a solemn reminder from Ryle,

 “All things are growing older: the world is growing old; we ourselves are growing older.  A few more summers, a few more winters, a few more sicknesses, a few more sorrows, a few more weddings, a few more funerals, a few more meetings, and a few more partings, and then—what?  Why the grass will be growing over our graves.”

What then?  Don’t live below the privileges available unto you—make the most of the means of grace and grow in Him—you’ll spend an eternity being glad that you did!


You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>