Dear Sovereign Redeemer and other friends,
From J.C. Ryle’s book, “Holiness,” Chapter 18, titled “Unsearchable Riches”:
“Last of all, what do you think of Christ himself? Is he great or little in your eyes? Does he come first or second in your estimation? Is he before or behind his church, his ministers, his sacraments, his ordinances? Where is he in your heart and your mind’s eye? After all, this is the question of questions! Pardon, peace, rest of conscience, hope in death, heaven itself – all hinge upon our answer. To know Christ is life eternal. To be without Christ is to be without God. ‘He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life’ (1 John 5:12). The friends of purely secular education, the enthusiastic advocates of reform and progress, the worshippers of reason, and intellect, and mind, and science, may say what they please, and do all they can to mend the world. But they will find their labour in vain if they do not make allowance for the fall of man, if there is no place for Christ in their schemes. There is a sore disease at the heart of mankind, which will baffle all their efforts, and defeat all their plans, and that disease is sin. Oh, that people would only see and recognize the corruption of human nature, and the uselessness of all efforts to improve man which are not based on the remedial system of the gospel! Yes: the plague of sin is in the world, and no waters will ever heal that plague except those which flow from the fountain for all sin – a crucified Christ.”
Isn’t this what we are witnessing all around us – secular systems of reform which ignore the foundational element of any true reform, a Christ crucified for sinners? Those systems of reform can never do anything other than fail, making the gospel of Jesus Christ as valuable today as it has been in any age, and maybe even more so as we drift away from our historic mores.
If you are interested in a summary of “Holiness,” you can listen to one here.