Tag Archives: Holiness

Suppose An Unholy Man Went to Heaven

by J.C. Ryle

Suppose for a moment that you were allowed to enter heaven without holiness. What would you do? What possible enjoyment could you feel there? To which of all the saints would you join yourself and by whose side would you sit? Their pleasures are not your pleasures, their tastes are not your tastes, their character not your character. How could you possibly be happy, if you had not been holy on earth?

Now perhaps you love the company of the light and careless, the worldly-minded and the covetous, the reveler and the pleasure-seeker, the ungodly and the profane. There will be none such in heaven.

Now perhaps you think the saints of God too strict and particular and serious. You rather avoid them. You have no delight in their society. There will be no other company in heaven.

Now perhaps you think praying and Scripture reading, and hymn singing, dull and melancholy and stupid work, a thing to be tolerated now and then, but not enjoyed. You reckon the Sabbath a burden and a weariness; you could not possibly spend more than a small part of it in worshipping God. But remember, heaven is a never-ending Sabbath. The inhabitants thereof rest not day and night, saying, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty,” and singing the praise of the Lamb. How could an unholy man find pleasure in occupation such as this?

Think you that such an one would delight to meet David and Paul and John, after a life spent in doing the very things they spoke against? Would he take sweet counsel with them and find that he and they had much in common? Think you, above all, that he would rejoice to meet Jesus, the crucified One, face to face, after cleaving to the sins for which He died, after loving His enemies and despising His friends? Would he stand before Him with confidence and join in the cry, “This is our God… we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation” (Isaiah 25:9)? Think you not rather that the tongue of an unholy man would cleave to the roof of his mouth with shame, and his only desire would be to be cast out? He would feel a stranger in a land he knew not, a black sheep amid Christ’s holy flock. The voice of cherubim and seraphim, the song of angels and archangels, and all the company of heaven, would be a language he could not understand. The very air would seem an air he could not breathe.

I know not what others may think, but to me it does seem clear that heaven would be a miserable place to an unholy man. It cannot be otherwise. People may say, in a vague way, they “hope to go to heaven”, but they do not consider what they say… We must be heavenly-minded, and have heavenly tastes, in the life that now is, or else we shall never find ourselves in heaven, in the life to come.

And now, before I go any further, let me say a few words, by way of application. For one thing, let me ask everyone who may read these pages, are you holy? Listen, I pray you, to the question I put to you this day. Do you know anything of the holiness of which I have been speaking?

I do not ask whether you attend your church regularly, whether you have been baptized, and received the Lord’s Supper, whether you have the name of Christian. I ask something more than all this: are you holy, or are you not?

I do not ask whether you approve of holiness in others, whether you like to read the lives of holy people and to talk of holy things, and to have on your table holy books, whether you mean to be holy, and hope you will be holy some day. I ask something further: are you yourself holy this very day, or are you not?

And why do I ask so straightly, and press the question so strongly? I do it because the Scripture says, “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.” It is written, it is not my fancy; it is the Bible, not my private opinion; it is the word of God, not of man: “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14).

Alas, what searching, sifting words are these! What thoughts come across my mind, as I write them down! I look at the world and see the greater part of it lying in wickedness. I look at professing Christians and see the vast majority having nothing of Christianity but the name. I turn to the Bible and I hear the Spirit saying, “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.”

Surely it is a text that ought to make us consider our ways and search our heart. Surely it should raise within us solemn thoughts and send us to prayer. You may try to put me off by saying you feel much, and think much about these things, far more than many suppose: I answer, “This is not the point. The poor lost souls in hell do as much as this. The great question is not what you think, and what you feel, but what you do.”

You may say, it was never meant that all Christians should be holy and that holiness, such as I have described, is only for great saints, and people of uncommon gifts. I answer, “I cannot see that in Scripture. I read that every man who hath this hope in Christ purifies himself’ (I John 3:3). “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.”

You may say, it is impossible to be so holy and to do our duty in this life at the same time: the thing cannot be done. I answer, “You are mistaken.” It can be done. With Christ on your side nothing is impossible. It has been done by many. David and Obadiah and Daniel and the servants of Nero’s household are all examples that go to prove it.

You may say, if you were so holy you would be unlike other people. I answer, “I know it well. It is just what you ought to be. Christ’s true servants were always unlike the world around them-a separate nation, a peculiar people, and you must be so too, if you would be saved!”

You may say, at this rate very few will be saved. I answer, “I know it. It is precisely what we are told in the sermon on the mount.” The Lord Jesus said so eighteen hundred years ago. “Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matt. 7:14). Few will be saved because few will take the trouble to seek salvation. Men will not deny themselves the pleasures of sin and their own way for a little season…

You may say, these are hard sayings; the way is very narrow. I answer, “I know it. So says the sermon on the mount.” The Lord Jesus said so eighteen hundred years ago. He always said that men must take up the cross daily, and that they must be ready to cut off hand or foot, if they would be His disciples. It is in religion as it is in other things, there are no gains without pains. That which costs nothing is worth nothing.

Truthful Love

“The person who loves you most will tell you the most truth. One of the greatest distinguishing marks of a false prophet is that he will always tell you what you want to hear – he will never rain on your parade, he will get you clapping, he will get you jumping, he will make you dizzy, he will keep you entertained, and he will present a Christianity to you that will make your church look like a Six Flags over Jesus. And keep you so entertained you are never addressed with great issues such as these: Is God working in my life? Am I growing in holiness? Have I truly been born again?”

~ Paul Washer

Books Every Guy Should Read (Pt. 3)

This part of this list focuses on Theology/Christian History/Apologetics. It’s not exhaustive by any means, but these were a few of the titles I came up with off the top of my head…


Thoughts for Young Men by J.C. Ryle
A scripture-saturated exhortation specifically aimed at young men from the timeless pen of J.C. Ryle. A must-read.

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
A thoughtful, eloquently-written defense of the Christian faith. If you haven’t read it, you must.

The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul
I’m about half-way through this one now, and all I can say is, Wow. Go read it for yourself. As James Boice said, “It may be a bit early to call [it] one of the classic theological works of our time. But if it does not have that status yet, it is well on its way to achieving it.”

Foxe’s Book of Martyrs by John Foxe
No explanation needed whatsoever.

Holiness by J.C. Ryle
A superb handling of subjects many evangelicals today wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole, including the power and depth of indwelling sin, the necessity of holy living, counting the cost of following Christ… and that’s just for starters.

Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin
This is one I have yet to read myself, but I’ve heard so much about it that I have little doubt it should be on this list.

The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis
Despite purporting to be about public education, this Lewis book is primarily a razor-edged attack on relativism that simultaneously presents a superb argument for the necessity of recognizing objective values.

Tactics by Gregory Koukl
Essentially a game book for discussing your Christian convictions, specifically with non-believers. Koukl – who holds MA degrees in both apologetics and philosophy – introduces various techniques that will help you share your faith with others more confidently, graciously, and effectively.

All God’s Children and Blue Suede Shoes by Kenneth Meyers
Fantastic stuff. A thoroughly worthwhile read on how Christians should relate to pop culture.

The Christian Life by Sinclair Ferguson
One of the clearest, most concise overviews of the fundamentals of the Christian faith I’ve ever read. It’s short, but filled to the brim with rich, scriptural doctrine that you can really sink your teeth into.

Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand
One of those books that, once read, is impossible to forget. And there’s no hyperbole in that statement, either.

Have any recommendations of your own? Any book you think should be featured in future installments of this list? If so, be my guest and share ‘em down in the comments section.

War on the Word

Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”
And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’”
Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
Genesis 3:1-6

Notes from Steven Lawson’s message “War on the Word”, featured at the Ligonier Minstries’ 2011 National Conference:

Our holy God has an unholy opponent: Satan. And the supreme way Satan attacks God’s holiness is by attacking the inerrancy and truthfulness of God’s Word.

The first weapon Satan uses in his war on the Word is DOUBT. “Has God indeed said?” Where God has placed a period, Satan places a question mark. Confidence is condemned as arrogance, while doubt is praised as a virtue. Darkness is preferred to light, mystery is preferred to clarity, questions are preferred to convictions. This is a slippery slope, indeed. As Martin Luther once stated, “Take away assertions and you take away Christianity.” Make no mistake: the hottest part of hell is reserved for those who call God’s Word into question.

Satan’s second weapon is DISTORTION. “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” We are merely the messengers of God’s Word; we are not the editors of it. Sadly though, in this day and age, the culture tells the Church what the Word of God is allowed to say. Simply declaring, “Thus says the Lord” is no longer very popular; we are told we must adapt, be “relevant”, communicate in a manner that appeals to “modern sensibilities”. And this is wrong.

Next in Satan’s arsenal is DENIAL. “You will not surely die…” Having questioned and distorted God’s Word, blatant denial of it is the next step. Notice that the first truth that Satan questions is that of divine judgment: he’s already air conditioning hell. But know this: in the Christian religion, there is no good news without bad news. In fact, the bad news is what makes the good news so overwhelmingly amazing; it is the black cloth against which the diamond shines out all the brighter. Throw out divine judgment, and Christ’s atonement is absolutely worthless.

Then comes DEFAMATION. “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened..” God is falsely portrayed as a deceitful, manipulative, and selfish being who doesn’t really want the best for His children. Rather, His instructions are merely a way to keep them in a perpetual state of bondage.

Finally, there’s the DEIFICATION of man. “…and you will be like God.” Man’s greatest temptation is not to fall down, but to fall up. He fancies himself the determiner of what is good and what is evil. He fancies himself the definer of truth. In short, he fancies himself to be God. And he is greatly deceived.

And what is the result of undermining and disobeying the Word of God? DEATH is the result. When our first parents ate the forbidden fruit in disobedience to God’s command, mankind died: physically, emotionally, spiritually. For to depart from God’s Word is to depart from God Himself.