“The grand object for which every faithful minister is ordained” by J.C. Ryle

“I proclaim then, with all confidence, that any one’s soul may be saved, because Christ has once died.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has died upon the cross to make atonement for men’s sins. ‘Christ has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.’ (1 Pet. 3:18)

Christ has borne our sins in His own body on the tree, and allowed the curse we all deserved to fall on His head. Christ by His death has made satisfaction to the holy law of God which we have broken.

That death was no common death: it was no mere example of self-denial; it was no mere death of a martyr, such as were the deaths of a Ridley, a Latimer, or a Cranmer.

The death of Christ was a sacrifice and propitiation for the sin of the whole world. It was the vicarious death of an Almighty Substitute, Surety, and Representative of the sons of men.

It paid our enormous debt to God. It opened up the way to heaven to all believers. It provided a fountain for all sin and uncleanness.

It enabled God to be just, and yet to be the justifier of the ungodly. It purchased reconciliation with Him. It procured perfect peace with God for all who come to Him by Jesus.

The prison-doors were set open when Jesus died. Liberty was proclaimed to all who feel the bondage of sin, and desire to be free.

For whom, do you suppose, was all that suffering undergone, which Jesus endured at Calvary?

Why was the holy Son of God dealt with as a malefactor, reckoned a transgressor, and condemned to so cruel a death?

For whom were those hands and feet nailed to the cross? For whom was that side pierced with the spear?

For whom did that precious blood flow so freely down? Wherefore was all this done?

It was done for you! It was done for the sinful,—for the ungodly!

It was done freely, voluntarily,—not by compulsion,—out of love to sinners, and to make atonement for sin.

Surely, then, as Christ died for the ungodly, I have a right to proclaim that any one may be saved.

Furthermore, I proclaim with all confidence, that any one may be saved, because Christ still lives.

That same Jesus who once died for sinners, still lives at the right hand of God, to carry on the work of salvation which He came down from heaven to perform.

He lives to receive all who come unto God by Him, and to give them power to become the sons of God.

He lives to hear the confession of every heavy-laden conscience, and to grant, as an almighty High Priest, perfect absolution.

He lives to pour down the Spirit of adoption on all who believe in Him, and to enable them to cry, Abba, Father!

He lives to be the one Mediator between God and man, the unwearied Intercessor, the kind Shepherd, the elder Brother, the prevailing Advocate, the never-failing Priest and Friend of all who come to God by Him.

He lives to be wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption to all His people,—to keep them in life, to support them in death, and to bring them finally to eternal glory.

For whom, do you suppose, is Jesus sitting at God’s right hand? It is for the sons of men.

High in heaven, and surrounded by unspeakable glory, He still cares for that mighty work which He undertook when He was born in the manger of Bethlehem.

He is not one whit altered. He is always in one mind.

He is the same that He was when He walked the shores of the sea of Galilee.

He is the same that He was when He pardoned Saul the Pharisee, and sent him forth to preach the faith he had once destroyed.

He is the same that He was when He received Mary Magdalene,—called Matthew the publican,—brought Zacchaeus down from the tree, and made them examples of what His grace could do.

And He is not changed. He is the same yesterday, and today, and for ever. Surely I have a right to say that any one may be saved, since Jesus lives.

Once more I proclaim, with all confidence, that any one may be saved, because the promises of Christ’s gospel are full, free, and unconditional.

‘Come unto Me,’ says the Saviour, ‘all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’—’He that believeth on the Son shall not perish, but have eternal life.’—’He that believeth on Him is not condemned.’—’Him that cometh unto Me I will in no wise cast out.’—’Every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him may have everlasting life.’—’He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life.’—’If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink.’ ‘Whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.’ (Matt. 11:28; John 3:15, 18; 6:37, 40, 47; 7:37; Rev. 22:17.)

For whom, do you suppose, were these words spoken?

Were they meant for the Jews only? No: for the Gentiles also!

Were they meant for people in old times only? No: for people in every age!

Were they meant for Palestine and Syria only? No: for the whole world,—for every name and nation and people and tongue!

Were they meant for the rich only? No: for the poor as well as for the rich!

Were they meant for the very moral and correct only? No: they were meant for all,—for the chief of sinners,—for the vilest of offenders,—for all who will receive them!

Surely when I call to mind these promises, I have a right to say that any one and every one may be saved. Any one who reads these words, and is not saved, can never blame the Gospel.

If you are lost, it is not because you could not be saved. If you are lost, it is not because there was no pardon for sinners, no Mediator, no High Priest, no fountain open for sin and for uncleanness, no open door.

It is because you would have your own way, because you would cleave to your sins, because you would not come to Christ, that in Christ you might have life.

I make no secret of my object in sending forth this volume. My heart’s desire and prayer to God for you is, that your soul may be saved.

This is the grand object for which every faithful minister is ordained. This is the end for which we preach, and speak, and write.

We want souls to be saved.”

–J.C. Ryle, “Our Souls,” Old Paths: Being Plain Statements of Some of the Weightier Matters of Christianity (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1877/2013), 53-55.

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