“Grace, grace, free grace, has done it all” by J.C. Ryle

“If you have a good hope, be thankful, for it, and give God daily praise. Who has made you to differ? Why have you been taught to feel your sins, and nothingness, while others are ignorant and self-righteous?

Why have you been taught to look to Jesus, while others are looking to their own goodness, or resting on some mere form of religion? Why are you longing and striving to be holy, while others are caring for nothing but this world?

Why are these things so?

There is but one answer,—Grace, grace, free grace, has done it all. For that grace praise God. For that grace be thankful.

Go on, then, to your journey’s end, “rejoicing in hope of the glory of God.” (Rom. 5:2) Go on, rejoicing in the thought that though you are a poor sinner Jesus is a most gracious Saviour, and that though you have trials here for a little season, heaven shall soon make amends for all.

Go on, wearing hope as a helmet in all the battles of life,—a hope of pardon, a hope of perseverance, a hope of acquittal in the judgment day, a hope of final glory.

Put on the breast-plate of righteousness: take the shield of faith; have your loins girt about with truth: wield valiantly the sword of the Spirit. But never forget—as ever you would be a happy Christian—never forget to put on the “helmet of hope.” (1 Thess. 5:8)

Go on, in spite of an ill-natured world, and be not moved by its laughter or its persecution, its slanders or its sneers. Comfort your heart with the thought that the time is short, the good things yet to come, the night far spent, the “morning without clouds” at hand. (2 Sam. 23:4) When the wicked man dies his expectation perishes; but your expectation shall not deceive you,—your reward is sure.

Go on, and be not cast down because you are troubled by doubts and fears. You are yet in the body: this world is not your rest. The devil hates you because you have escaped from him, and he will do all he can to rob you of peace.

The very fact that you have fears is an evidence that you feel you have something to lose. The true Christian may ever be discerned by his warfare quite as much as by his peace, and by his fears quite as much as by his hopes.

The ships at anchor at Spithead may swing to and fro with the tide, and pitch heavily in a south-eastern gale; but so long as their anchors hold the ground they ride safely, and have no cause to fear.

The hope of the true Christian is the “anchor of his soul, sure and steadfast.” (Heb. 6:19) His heart may be tossed to and fro sometimes, but he is safe in Christ. The waves may swell, and lift him up and down, but he will not be wrecked.

Go on, and “hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet. 1:13) Yet a little time, and faith shall be changed to sight, and hope to certainty: you shall see even as you have been seen, and know even as you have been known.

A few more tossings to and fro on the waves of this troublesome world,—a few more battles and conflicts with our spiritual enemy,—a few more years of tears and partings, of working and suffering, of crosses and cares, of disappointments and vexations,—and then, then we shall be at home.

The harbour lights are already in view: the haven of rest is not far off. There we shall find all that we have hoped for, and find that it was a million times better than our hopes.

There we shall find all the saints,—and no sin, no cares of this world, no money, no sickness, no death, no devil. There, above all, we shall find Jesus, and be ever with the Lord! (1 Thess. 4:17)

Let us hope on. It is worth while to carry the cross and follow Christ. Let the world laugh and mock, if it will; it is worth while to have “a good hope through grace,” and be a thorough decided Christian.

I say again,—Let us hope on.”

–J.C. Ryle, “Our Hope,” Old Paths: Being Plain Statements of Some of the Weightier Matters of Christianity (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1877/2013), 111-113.

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