Category Archives: Gospel according to Luke

“A good hope is a hope that rests entirely on Jesus Christ” by J.C. Ryle

“A good hope is a hope that rests entirely on Jesus Christ.

What says St. Paul to Timothy? He says that Jesus Christ ‘is our hope.’ What says he to the Colossians? He speaks of ‘Christ in you the hope of glory.’ (1 Tim. 1:1. Coloss. 1:27)

The man who has a good hope founds all his expectations of pardon and salvation on the mediation and redeeming work of Jesus the Son of God.

He knows his own sinfulness; he feels that he is guilty, wicked, and lost by nature: but he sees forgiveness and peace with God offered freely to him through faith in Christ.

He accepts the offer: he casts himself with all his sins on Jesus, and rests on Him.

Jesus and His atonement on the cross,—Jesus and His righteousness,—Jesus and His finished work,—Jesus and His all-prevailing intercession,—Jesus, and Jesus only, is the foundation of the confidence of his soul.

Let us beware of supposing that any hope is good which is not founded on Christ. All other hopes are built on sand.

They may look well in the summer time of health and prosperity, but they will fail in the day of sickness and the hour of death. ‘Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.’ (1 Cor. 3:11)

Church-membership is no foundation of hope. We may belong to the best of Churches, and yet never belong to Christ.

We may fill our pew regularly every Sunday, and hear the sermons of orthodox, ordained clergymen, and yet never hear the voice of Jesus, or follow Him. If we have nothing better than Church-membership to rest upon we are in a poor plight: we have nothing solid beneath our feet.

Reception of the sacraments is no foundation of hope. We may be washed in the waters of baptism, and yet know nothing of the water of life.

We may go to the Lord’s table every Sunday of our lives, and yet never eat Christ’s body and drink Christ’s blood by faith.

Miserable indeed is our condition if we can say nothing more than this! We possess nothing but the outside of Christianity: we are leaning on a reed.

Christ Himself is the only true foundation of a good hope.

He is the rock,—His work is perfect.

He is the stone,—the sure stone,—the tried corner-stone.

He is able to bear all the weight that we can lay upon Him. He only that buildeth and ‘believeth on Him shall not be confounded.’ (Deut. 32:4; Isa. 28:16; 1 Peter 2:6)”

–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), 94-95.

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“Stick to your Bible” by J.C. Ryle

“The hope which ‘maketh not ashamed’ (Rom. 5:5) is never separate from God’s Word.

Men wonder sometimes that ministers press them so strongly to read the Bible. They marvel that we say so much about the importance of preaching, and urge them so often to hear sermons.

Let them cease to wonder, and marvel no more. Our object is to make you acquainted with God’s Word.

We want you to have a good hope, and we know that a good hope must be drawn from the Scriptures.

Without reading or hearing you must live and die in ignorance. Hence we cry, “Search the Scriptures” “Hear, and your soul shall live.” (John 5:39. Isa. 55:3.)

I warn every one to beware of a hope not drawn from Scripture. It is a false hope, and many will find out this to their cost.

That glorious and perfect book, the Bible, however men despise it, is the only fountain out of which man’s soul can derive peace.

Many sneer at the old book while living, who find their need of it when dying.

The Queen in her palace and the pauper in the workhouse, the philosopher in his study and the child in the cottage,—each and all must be content to seek living water from the Bible, if they are to have any hope at all.

Honour your Bible,—read your Bible,—stick to your Bible.

There is not on earth a scrap of solid hope for the other side of the grave which is not drawn out of the Word of God.”

–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), 94.

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“Cleave to the Lord” by J.C. Ryle

“My last word of application shall be an affectionate exhortation to every reader of this paper who has found out the value of his soul, and believed in Jesus Christ. That exhortation shall be short and simple.

I beseech you to cleave to the Lord with all your heart, and to press towards the mark for the prize of your high calling.

I can well conceive that you find your way very narrow. There are few with you and many against you.

Your lot in life may seem hard, and your position may be difficult. But still cleave to the Lord, and He will never forsake you.

Cleave to the Lord in the midst of persecution.

Cleave to the Lord, though men laugh at you and mock you, and try to make you ashamed.

Cleave to the Lord, though the cross be heavy and the fight be hard. He was not ashamed of you upon the Cross of Calvary: then do not be ashamed of Him upon earth, lest He should be ashamed of you before His Father who is in heaven.

Cleave to the Lord, and He will never forsake you. In this world there are plenty of disappointments,—disappointments in properties, and families, and houses, and lands, and situations.

But no man ever yet was disappointed in Christ. No man ever failed to find Christ all that the Bible says He is, and a thousand times better than he had been told before.

Look forward, look onward and forward to the end! Your best things are yet to come. Time is short. The end is drawing near. The latter days of the world are upon us.

Fight the good fight. Labour on. Work on. Strive on. Pray on. Read on.

Labour hard for your own soul’s prosperity. Labour hard for the prosperity of the souls of others.

Strive to bring a few more with you to heaven, and by all means to save some.

Do something, by God’s help, to make heaven more full and hell more empty.

Speak to that young man by your side, and to that old person who lives near to your house.

Speak to that neighbour who never goes to a place of worship.

Speak to that relative who never reads the Bible in private, and makes a jest of serious religion.

Entreat them all to think about their souls. Beg them to go and hear something on Sundays which will be for their good unto everlasting life.

Try to persuade them to live, not like the beasts which perish, but like men who desire to be saved.

Great is your reward in heaven, if you try to do good to souls.”

–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), 58-59.

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“The whole extent of God’s love towards sinners” by J.C. Ryle

“My tongue is not able to tell, and my mind is too weak to explain, the whole extent of God’s love towards sinners, and of Christ’s willingness to receive and save souls.”

–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), 60.

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“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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“Our blessed Saviour’s unwearied kindness” by J.C. Ryle

“Let us learn a lesson from the centurion’s example.

Let us, like him, show kindness to every one with whom we have to do.

Let us strive to have an eye ready to see, and a hand ready to help, and a heart ready to feel, and a will ready to do good to all.

Let us be ready to weep with them that weep, and rejoice with them that rejoice.

This is one way to recommend our religion, and make it beautiful before men.

Kindness is a grace that all can understand.

This is one way to be like our blessed Saviour. If there is one feature in His character more notable than another, it is His unwearied kindness and love.

This is one way to be happy in the world, and see good days. Kindness always brings its own reward.

The kind person will seldom be without friends.”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Luke (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1858/2012), 1: 155. Ryle is commenting on Luke 7:1-10.

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“With Christ nothing is impossible” by J.C. Ryle

“Let us see, furthermore, in this mighty miracle, a lively emblem of Christ’s power to quicken the dead in sins. In Him is life.

He quickeneth whom He will. (John 5:21.) He can raise to a new life souls that now seem dead in worldliness and sin.

He can say to hearts that now appear corrupt and lifeless, “Arise to repentance, and live in the service of God.”

Let us never despair of any soul. Let us pray for our children, and faint not.

Our young men and our young women may long seem travelling on the way to ruin. But let us pray on.

Who can tell but He that met the funeral at the gates of Nain may yet meet our unconverted children, and say with almighty power, “Young man, arise.”

With Christ nothing is impossible.”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Luke (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1858/2012), 1: 162-163. Ryle is commenting on Luke 7:11-17.

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