Would you be holy? Would you become a new creature? Then you must begin with Christ. You will do just nothing at all, and make no progress — until you feel your sin and weakness, and flee to Him. He is the root and beginning of all holiness — and the way to be holy, is to come to Him by faith and be joined to Him. Christ is not wisdom and righteousness only to His people — but sanctification also. Men sometimes try to make themselves holy first of all — and sad work they make of it. They toil and labor and turn over many new leaves, and make many changes; and yet, like the woman with the issue of blood, before she came to Christ, they feel “nothing bettered — but rather worse” (Mark 5:26). They run in vain and labor in vain, and little wonder — for they are beginning at the wrong end. They are building up a wall of sand; their work runs down — as fast as they throw it up. They are baling water out of a leaky vessel; the leak gains on them — not they on the leak.
Other foundation of holiness can no man lay, than that which Paul laid — even Christ Jesus. Without Christ we can do nothing (John 15:5). It is a strong but true saying of Traill’s:
“Wisdom out of Christ is damning folly;
righteousness out of Christ is guilt and condemnation;
sanctification out of Christ is filth and sin;
redemption out of Christ is bondage and slavery!”
Do you want to attain holiness? Do you feel this day a real hearty desire to be holy? Would you be a partaker of the divine nature? Then go to Christ! Wait for nothing. Wait for nobody. Linger not. Do not think to make yourself ready. Go and say to Him, in the words of that beautiful hymn,
“Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to Your cross I cling;
Naked, flee to You for dress;
Helpless, look to You for grace.”
*This is taken from J C Ryle’s book Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties, and Roots. Click here to read it online for free.