The Characteristics of Holiness

This is from the classic work by J.C. Ryle, Holiness It’s Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties & Roots. You can purchase your copy at Monergism Books.

From Monergism Books,

John Charles Ryle’s best-known works have been reissued and widely read over many years. The fine qualities of his writings have ensured that his books are still popular and useful. This present volume has become a classic work and is known and loved by many throughout the world.

In days when evangelical preachers are accused of being either superficial or dull, we have here a great example from one who was neither of these things. As Bishop Ryle explains and applies his texts with his customary simplicity and directness, the reader will find his conscience pricked and his soul examined. Ryle’s Holiness has become essential reading on this most important subject and the first chapter on ‘sin’ has rarely been bettered.

Ryle was appointed as the first Bishop of Liverpool in 1880 and was the leader of the Evangelical Party in the Church of England for more than half a century. He is highly regarded for his plain and lively writings on practical and spiritual themes, and their usefulness and impact have been consistently recognized and remain as wise and relevant today as when he first wrote them.

  1. Holiness is the habit of being of one mind with God.
  2. A holy man will endeavor to shun every known sin, and to keep every known commandment.
  3. A holy man will strive to be like our Lord Jesus Christ.
  4. A holy man will follow after meekness, longsuffering, gentleness, patience, kind tempers and government of his tongue.
  5. A holy man will follow after temperance and self-denial.
  6. A holy man will follow after charity and brotherly kindness.
  7. A holy man will follow after a spirit of mercy and benevolence.
  8. A holy man will follow after purity of heart.
  9. A holy man will follow after the fear of God.
  10. A holy man will follow after humility.
  11. A holy man will follow after faithfulness in all the duties and relations in life.
  12. A holy man will follow after spiritual-mindedness.
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One thought on “The Characteristics of Holiness


    Circumspectly. The further a man falls away from the Lord, the bigger fool he becomes, for sin will always make people do things that they do not want to do. We have seen that on the television screens, how celebrities make huge fools of themselves. You will find that all people who do ridiculous things like that will have no knowledge of Christ or His Words. Some of them confess that they know God, but in words and actions they deny Him, Romans 1:22, “Professing themselves to be wise, they become fools”.

    Psalm 14:1, “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.”
    I guess this is the first sign that will give man’s character away, for it tells us about the way he leads his life. Characteristics of a fool as defined in the Bible. – First you cannot trust him, for he has no fear of God. He despises Christians who follow Christ’s teachings, he hates the knowledge of God’s Word when he hears it, he becomes a companion with other foolish people and he will desire to be with them, drinking heavily and speaking profanities, he also becomes very crooked in his transactions.

    Full of deceit, this must surely describe many that are in the world today. I guess that this is a picture of sin itself in our world, and an example of how we must not let sin reign in our hearts. For if we do, then sin will make us also do foolish things, things which we would be very ashamed of. Let us always come to Jesus, asking His forgiveness, for He is the power and the wisdom of God. “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise.” Ephesians 5:15.

    Now the word circumspect means to be weary and watchful in our conduct. An example of this can be found in Exodus 23:13, “And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.” You see from this scripture that a man may ruin himself through careless speaking, so, let us walk in the wisdom and the power of God by being circumspect.

    “Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things. For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips. All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them. For wisdom is better than rubies; and all things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.” Proverbs ch 8:6-11.


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