“Nothing Will Ever Enable You to Choose God Before the World, Except Faith”

Nothing else will do it. Knowledge will not, feeling will not, a regular use of outward forms will not, good companions will not. All these may do something, but the fruit they produce has no power of continuance: it will not last. A religion springing from such sources will only endure so long as there is no “tribulation or persecution because of the Word”; but as soon as there is any, it will dry up. It is a clock without mainspring or weights; its face may be beautiful, you may turn its fingers round, but it will not go. A religion that is to stand must have a living foundation, and there is none other but faith.

There must be a real heartfelt belief that God’s promises are sure and to be depended on; a real belief that what God says in the Bible is all true, and that every doctrine contrary to this is false, whatever anyone may say. There must be a real belief that all God’s words are to be received, however hard and disagreeable to the flesh and blood, and that His way is right and all others wrong. This there must be, or you will never come out from the world, take up the cross, follow Christ, and be saved.

You must learn to believe promises better than possessions; things unseen better than things seen; things in heaven out of sight better than things on earth before your eyes; the praise of the invisible God better than the praise of visible man. Then, and then only, you will make a choice like Moses, and prefer God to the world.

– J.C. Ryle, Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties, & Roots, p. 173.

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