The Cross of Doctrine and Practice

Another J.C. Ryle quote, this time nabbed from the J.C. Ryle Quotes blog:

Salvation is undoubtedly all of grace. It is offered freely in the Gospel to the chief of sinners, without money and without price. “By grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God–not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Eph. 2:8, 9) But all who accept this great salvation, must prove the reality of their faith by carrying the cross after Christ. They must not think to enter heaven without trouble, pain, suffering, and conflict on earth. They must be content to take up the cross of DOCTRINE – holding a faith which the world despises, and the cross of PRACTICE – the cross of living a life which the world ridicules as too strict, and righteous over much.

They must be willing to crucify the flesh, to mortify the deeds of the body, to fight daily with the devil, to come out from the world and to lose their lives, if needful, for Christ’s sake and the Gospel’s. These are hard sayings, but they admit of no evasion. The words of our Lord are plain and unmistakable. If we will not carry the cross, we shall never wear the crown.

~ J.C. Ryle

Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: Mark, [Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1985], 169. {Mark 8:34-38}

How true Bishop Ryle’s words truly are. It has been said that many Christians want the glory of the cross without the suffering of the cross. This is true in my life as well. But how many would truly be willing to take on the doctrine’s of the Bible as well? How many are willing to say ‘no’ to the practices of the world and endure the suffering and ridicule from the world?

Not enough, and not me. Given over to the flesh, I would readily jettison the walk of faith for the walk with the world if I were left to myself. Fortunately, I am not left to myself. This is one of the reasons that God, in His infinite wisdom, gave us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit works in us to remind us of who it is that we belong to if we endeavor to pursue the things of the world, flesh and devil. Thinking that we will find happiness there, we will not. Those things are opposed to the Spirit, and the Spirit is opposed to those things.

Given that, should we not submit to His leadership, rule and guidance in our lives? Since God has given us such a great gift of salvation, should we not pursue the things of God?

The obvious answer is ‘yes.’ That being the case, let us endeavor to follow the cross of both doctrine and practice all the more. Let the world hate us as Christ said it would. It hated Him too. But I would much rather be one of His children enduring the trials of this life, than to be a child of wrath undergoing the trials of the afterlife. Let us take up our cross and follow Christ in both doctrine and practice.