THOUGHTS ON SELF-DENIAL IN THE MODERN WORLD

“They that are Christ’s,” says Paul, “have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts.” (Gal. 5:24.)

self-denial1We learn, for one thing, the absolute necessity of daily self-denial. We ought every day to crucify the flesh, to overcome the world, and to resist the devil. We ought to keep under our bodies, and bring them into subjection. We ought to be on our guard, like soldiers in an enemy’s country. We ought to fight a daily battle, and war a daily warfare. The command of our Master is clear and plain: “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”

Now what do we know of all this? Surely this is a question which ought to be asked. A little formal church-going, and a decent attendance at a place of worship, can never be the Christianity of which Christ speaks in this place. Where is ojesus1ur self-denial? Where is our daily carrying of the cross? Where is our following of Christ? Without a religion of this kind we shall never be saved. A crucified Savior will never be content to have a self-pleasing, self-indulging, worldly-minded people. No self-denial—no real grace! No cross—no crown! “They that are Christ’s,” says Paul, “have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts.” (Gal. 5:24.) “Whosoever will save his life,” says the Lord Jesus, “shall lose it; but whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall save it.”

-J. C. Ryle

Meet the author:  John Charles Ryle (10 May 1816 – 10 June 1900) was the first Anglican bishop of Liverpool.  Ryle was born at Macclesfield, and was educated at Eton and at Christ Church, Oxford, where he was Craven Scholar in jc-ryle1836. He was an athlete who rowed and played cricket for Oxford in seven matches which have since been determined to be first-class cricket.

In his academic life he took a first class degree in Greats and was offered a college fellowship (teaching position) which he declined. The son of a wealthy banker, he was destined for a career in politics before choosing a path of ordained ministry. While hearing Ephesians 2 read in church in 1838, he felt a spiritual awakening and was ordained by Bishop Sumner at Winchester in 1842. For 38 years he was a parish priest, first at Helmingham and later at Stradbrooke, in Suffolk. He became a leader of the evangelical party in the Church of England and was noted for his doctrinal essays and polemical writings.

Ryle was a strong supporter of the evangelical school and a critic of Ritualism. He was a writer, pastor and an evangelical preacher. Among his longer works are Christian Leaders of the Eighteenth Century (1869), Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (7 vols, 1856–69), Principles for Churchmen (1884). Ryle was described as having a commanding presence and vigorous in advocating his principles albeit with a warm disposition. He was also credited with having success in evangelizing the blue collar community. His second son, Herbert Edward Ryle also a clergyman, became Dean of Westminster.