Living or Dead?

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If you are alive spiritually, let your Christianity be so unmistakable, your eye so clear, your heart so whole, and your walk so straightforward that all who see you may have no doubt about whose you are and whom you serve.

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Are you indeed alive unto God? Can you say with truth, “I was dead and am alive again; I was blind, but now I see”? Then accept this word of exhortation and lean your heart toward wisdom.

Are you alive? Then see that you prove it by your actions. Be a consistent witness. Let your words, works, ways, and attitudes all tell the same story. Do not let your life be a poor, sluggish life, like that of a tortoise or a sloth. Instead, let it be an energetic and passionate life, like that of a deer or a bird. Let your grace shine out from all the windows of your conversation so that those who live near you may see that the Spirit is abiding in your heart. Do not let your light be a dim, flickering, uncertain flame, but let it burn steadily like the eternal fire on the altar and never become low. Let the savor of your religion, like Mary’s precious ointment, fill all the houses where you live. Be a letter of Christ so clearly written and penned in such large, bold characters that those who run may read it (2 Corinthians 3:2).

Let your Christianity be so unmistakable, your eye so clear, your heart so whole, and your walk so straightforward that all who see you may have no doubt about whose you are and whom you serve. If we are made alive by the Spirit, no one ought to be able to doubt it. Our conversation should declare plainly that we seek a better country – a heavenly one. It ought not to be necessary to tell people, as in the case of a badly painted picture, “This is a Christian.” We ought not to be so sluggish and still that people will be forced to come close, look hard, and say, “Is he dead or alive?”

 

About the Author

John Charles Ryle (1816-1900) graduated from Eton and Oxford and then pursued a career in politics, but due to lack of funds, he entered the clergy of the Church of England. He was a contemporary of Spurgeon, Moody, Mueller, and Taylor and read the great theologians like Wesley, Bunyan, Knox, Calvin, and Luther. These all influenced Ryle’s understanding and theology. Ryle began his writing career with a tract following the Great Yarmouth suspension bridge tragedy, where more than a hundred people drowned. He gained a reputation for straightforward preaching and evangelism. He travelled, preached, and wrote more than 300 pamphlets, tracts, and books, including Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, Principles for Churchmen, and Christian Leaders of the Eighteenth Century. Ryle used the royalties from his writing to pay his father’s debts, but he also felt indebted to that ruin for changing the direction of his life. He was recommended by Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli to be Bishop of Liverpool where he ended his career in 1900.

 


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