I recently started reading a book called Holiness by J. C. Ryle. As soon as I heard of the book (I saw it mentioned in another blog’s comments), I knew that it was something I needed to read.
There were a couple of reasons in particular that it interested me:
- With the nationwide push for churches to be cool and relevant, holiness seems to be often overlooked.
- I really desire holiness in my life, but honestly, I fall so short of it even with my best intentions.
I’m only a few chapters into the book, but nearly every paragraph contains a powerful nugget of truth. I’ll share a few of my favorite quotes just in case you’re interested.
Here’s one of my favorite lines: “A true Christian is one who has not only peace of conscience, but war within. He may be known by his warfare as well as by his peace.”
Contrasting justification and sanctification: “Justification is a finished and complete work, and a man is perfectly justified the moment he believes. Sanctification is an imperfect work, comparatively, and will never be perfected until we reach heaven.”
“Holiness is the habit of being of one mind with God… agreeing in [His] judgment, hating what He hates, loving what He loves, and measuring everything in this world by the standard of His Word.”
“I do not say for a moment that holiness shuts out the presence of indwelling sin. No, far from it. It is the greatest misery… that the old man is clogging all his movements and, as it were, trying to draw him back at every step he takes (Rom. 7:21).”
“In short, to talk of men being saved from the guilt of sin, without being at the same time saved from its dominion in their hearts, is to contradict the witness of all Scripture.”
I enjoy reading, but I sometimes have a hard time carving out time to read books. In addition to that, I’m the sort of person who likes to start books but who rarely finishes a book (I’m a pretty slow reader, but my wife devours books). Even still, there have been a handful of books that have made a tremendous impact on me spiritually and emotionally.
I thought I’d list a few here in case somebody’s looking for a good read:
- Black, Red, and White (The Circle Trilogy) by Ted Dekker
Of all the fiction I’ve ever read, this series is probably my favorite. This vivid portrayal of innocence, temptation, evil, betrayal, forgiveness, legalism, and grace is mixed into a high-energy novel. If you enjoy plot twists, you’ll like the way Dekker keeps you guessing. Note: Here’s a pic I got with Ted at his book signing in Grapevine a few weeks ago. The image is blurry, but the guy in line ahead of me was nice enough to take this on his phone.
- When Heaven Weeps by Ted Dekker
Like the Circle Trilogy, this book totally rocked my world and helped me to reconsider the amazing love of God. Disclaimer: For the Christian genre, this book really pushes the limits in some areas, and I would not recommend it to any pre-teen.
- Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
If you’ve never read anything by Lewis before, prepare to pour over each page he discusses basic Christian doctrine and beliefs. This is deep stuff, but it’s very readable.
- Dangerous Wonder by Mike Yaconnelli
I love the spirit of this book. It’s a refreshing reminder that a relationship with God isn’t something neat and tidy – reserved for a worship service on Sunday mornings.
- Streams in the Desert – by L.B. Cowman
This devotional-style collection of writings has often been a source of hope and strength to me during difficult times of life.
I’d love to hear about particular books (fiction or non-fiction) that have made a difference in your life. If you want to mention specific books of the Bible, that’s fine too. If you don’t mind, tell us the title and author of the book as well as what you liked about it or how it has made a difference in your life.