It is an awful truth, and worthy of all consideration, that knowledge not acted upon, in God’s sight, is not merely useless and unprofitable. It is much worse than that. It will add to our condemnation and increase our guilt in the judgment day. A faith that does not influence a man’s practice is not worthy of the name.
There are only two classes in the Church of Christ,—those who believe and those who do not. The difference between the true Christian and the mere outward professor [one who has professed Christ] just lies in one word;—the true Christian is like Moses, “He has faith;”—the mere outward professor has none. The true Christian believes, and therefore lives as he does; the mere professor does not believe, and therefore is what he is…
Now does any reader of this paper desire to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ? Would you bring forth much fruit? Would you be eminently holy and useful? Would you be bright, and shine as a light in your day? Would you, like Moses, make it clear as noon-day that you have chosen God before the world? I dare be sure that every believer will reply, “Yes! yes! yes! these are the things we long for and desire.”
Then take the advice I give you this day:—go and cry to the Lord Jesus Christ, as the disciples did, “Lord, increase our faith.” Faith is the root of a real Christian’s character. Let your root be right, and your fruit will soon abound. Your spiritual prosperity will always be according to your faith. He that believeth shall not only be saved, but shall never thirst,—shall overcome,—shall be established,—shall walk firmly on the waters of this world,—and shall do great works.
J. C. Ryle [1816–1900], Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties and Roots, (William Hunt and Company, 1889), 209–211