by J.C. Ryle
We cannot be reminded of this too often. Sadly, we are apt to forget that there is a close relationship between sin and sorrow, holiness and happiness, sanctification and comfort. God has so wisely ordered it, that our happiness and our holiness are linked together. He has mercifully provided that even in this world it will be to a person’s best interest to be holy.
Our justification is not by works-our calling and election are not according to our works-but it is vain for anyone to suppose that he will have a active sense of his justification, or an assurance of his calling, so long as he neglects good works, or does not strive to live a holy life. “We know that we have come to know Jesus if we obey his commands.” (1 John 2:3) “This is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest” (1 John 3:19).
A believer may just as soon expect to feel the sun’s rays on a dark and cloudy day, as to feel strong comfort and happiness in Christ while he does not completely follow Him. When the disciples deserted the Lord and fled, they escaped danger, but they were miserable and sad. But when, a little while later, they confessed Him boldly before men, they were cast into prison and beaten; but we are told “The apostles rejoiced because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name [of Jesus]” (Acts 5:41). Oh, for our own sakes, if there were no other reason, let us strive to be holy! They that follow Jesus most fully will always follow Him most happily.
by J.C. Ryle