Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Tragedy of a Useless Religion

There are multitudes of people, I believe, who go to church or chapel every Sunday merely as a form. Their fathers or mothers went, and so they go; it is the fashion of the country to go, and so they go; it is the custom to attend a religious service and hear a sermon, and so they go. But as to real, vital, saving religion–they neither know nor care anything about it.
They can give no account of the distinctive doctrines of the Gospel. Justification, regeneration and sanctification, are “words and names” which they cannot explain. They may have a sort of vague idea that they ought to go to the Lord’s Table, and may be able to say a few vague words about Christ–but they have no intelligent notion of the way of salvation. As to the Holy Spirit, they can scarcely say more about Him than that they have heard His name. Now, I will warn you affectionately to remember that such religion is utterly useless. It will neither save, comfort, satisfy, nor sanctify your soul. And the plain advice I give you is to change it for something better without delay. Remember my words. It will not do at the last.
~ J.C. Ryle
Old Paths, “Having the Spirit”, [Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1999], 315, 316.

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