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Marks of Growth


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Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

—2 Peter 3:18

How can one know if he is is growing in grace? Ryle offers six marks of a growing Christian:

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(a) One mark of ‘growth in grace’ is increased humility. The man whose soul is ‘growing,’ feels his own sinfulness and unworthiness more every year. He is ready to say with Job, ‘I am vile,’—and with Abraham, I am ‘dust and ashes,’—and with Jacob, ‘I am not worthy of the least of all Thy mercies,—and with David, ‘I am a worm,’—and with Isaiah, ‘I am a man of unclean lips,’—and with Peter, ‘I am a sinful man, O Lord’ (Job 40:4; Gen. 18:27; 32:10; Ps. 22:6; Isa. 6:5; Luke 5:8). . . . The further he journeys in the way to heaven, the more he understands what St. Paul means when he says, ‘I am not already perfect,’—‘I am not meet to be called an Apostle,’—‘I am less than the least of all saints,’—‘I am chief of sinners’ (Phil. 3:12; 1 Cor. 15:9; Eph. 3:8; 1 Tim. 1:15). . . . Would anyone know whether he is growing in grace? Be sure that you look within for increased humility.

(b) Another mark of ‘growth in grace’ is increased faith and love towards our Lord Jesus Christ. The man whose soul is ‘growing,’ finds more in Christ to rest upon every year, and rejoices more that he has such a Saviour. . . . In short, he discovers a suitableness in Christ to the wants of his soul, of which the half was once not known to him. Would anyone know if he is growing in grace? Then let him look within for increased knowledge of Christ.

(c) Another mark of ‘growth in grace’ is increased holiness of life and conversation. The man whose soul is ‘growing’ gets more dominion over sin, the world, and the devil every year. . . . he thirsts and longs to have a will more entirely in unison with God’s will. . . . Would anyone know if he is growing in grace? Then let him look within for increased holiness.

(d) Another mark of ‘growth in grace’ is increased spirituality of taste and mind. The man whose soul is ‘growing’ takes more interest in spiritual things every year. He does not neglect his duty in the world. He discharges faithfully, diligently, and conscientiously every relation of life, whether at home or abroad. But the things he loves best are spiritual things. . . . Spiritual companions, spiritual occupations, spiritual conversation, appear of ever-increasing value to him. Would anyone know if he is growing in grace? Then let him look within for increasing spirituality of taste.

(e) Another mark of ‘growth in grace’ is increase of charity. The man whose soul is ‘growing’ is more full of love every year—of love to all men, but especially of love towards the brethren. . . . Would any one know if he is growing in grace? Then let him look within for increasing charity.

(f) One more mark of ‘growth in grace’ is increased zeal and diligence in trying to do good to souls. The man who is really ‘growing’ will take greater interest in the salvation of sinners every year. . . . Would any one know whether he is growing in grace? Then let him look within for increased concern about the salvation of souls.

—JC Ryle, Holiness (Banner of Truth, 2014), 120–123.



Posted 2017·01·27 by David Kjos
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Posted in: Holiness (Ryle) · J C Ryle · Sanctification

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