(J.C. Ryle, "Holiness, Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties, and Roots")
"Without holiness, no man shall see the Lord!" Hebrews 12:14
Are we holy? Shall we see the Lord?
In this hurrying, bustling world--let us stand still for a few minutes and consider the matter of holiness. It is a solemn thing to hear the Word of God saying, "Without holiness, no man shall see the Lord!"
A man may go great lengths in religion--and yet never reach true holiness.
What is true practical holiness?
It is not knowledge--Balaam had that.
It is not great profession--Judas Iscariot had that.
It is not doing many things--Herod had that.
It is not zeal for certain matters in religion--Jehu had that.
It is not morality and outward respectability of conduct--the rich young ruler had that.
It is not taking pleasure in hearing preachers--the Jews in Ezekiel's time had that.
It is not keeping company with godly people--Joab and Gehazi and Demas had that.
Yet none of these were holy people! These things alone, are not holiness. A man may have any one of them--and yet never see the Lord!
Let me try to draw a picture of Biblical holiness, that we may see it clearly before the eyes of our minds.
1. Holiness is the habit of being of one mind with God, according as we find His mind described in Scripture.
2. A holy man will endeavor to shun every known sin, and to keep every known commandment.
3. A holy man will strive to be like our Lord Jesus Christ.
4. A holy man will follow after meekness, patience, gentleness, patience, kind tempers, and government of his tongue.
5. A holy man will follow after temperance and self-denial.
6. A holy man will follow after love and brotherly kindness.
7. A holy man will follow after a spirit of mercy and benevolence towards others.
8. A holy man will follow after purity of heart.
9. A holy man will follow after the fear of God.
10. A holy man will follow after humility.
11. A holy man will follow after faithfulness in all the duties and relations in life.
12. Last--but not least, a holy man will follow after spiritual-mindedness.
The above is merely the "outline" of Ryle's picture. If you desire to see the whole picture drawn out--you will have to read the first several pages from his outstanding chapter, "Holiness".