True faith does not depend merely on the state of man’s head and understanding, but on the state of his heart. His mind may be convinced. His conscience may be pierced. But so long as there is anything the man is secretly loving more than God, there will be no true faith. The man himself may be puzzled, and wonder why he does not believe. He does not see that he is like a child sitting on the lid of his box, and wishing to open it, but not considering that his own weight keeps it shut.
Let a man make sure that he honestly and really desires first the praise of God. It is the lack of an honest heart which makes many stick fast in their false religion all their days, and die at length without peace. Those who complain that they hear, approve, assent, but make no progress, and cannot get any hold on Christ, should ask themselves this simple question – “Am I honest? Am I sincere? Do I really desire first the praise of God?”
A true believer’s religion does not consist in mere intellectual assent to a certain set of propositions and doctrines. It is not a mere cold belief of a certain set of truths and facts concerning Christ. It consists in union, communion, and fellowship with an actual living Person, Jesus the Son of God. It is a life of faith in Jesus, confidence in Jesus, leaning on Jesus, drawing out of the fullness of Jesus, speaking to Jesus, working for Jesus, loving Jesus, and waiting for Jesus to come again. For more on J.C. Ryle, go to J.C. Ryle Quotes