Monday, November 10, 2008

J. C. Ryle - "Christ Died in Vain"

I recently received one of those Sunday School papers that get passed around in most evangelical churches. I happened on one that contained a quotation from J. C. Ryle. Here is the part that interested me:

There are many who hear of Christ with the ear, and believe all they are told about Him. They understand that there is no salvation apart from Christ. They acknowledge that Jesus alone can deliver them from hell, and present them faultless before God. But they seem never to get beyond this general acknowledgement. They never grasp Christ for their own souls. They stick fast in a state of wishing, and wanting, and feeling, and intending, and never get any further. They see what we mean: they know it is all true. They hope one day to get the full benefit of it, but at present they get no benefit whatever. The world is their all. Politics is their all. Business is their all. But Christ is not their all.

I warn you plainly that such a person is in a bad state of soul. Such was the faith of Judas Iscariot, or Ahab, or Cain. Believe me, there must be actual faith in Christ, or else Christ died in vain so far as you are concerned.

Three Chists: Which one do you follow?, by J. C. Ryle, Power for Living, September 21, 2008.

I'm not trying to be sensational here. But there are two things about the "Christ died in vain" language. First, it argues for an understanding of Ryle's Calvinism that can include Christ dying for some who never receive any benefit from his death. Second, the language itself reminds me of Calvin's "wasted blood" language. (If you go to that link, look for Calvin's comment on Romans 14:15 and others that contain "wasted blood" or equivalent language.) Ryle's language has a good Calvinistic pedigree.

If you want to help the readers of this blog, I would appreciate getting a good source for the Ryle quote. I've searched Tony's J. C. Ryle section at, but I don't see this quote there. Anyone with the Ryle material who can find the source for the quote gets kudos from me. :-)


YnottonY said...

Google turned up this reference for the Ryle quote:

Christ is All

YnottonY said...

Google books also has it here:

J. C. Ryle, "All in All" in "Home Truths: Being Miscellaneous Addresses and Tracts by Rev. J. C. Ryle," 3rd series (London, 1854), 250.

Steve said...

Kudos Tony. :-) Thanks, man.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't aware that Sunday School papers were actually still out there. "Back in the day" they helped pass the time during the regular service (along with those Chick Publication tracts - ha).

Steve said...

Yes, in the traditional "old fashioned" vanilla Baptist churches, they do still have Sunday School papers. Some people refuse to give up on the old stuff ... even if it is of questionable value. :-)

The Ryle quote was worth the price, though.

Steve said...

Loved those Chick tracts. LOL

prophetwitness said...

A person can believe that Christ died for sinners.....they can believe the gospel....without receiving Christ!
The Demons believe that Jesus died for Christs Sheep.....and they aren't saved! upon. Pistis.....Greek