Posts Tagged ‘greatest grace’

Encouraging Words from J.C. Ryle

July 12, 2010 Comments off

From J.C. Ryle, Practical Religion (chapter 7, Love):

The love of the Bible will show itself in a believer’s “readiness to bear” evil as well as to do good. It will make him patient under provocation, forgiving when injured, meek when unjustly attacked, quiet when slandered. It will make him bear much, put up with much and look over much, submit often and deny himself often, all for the sake of peace. It will make him control his temper, and check his tongue. True love is not always asking, “What are my rights? Am I treated as I deserve?” but, “How can I best promote peace? How can I do that which is most edifying to others?”


The reasons why love is called the greatest of the three graces, appear to me plain and simple. Let me show what they are.

(a) Love is called the greatest of graces because it is the one in which there is “some likeness between the believer and his God.” God has no need of faith. He is dependent on no one. There is none superior to Him in whom He must trust.–God has no need of hope. To Him all things are certain, whether past, present, or to come.–But “God is love:” and the more love His people have, the more like they are to their Father in heaven.

(b) Love, for another thing, is called the greatest of the graces because “it is most useful to others.” Faith and hope, beyond doubt, however precious, have special reference to a believer’s own private individual benefit. Faith unites the soul to Christ, brings peace with God, and opens the way to heaven. Hope fills the soul with cheerful expectation of things to come, and, amid the many discouragements of things seen, comforts with visions of the things unseen. But love is preeminently the grace which makes a man useful. It is the spring of good works and kindnesses. It is the root of missions, schools, and hospitals. Love made apostles spend and be spent for souls. Love raises up workers for Christ and keeps them working. Love smooths quarrels, and stops strife, and in this sense “covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). Love adorns Christianity and recommends it to the world. A man may have real faith, and feel it, and yet his faith may be invisible to others. But a man’s love cannot be hidden.

(c) Love, in the last place, is the greatest of the graces because it is the one which “endures the longest.” In fact, it will never die. Faith will one day be swallowed up in sight, and hope in certainty. Their office will be useless in the morning of the resurrection, and like old almanacs, they will be laid aside. But love will live on through the endless ages of eternity. Heaven will be the home of love. The inhabitants of heaven will be full of love. One common feeling will be in all their hearts, and that will be love.