In chapter three of J. C. Ryle’s Holiness he offers these twelve marks of true and practical holiness in the believer.
- Holiness is the habit of being of one mind with God, according as we find His mind described in Scripture.
- A holy man will endeavour to shun every known sin, and to keep every known commandment.
- A holy man will strive to be like our Lord Jesus Christ.
- A holy man will follow after meekness, longsuffering, gentleness, patience, kind tempers, government of his tongue.
- A holy man will follow after temperance and self-denial.
- A holy man will follow after charity and brotherly kindness.
- A holy man will follow after a spirit of mercy and benevolence toward others. Do good.
- A holy man will follow after purity of heart.
- A holy man will follow after the fear of God.
- A holy man will follow after humility. “He will see more evil in his own heart than in any other in the world.”
- A holy man will follow after faithfulness in all the duties and relations in life.
- A holy man will follow after spiritual mindedness.
In short, a holy man follows hard after God (Psalm 63:8). How vigorous is your pursuit of God and His holiness today?
In the same chapter, Ryle adds this clarification about our pursuit of hoiness:
It is the greatest misery of a holy man that he carries about with him a “body of death”;—that often when he would do good “evil is present with him”; that the old man is clogging all his movements, and, as it were, trying to draw him back at every step he takes (Rom. vii. 21). But it is the excellence of a holy man that he is not at peace with indwelling sin, as others are. He hates it, mourns over it, and longs to be free from its company. The work of sanctification within him is like the wall of Jerusalem—the building goes forward “even in troublous times” (Dan. ix. 25).
May we know the great misery of indwelling sin and the excellence of no peace with it.