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Practical Godliness

Category Articles
Date March 9, 2007

A reader wrote to Iain Murray: “I have a request. I am seeking Puritan or Reformed authors and books that deal with the pursuit of holiness, practical godliness and a deeper walk with Christ. I want more experimental power over sins, attitudes and the core inner failures that plague me. Any authors that you may recommend would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.”

Iain Murray replied:

You are asking me a great question – the question we all need to be pursuing daily, and, however much we attend to it, we will still be so very far short – ‘groaning within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our bodies’ (Rom. 8:23).

One thing I have learned is that the very trials, disappointments, etc. that we face in our lack of personal growth in grace are, in a hidden way, all part of God’s teaching us. On holiness, there are two main and continuing needs:

1. To grasp the objective truth as it relates to sanctification, especially in such chapters as Romans 6. Do you have John Murray’s Principles of Conduct? The chapter on the ‘Dynamic’ is very important. Lloyd-Jones expounds it in his Romans 61 – wonderful material though in places, I think, going a little beyond what is warranted. Murray’s commentary on Romans is invaluable for careful accuracy. I would put Owen on the Holy Spirit (Works, volumes 3 and 4)2, 3 in the same category. Faith has to rest on these objective truths: by faith we live, not by feelings. Walter Marshall’s Gospel Mystery of Sanctification is strong in that regard.

2. The transmitting of the objective truths into our daily experience – our duties, self-denial, prayer, care for others, etc. Here so many of the Puritans are strong, as seen in Thomas Brooks’ Works, vol. 4, for instance.4 He and others press the conscience but also give the necessary encouragement.

The inculcation of holiness is sometimes presented on an insufficiently evangelical basis, and when that happens we can simply become more burdened. Mind you, there is a type of burden (Romans 7) which is a sign of health, not defeat. Two more suggestions would be A. A. Hodge in his Evangelical Theology,5 where there is valuable material on ‘Sanctification and Good Works’, and I am assuming you know J. C. Ryle’s classic, Holiness.6

What a comfort for us to know that the Holy Spirit is the personal teacher of every believer and that Christ indwells us and will not leave his work unfinished!

I hope these few thoughts may be of some help.

Notes

    • Romans 6

      Volume 5: The New Man

      by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones


      price £16.75
      Avg. Rating

      Description

      A reader wrote to Iain Murray: “I have a request. I am seeking Puritan or Reformed authors and books that deal with the pursuit of holiness, practical godliness and a deeper walk with Christ. I want more experimental power over sins, attitudes and the core inner failures that plague me. Any authors that you may […]

    • The Works of John Owen

      Volume 3: The Holy Spriit

      by John Owen


      price £15.00

      Description

      A reader wrote to Iain Murray: “I have a request. I am seeking Puritan or Reformed authors and books that deal with the pursuit of holiness, practical godliness and a deeper walk with Christ. I want more experimental power over sins, attitudes and the core inner failures that plague me. Any authors that you may […]

    • The Works of John Owen

      Volume 4: The Work of the Holy Spirit

      by John Owen


      price £15.00

      Description

      A reader wrote to Iain Murray: “I have a request. I am seeking Puritan or Reformed authors and books that deal with the pursuit of holiness, practical godliness and a deeper walk with Christ. I want more experimental power over sins, attitudes and the core inner failures that plague me. Any authors that you may […]


    • price £15.00

      Description

      A reader wrote to Iain Murray: “I have a request. I am seeking Puritan or Reformed authors and books that deal with the pursuit of holiness, practical godliness and a deeper walk with Christ. I want more experimental power over sins, attitudes and the core inner failures that plague me. Any authors that you may […]

    • Evangelical Theology

      Evangelical Theology

      Lectures on Doctrine

      by A. A. Hodge


      price £12.00

      Description

      A reader wrote to Iain Murray: “I have a request. I am seeking Puritan or Reformed authors and books that deal with the pursuit of holiness, practical godliness and a deeper walk with Christ. I want more experimental power over sins, attitudes and the core inner failures that plague me. Any authors that you may […]

  1. Published by the Trust since this article was posted:
      • Holiness

        Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties, and Roots

        by J. C. Ryle


        price From: £9.00
        Avg. Rating

        Description

        A reader wrote to Iain Murray: “I have a request. I am seeking Puritan or Reformed authors and books that deal with the pursuit of holiness, practical godliness and a deeper walk with Christ. I want more experimental power over sins, attitudes and the core inner failures that plague me. Any authors that you may […]

This correspondence appeared in The Banner of Truth magazine, January 2007. Since that time, the author’s own Evangelical Holiness has been published by the Trust:

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