My “Principles of Sanctification” class at RTS Jackson reads J.C. Ryle’s classic, Holiness. Ryle always aims to reach the heart of his reader.
Among the marks of growing in grace, he writes, is increase in love.
The man whose soul is ‘growing’ is more full of love every year – of love to all men, but especially love toward the brethren. His love will show itself actively in a growing disposition to do kindness, to take trouble for others, to be good-natured to everybody, to be generous, sympathizing, thoughtful, tender-hearted, and considerate. It will show itself passively in a growing disposition to be meek and patient toward all men, to put up with provocation and not stand upon rights, to bear and forbear much rather than quarrel. A growing soul will try to put the best construction on other people’s conduct, and to believe all things and hope all things, even to the end. There is no surer mark of backsliding and falling off in grace than an increasing disposition to find fault, pick holes, and see weak points in others. Would anyone know if he is growing grace? Then him look within for increasing love.”
– J.I. Packer. Faithfulness and Holiness: The Witness of J.C. Ryle (Wheaton:
Crossway, 2002), 193-194. (The book includes the full text of the first edition of Ryle’s Holiness.)