Today, we are continuing our study with JC Ryle. Before we venture into today’s devotion, let me tell you a little about Ryle. JC Ryle was born in 1816 and died in 1900. He was the first Anglican Bishop of Liverpool. He was a writer, pastor and an evangelical preacher.
As I had mentioned yesterday, I felt the Lord leading me to the February 23rd Scripture study of Ryle in his collection called Daily Readings, Evening. This collection of notes on Scripture has a morning and evening reading and notes to coincide with the Scriptures.
The notes are based on the following text, John 5:1-17 and Genesis 3:13-19. In John 5:1-17, the text refers to a paralytic who is lying beside the pool of Bethesda, waiting for years to be healed. He is lying on a bed and every time he tries to get up and go into the pool for healing waters, someone else takes the place of the prior person.
This man had been an invalid for thirty-eight years and when Jesus approached, He knew the man had been laying there for a very long time. In verse 6, Jesus said to the man, “Do you want to be healed?” Now, it was the Sabbath and according to the law, no one was supposed to do any work. The sick man answered Jesus and said that he had no one to put him into the pool. Then Jesus said to him, “Get up and take your bed and walk!” (8). “And at once, the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked” (9).
Because it was the Sabbath, the Jews asked the man why he was carrying his bed and the man told him that the man at the pool told him to get up and take his bed and walk and he did and he was healed. After Jesus healed the man, he withdrew into the crowd. Later, in the day, Jesus went to the temple and saw the man whom he had healed. In verse 14, Jesus said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus that healed him. The Jews were angry and were persecuting Jesus because he worked in ministry on the Sabbath. In verse 17, Jesus said to the Jews, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”
In Genesis 3:13-19, God was angry at Adam, Eve, and the serpent. God pronounced the punishment on their sin of disobedience and eating the forbidden fruit. This was the Fall of man and the punishment as a result of that fall from God’s grace.
Even back in the 1800’s when JC Ryle wrote these notes, there was sickness and infirmities. People got sick and many had dreaded illnesses and they died. The reason we have illnesses today stems back to the Fall of man when Adam and Eve sinned against God and disobeyed Him.
Ryle mentions the paralytic invalid at the waters of the Bethesda Pool. He wrote, “When we read of cases like this, we should remember how deeply we ought to hate sin! Sin was the original root and cause and fountain of every disease in the world, God did not create man to be full of aches and pains and infirmities. These things are the fruits of the Fall. There would have been no sickness if there had been no sin” (Ryle 2020).
Ryle also references Proverbs 14:9, “’Fools’, says the wise man, ‘make a mock of sin.’” Back in his day, he wrote, “Thousands delight in things which are positively evil and run greedily after that which is downright poison. They love that which God abhors (hates) and dislike that which God loves. They are like the madman who loves his enemies and hates his friends. Their eyes are blinded. Surely if men would only look at hospitals and infirmities and think of havoc sin has made on this earth, they would never take pleasure in sin as they do” (Ryle 2020).
Wow! Did you read this last paragraph? It sounds very much like it was written about today’s society in 2020. But instead of being thousands of people, it is more like millions and millions of people who delight in things which are positively evil and run after poison.
I bet many are wondering if the current pandemic is a punishment of God? Based on what we have read and studied, yes, it is. It is along with all the other illnesses, the result of the Fall, but there is hope through Jesus Christ. Although mankind has been punished for what Adam and Eve did, we have salvation through Jesus Christ. It is through His death that we are granted eternal life, but with one catch. We must believe in Jesus, that He is the Son of God, that He died to save us from our sins and that He rose three days later. We are to ask forgiveness and repent from our wicked ways, and live our lives in a manner pleasing to Him. Look at the verse one more time. In John 5:14, “Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” We are to stay steady in Christ.
Until Christ returns again, we most likely will continue to have illnesses, infirmities, and pandemics. Look at Philippians 3:20-21, “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” There will be no more pain, no more suffering, no more infirmities.
If you do not know Jesus, won’t you ask Him into your heart today?
Pray this simple prayer. Dear Jesus, I am a sinner. I believe that you are the Son of God and that you came into the world to save it. I believe you died on the cross to save me of my sins. I believe that you rose from the grave on the third day. I ask you to come into my heart and forgive me from all the sins and trespasses I have ever committed. Thank you, Jesus, for saving my soul. I pray this in Jesus Name!
Ryle, JC Daily Readings. Edited by Robert Sheehan. Welwyn Garden City: EP Books, 2020.
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