J. C. Ryle on Belief as a Mark of Regeneration

This post originally appeared at the Prydain website. It is republished here with Will Prydain’s permission.

Going a little further in Ryle’s Knots Untied, this is what the good Bishop had to say about belief as a mark of regeneration:

(2) Secondly, St. John says, “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God.” (1 John v. 1.)

A regenerate man believes that Jesus Christ is the only Saviour by whom his soul can be pardoned and justified, that He is the Divine Person appointed and anointed by God the Father for this very purpose, and that beside Him there is no Saviour at all. In himself he sees nothing but unworthiness, but in Christ he sees ground for the fullest confidence, and trusting in Him he believes that his sins are all forgiven, and his iniquities all put away. He believes that for the sake of Christ’s finished work and death upon the cross he is reckoned righteous in God’s sight, and may look forward to death and judgment without alarm. He may have his fears and doubts. He may sometimes tell you he feels as if he had no faith at all. But ask him whether he is willing to trust in anything instead of Christ, and see what he will say. Ask him whether he will rest his hopes of eternal life on his own goodness, his own amendments, his prayers, his minister, his doings in church and out of church, either in whole or in part, and see what he will reply. Ask him whether he will give up Christ, and place his confidence in any other way of salvation. Depend upon it, he would say, that though he does feel weak and bad, he would not give up Christ for all the world. Depend upon it, he would say, he found a preciousness in Christ, a suitableness to his own soul in Christ that he found nowhere else, and that he must cling to Him. Reader, I place this mark before you. What would the Apostle say about you? Are you born again?

Next we will see what Ryle says about living righteously as a mark of regeneration.



Will Prydain lives in Birmingham, Alabama, and attends an Anglican church nearby. By conviction and training he tends to look at things from an evangelical, Reformed Anglican perspective.


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