J. C. Ryle on ‘Overcoming the World’ as a Mark of Righteousness

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

Continuing further in Ryle’s Knots Untied, this is what the good Bishop had to say about the next mark of regeneration, “overcoming the world”:

Fifthly, John says, “Whatever is born of God overcomes the world”-I John 5:4.

A man born again, or regenerate, does not make the world’s opinion his rule of right and wrong. He does not mind going against the stream of the world’s way, notions and customs. “What man will say?” is no longer a turning-point with him. He overcomes the love of the world. He finds no pleasure in things which most around him call happiness. He cannot enjoy their enjoyments: they weary him: they appear to him vain, unprofitable, and unworthy of an immortal being. He overcomes the fear of the world. He is content to do many things which all around him think unnecessary, to say the least. They blame him: it does not move him. They ridicule him: he does not give way. He loves the praise of God more than the praise of men. He fears offending Him more than giving offense to man. He has counted the cost. It is a small thing with him no whether he is blamed or praised. He is no longer the servant of fashion and custom. To please the world is quite a secondary consideration with him. His first aim is to please God.

I place this mark also before you. What would the Apostle say about you? Are you born again?

The next mark we will see, according to Ryle, is watchfulness over one’s own soul.



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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