This morning I began reading Ryle's long chapter (in Holiness) on assurance. At the outset he makes this comment:
"If I am not greatly mistaken, there is a very close connection between true holiness and assurance. Before I close this paper, I hope to show my readers the nature of that connection. At present, I content myself with saying that where there is the most holiness, there is generally the most assurance."
I don't know how Ryle will support this statement in the end, but I know how I would support it had I written this chapter. I would attempt to show that holiness is not an end in itself, but rather that growth in holiness is roughly equivalent to an increased vision of God (e.g., Mat. 5:8; Heb. 12:10, 14; 1 John 3:1-3). To put it another way, I would attempt to show that the purpose of holiness is communion with God.
The root of assurance is that I know him--not just that I know facts about what he's done for me and what he's promised me, as important as these things are. But rather that I know him and commune with him and learn of him and receive from him every day of my life. I'm sure that I will be shocked beyond words when I actually see my Lord and Savior. I'm sure that he will be more glorious than I've ever imagined. I'm sure that what he has prepared for those who love him will take my breath away and be so far beyond anything I've ever seen or heard or imagined.
However, in that day I will not meet a stranger. I will meet my Father with whom I have been walking in Christ for more than 21 years now.
Holiness leads to assurance because holiness is the path to communion with God. That's how I would argue the case. I look forward to seeing how Pastor Ryle argues it.