Degrees and varieties of grace
(J. C. Ryle, "The Gospel of
"Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus."
This verse teach us that Christ loves all
who are true Christians.
The characters of these three people seem
to have been somewhat different. Of Martha,
we are told in a certain place, that she was
"anxious and troubled about many things,"
while Mary "sat at Jesus' feet, and heard His
word." Of Lazarus we are told nothing distinctive
Yet all these were loved by the Lord Jesus. They
all belonged to His family, and He loved them all.
We must carefully bear this in mind in forming
our estimate of Christians. We must never forget
that there are varieties in character, and that the
grace of God does not cast all believers into one
and the same mold.
Admitting fully that the 'foundations' of Christian
character are always the same, and that all God's
children repent, believe, are holy, prayerful, and
Scripture loving; we must make allowances for
wide varieties in their temperaments and habits
of mind. We must not undervalue others because
they are not exactly like ourselves.
The flowers in a garden may differ widely,
and yet the gardener feels interest in all.
The children of a family may be curiously unlike
one another, and yet the parents care for all.
It is just so with the Church of Christ.
There are degrees of grace, and varieties of
grace; but the least, the weakest, the feeblest
disciples are all loved by the Lord Jesus.
Then let no believer's heart fail because of his
infirmities; and, above all, let no believer dare
to despise and undervalue a brother.