First then, let me try to show what true practical holiness is,—what sort of persons are those whom God calls holy
A man may go great lengths, and yet never reach true holiness. It is not knowledge,—Balaam had that: nor great profession,—Judas Iscariot had that: nor doing many things,—Herod had that: nor zeal for certain matters in religion,—Jehu had that: nor morality and outward respectability of conduct,—the young ruler had that: nor taking pleasure in hearing preachers,—the Jews in Ezekiel’s time had that: nor keeping company with godly people,—Joab and Gehazi and Demas had that. Yet none of these were holy! These things alone are not holiness. A man may have any one of them, and yet never see the Lord.
What then is true practical holiness? It is a hard question to answer. I do not mean that there is any want of Scriptural matter on the subject. But I fear lest I should give a defective view of holiness, and not say all that ought to be said; or lest I should say things about it that ought not to be said, and so do harm. Let me, however, try to draw a picture of holiness, that we may see it clearly before the eyes of our minds. Only let it never be forgotten, when I have said all, that my account is but a poor imperfect outline at the best.
(a) Holiness is the habit of being of one mind with God, according as we find His mind described in Scripture. It is the habit of agreeing in God’s judgment,—hating what He hates,—loving what He loves,—and measuring everything in this world by the standard of His Word. He who most entirely agrees with God, he is the most holy man.
J. C. Ryle, Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties and Roots (London: William Hunt and Company, 1889), 50–51.