Here is the second of J.C.Ryle’s applications from Luke 10:17-20.
Gifts… are very inferior to grace.
Ryle is commenting on Jesus’ words, “…rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Whatever gifts God may give us, whatever successes in gospel ministry, it is “a far higher privilege to be converted and pardoned…and to have our names written in the register of saved souls.”
Gifts, such as mental vigour, vast memory, striking eloquence, ability in argument, power in reasoning, are often unduly valued by those who possess them, and unduly admired by those who possess them not (my emphasis).” We need to remember that “gifts without grace save no one’s soul… He that has gifts without grace is dead in sins… But he that has grace without gifts is alive to God, however unlearned and ignorant he may appear to man.
In vintage Ryle style he ends like this: Without the marks of grace,
a man may have abundance of gifts and turn out to be nothing better than a follower of Judas Iscariot, the false apostle, and go at last to hell. With such marks, a man may be like Lazarus, poor and despised upon earth, and have no gifts at all. But his name is written in heaven, and Christ shall own him as one of His people at the last day.