The plain truth is, that God’s scheme of salvation is like a ladder let down from heaven to earth, to bring together the holy God, and the sinful creature, man.
God is at the top of the ladder and man is at the bottom. The top of the ladder is far above, out of our sight, and we have no eyes to see it. There, at the top of that ladder, are God’s eternal purposes, – His everlasting covenant, His Election, His predestination of a people to be saved by Christ. From the top of that ladder comes down that full and rich provision of mercy for sinners which is revealed to us in the Gospel.
The bottom of that ladder is close to sinful man on earth, and consists of the simple steps of repentance and faith. By them he must begin to climb upwards. In the humble use of them he shall mount higher and higher every year, and get clearer glimpses of good things yet to come.
~ J.C. Ryle