Sunday, May 27, 2007

A Word from the Prince of the Puritans on Mortifying Sin


In one of his great works on sin, John Owen expounds greatly on several directives to aid believers in the killing of sin in their lives. While reading Owen can be cumbersome given his Latinised spoken style, however, it is most definitely worth the effort.
Two guiding principles:
· Mortification is only for believers and is ultimately caused by the Spirit who indwells us.
· Mortification of sin can only happen when a person is a believer and with sincerity and diligence applied.

Nine particular directions suggested by Owen for the Mortification of Sin:

1. Consider the dangerous symptoms which attend your sin
2. Get a clear sense of the guilt, danger, and evil of the sin
3. Load your conscience with the guilt of the sin;
4. Get a constant longing for deliverance from the sin in question;
5. Consider whether the sin in question is rooted in your nature and heightened by your constitution;
6. Consider the occasions in which this sin raises its ugly head most often;
7. Rise up mightily at the first signs of the sin
8. Fill yourself with thoughts that lead to a healthy self-abasement (think upon God’s greatness)
9. Do not speak peace to yourself until God speaks it (How to rightly have peace)

“The difference between believers and unbelievers as to knowledge is not so much in the matter of their knowledge as in the manner of knowing. Unbelievers, some of them, may know more and be able to say more of God, his perfections, and his will, than many believers; but they know nothing as they ought, nothing in a right manner, nothing spiritually and savingly, nothing with a holy, heavenly light. The excellency of a believer is, not that he has a large apprehension of things, but that what he does apprehend, which perhaps may be very little, he sees it in the light of the Spirit of God, in a saving, soul-transforming light; and this is that which gives us communion with God, and not prying thoughts or curious-raised notions”. (Owen, The Mortification of Sin, p.117)

2 comments:

Frontier Forest said...

Reading through Owen’s 9 powerful points to aid believers in the killing of sin, brought me immediately to realizing my own reign of decaying, lust-filled body parts.
Paul’s sin dilemma in Roman 6 brings me strength and aid. The face of sin and the facts in dealing death unto sin, has and will never change. I strive to daily die to my old lustful body parts and see myself as being made alive, fresh, clean and new in Christ.
“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? ….. Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with HIM, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin!”
O victory in Jesus!

JDogg said...

Owen is good stuff. Many puritans were still riding at a full gallop when they passed "healthy self abasement" and didn't stop until they were well into morbid introspection...