Posted by: William | December 28, 2007

Mortification of Sin: Chapter 7

Along with a community of people from Challies.com, I am reading Of The Mortification of Sin in Believers as found in the collection of classics by John Owen Overcoming Sin and Temptation. It’s not to late to join this adventure. Go here and read this. Then go here and buy this.

Today, I continue reading in chapter seven. In this chapter Mr. Owen lays some premises for some practical teaching on mortification. The one (and only) that he covers in this chapter is the time of mortification. Mr. Owen argues that mortification is the concern of the regenerate man, never the unbeliever. This is because it is not something the unbeliever is able to do. “An unregenerate man may do something like [mortification]; but the work itself, so as it may be acceptable to God, he can never perform.” Even though some unregenerate man may attempt to stop sinning, they “seek it not by faith” (Rom 9:31-32) and so they cannot ever truly succeed.

Mr. Owen elaborates more on an angle that I feel very strongly about. When the men and women came to Jesus to be healed, they always came sick and broken. Our structures often portray things as if people ought to get themselves together before they come. ‘When the Jews upon the conviction of their sin, were cut to the heart and cried out, “What shall we do?” (Acts 2:37), what does Peter direct them to do? Does he bid them go and mortify their pride, wrath, malice, cruelty, and the like? No; he knew that was not their present work, but he calls them to conversion and faith in Christ in general’. The church sets up all kinds of systems and picket lines to make people stop sinning before that is truly even their duty; truly even their capability.

I feel it necessary to point out that Mr. Owen does make it abundantly clear that sin is evil in every respect and in being so is bad for everyone. Great chaos and torment would ensue if it were not for a merciful God who restrains it, to a degree, in many. “Let, then, the word be preached and the sins of men rebuked, [and] lust will be restrained, and some oppositions will be made against sin; though that be not the effect aimed at.”

We need to remember that when we encounter the unbeliever, his duty is not to mortify his sin, he couldn’t if he wanted to, but rather to repent and believe the Gospel; from his conviction and conscience a desire for the former will flow.

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Responses

  1. I was pondering something Jesus said to the Father in what I consider to be one of the most encouraging statements of faith concerning us who believe..the entire chapter of John 17 is remarkable..however what rose up in my heart today was when He says that the Father had given Him,The Son, authority over all flesh. This means our flesh must bow before Him. This statement alone is worth meditating upon for a while.

    Anyone who has tried to mortify the flesh with any determination at all soon finds themselves in a quandry…I deal with one thing and woe is me..here is another. He (The Holy Spirit/Jesus)once showed me a glass tumbler that appeared empty,and said “This vessel looks empty but it is actually full of air…imagine that this air is tainted like a poisonous gas,like sin within you…how does the glass get the gas out…it can not ,of itself..but watch this, as I pour the water in…it pushes out the air and fills the space in the glass completely and still pouring…now it is overflowing….This is how it is with the water of My Word, My Spirit…my words are spirit and they are life to you. Ask Me to fill you every morning with My Spirit which will bring to life My Word within you and you will not have to struggle to get the gas out. Be yielded and still,you know it is your Father’s perfect will to give you the kingdom , Ask and keep on asking…You believe and I’ll do the pouring. ”

    It is good to know that it is His authority and His determination not to lose a single one of us who believe that keeps us,because if it were up to us ..we’d all be in deep trouble. May we all acknowledge His authority over every aspect of our flesh and while we are learning obediance..it is His Blood that covers all of our sins… Pour on Lord Jesus! Hallelujah!


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