The Mortification of Sin
You will be killing sin, or sin will be killing you
One of the most valuable of all volumes in the Puritan Paperbacks series: in this faithful and careful abridgement of Owen’s classic work, this foremost of Puritan pastors shows us how to engage in lifelong warfare against the sinful tendencies that remain in us. Owen shows how the power of the Holy Spirit may be relied upon for success in this battle.
Fighting sin with human strength will produce only self-righteousness, superstition and anxiety of conscience. But with faith in Christ, and with the power of the Spirit, victory is certain. The temptations in times like Owen’s and ours are obvious on every side; the remedy to them is clearly pointed out in this practical and helpful book.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
|2||Why the Flesh Must Be Mortified||5|
|3||The Work of the Spirit in Mortification||14|
|4||How Life and Comfort Depend on Mortification||21|
|5||What Mortification Is Not||26|
|6||What Mortification Is||32|
|7||Only Believers Can Mortify Sin||40|
|8||God Requires Universal Obedience||49|
|9||The Dangerous Symptoms of Sin||54|
|10||Seeing Sin for What It Is||65|
|11||A Tender Conscience and a Watchful Heart||76|
|13||Wait for the Verdict of God||101|
|14||The Work of Christ and the Power of the Spirit||116|
This work by Owen is the best I have read so far among books that deal with sin in the believer’s life. There are two unique features of this book that make it so:
1. John Owen gives a biblical balance between human responsibility and divine power. It seems that there are two ditches in approaching a Christian’s sin life, and everything I have read on the subject usually falls into one. Some authors/preachers ONLY emphasize human responsibility. They say “Stop!” but they never say how. Therefore, all the burden of dealing with sin is laid on inadequate shoulders. This is not only a problem in literature, but in the mindset of many conservative evangelicals.
Faith and the Power for Mortification
Christians are told to deal with sin, to just stop doing it, without any exhortation to trust in God. Grace has no part in the mortification process in so many writings. Therefore they become weary and the end result is moral failure (even among leadership). The other ditch is an emphasis only on divine grace. Many voices are saying, in regards to sin, to “Let go and let God.” This emphasis on God’s power that ignores human responsibility leads men to a quietist faith which disengages both the will and the mind, and can lead to many other errors.
Owen, however, looks to Scripture and draws careful conclusions, and gives the reader the full scope of dealing with sin. “Stop, because God will enable you to stop.”
2. John Owen goes far deeper than most books and sermons on a Christian’s sin life, and examines the motives. This subject comes up over and over again in the book. He expounds on the many and varied wrong motives, and shows that if any of these are behind our repentance (or false repentance) than we are not really experiencing “godly sorrow.” This issue of motive is something I have never really seen dealt with in books of this nature, but Owen shows the immense significance of it.
This was the first book I have read by Owen. I’m looking forward to see how this great saint of the Lord will help me in the future.