Pray until you pray. This is Puritan advice. It does not simply mean that persistence should mark much of our praying—though admittedly that is a point the Scriptures repeatedly make. Even though he was praying in line with God’s promises, Elijah prayed for rain seven times before the first cloud appeared in the heavens. . … Continue reading Prayer pointers…
We have come to the next-to-last chapter in John Owen's book: Overcoming Sin and Temptation (originally titled: Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers) The thrust of this chapter is a warning not to deceive ourselves that all is well in our fellowship with God when it is not! Owen puts it this way: "Do … Continue reading On the Mortification of Sin–Chapter 13–When God Speaks…
If we ever mean to overcome personal sin, Owen says next that we must load our consciences with the guilt of it. We do this by looking at the holy law of God in comparison to our own inability to keep it. And lest we protest that we are no longer under the law's condemnation, Owen … Continue reading On the Mortification of Sin–Chapter 11–Bring on the Guilt!
"It is...only in the cross where the despairing sinner finds relief from the curse and wrath of God. It is not by looking within but by looking outside of oneself and one's own experience, to the sight of Christ crucified, that the trembling heart can find peace with God." --Michael Horton, In the Face of … Continue reading Only in the Cross
Sin's guilt is real, its danger great, and its evil consequences sure. Keeping these realities in mind when we are tempted will help us resist sin's allure. This is Owen's next direction for overcoming sin: "Get a clear and abiding sense upon your mind and conscience of the GUILT, DANGER, and EVIL of your sin." … Continue reading On the Mortification of Sin–Chapter 10–Consider and tremble!
With this chapter John Owen commences to give 'particular directions' regarding how to put sin to death in ourselves. The first instruction is to identify the nature of your sin--how deeply rooted is it? He offers seven characteristics of sin that will require extraordinary measures in order to be eradicated. Some sins will be harder to … Continue reading On the Mortification of Sin–Chapter 9–Take Stock!
Why do we struggle to overcome sin? Do we hate sin because it is sin or merely because it causes us trouble? In this chapter Owen targets our motives in wanting to be free of sin. He makes the case that: "There will be No Mortification of Any Sin without Sincerity and Diligence in a … Continue reading On the Mortification of Sin–Chapter 8–Motives Matter
I found myself in the last chapter chomping at the bit for something practical and specific for this task of 'mortification' at hand. Some 'ways and means' would be good to get into. But in Chapter Seven, it is as though Owen cautions me: 'not so fast, not so fast'. First some general guidelines... There … Continue reading On the Mortification of Sin–Chapter 7–Impossible without Christ!
We are sometimes poor judges of what love looks like. When pain is involved we are apt to say, this cannot be love. (Thus spanking of children has gone out of vogue, for instance.) But God's love is our model. And this kind of love goes far beyond the cozy warm feeling we get singing the … Continue reading Behold, the Father’s love for us…
Now that we have a sense of what mortification is NOT it would be good to know what it actually IS. Owen lays out in this chapter three characteristics of Mortification. Following is my summary of his thoughts. Owen's opening remarks remind us of our natural state apart from mortification... … Continue reading Of the Mortification of Sin—Chapter 6—What does this look like?