Once again, don’t run away from this blog post just because it’s got a bit of a Puritan flavor to it. I mentioned last week that I’ve been running through John Owen’s Overcoming Sin and Temptation and trying to distill each chapter to its essence—to a few choice quotes that capture the flavor of what Owen is trying to communicate. I recently summarized the first chapter, The Foundation of Mortification. Today I want to share what I learned from the second chapter, which has the rather long and clunky title of “Believers Ought to Make the Mortification of Indwelling Sin Their Daily Work.” I shortened it to “Daily Put Sin to Death.” In this chapter Owen seeks to show that Christians need to work every day to put sin to death (Owen’s word mortification simply means put to death).
Here is how he goes about building his argument. You can see from the headings how he progresses.
“The choicest believers, who are assuredly freed from the condemning power of sin, ought yet to make it their business all their days to mortify the indwelling power of sin.”
“Do you mortify?
Do you make it your daily work?
Be always at it while you live.
Cease not a day from this work.
Be killing sin or it will be killing you.”
Indwelling Sin Always Lives On
“We have a ‘body of death’ (Rom. 7:24), from whence we are not delivered but by the death of our bodies (Phil. 3:20). Now, it being our duty to mortify, to be killing of sin while it is in us, we must be at work. He that is appointed to kill an enemy, if he leave striking before the other ceases living, does but half his work.”