Sunday, January 10, 2010

John Owen on The Need for Mortification

The Need for Mortification

"The promise of life and vigor in our spiritual life depends much upon our mortification of sin. To gain spiritual strength, we must weaken sin, disentangle our hearts from false ambitions, and cleanse our thoughts. We must also mortify our affections so that we become more engaged in the worship of God than in the worship of our own idols. Mortification prunes indwelling sin and allows the graces of God to grow with vigor in our life." (201)

"Mortification robs sin of its debilitating, inharmonious, and emotionally distracting influences. Without mortification, sin darkens the mind, while the lusts of the flesh grow like weeds. Mortificati9on is the soul's vigorous opposition to the fruit-less self-life." (201)

The Daily Mortification of Sin

The most saintly believers, who appear free from the condemning power of sin, make it their duty every day to mortify the indwelling power of sin." (202)

"Since indwelling sin always abides in the believer, we always need to mortify it." (202)

"Sin is always acting, always conceiving, always seducing and tempting. To dare and stand still is to lose the battle." (202)

"It is our duty to "grow in grace" (2 Peter 2:18), to be "perfecting holiness in the fear of God" (2 Cor. 7:1) by "renewing the inward man day by day" (2 Cor. 4:16). We cannot do this without daily mortifying sin. Sin sets its strength against every act of holiness and against every step of faith. Thus in spite of the mortification exhibited in the cross of Christ for each and every sin, we must apply its efficacy by our daily mortification of the flesh." (203)

"Every professor of faith who fails to mortify sin daily exhibits two evil characteristics. First, he has little regard for the reality of sin in his own life. The cause of this indifference is his ability to adsorb and digest sins daily, without bitterness or repentance...Second, he deceives others in his unmortified state. He appears alright in comparison to others. He seems to walk separated from the world, yet he still lives in its ways. He talks spiritually, but he lives in vanity. He mentions his communion with God, but he in every way conformed to the world. He boasts of the forgiveness of God, but he never forgives others. He actually deceives himself into thinking he is a partaker of eternal life." (203, emphasis mine)

Quotes from Triumph Over Temptation (Houston, John M. Triumph Over Temptation. Colorado Springs: Victor, 2005)

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