Do you mortify; do you make it your daily work; be always at it whilst you live; cease not a day from this work; be killing sin, or it will be killing you. Your being dead with Christ virtually, your being quickened with him, will not excuse you from this work. – John Owen
In Part One of this article, I encouraged you to make it a goal for yourself in the new year to begin putting sin to death, and I introduced you to John Owen’s seminal work, The Mortification of Sin. Romans 8:13 is Owen’s key verse: “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death (mortify) the deeds of the body, you will live” (New King James). He began by defining what it means to mortify, or put to death, sin, and why it’s the duty of every Christian to do so. He pointed out that only true believers can engage in the work of mortifying sin, because an unconverted person who has not been given a new nature or the Holy Spirit, can never make himself righteous.
“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.”
A new year often inspires people to start fresh by making resolutions and setting goals for themselves – things they want to experience or accomplish, and often changes they determine to make for the better, such as breaking bad habits. In the past, I have challenged readers to consider reading through the entire Bible in the coming year, and I encourage you to do so again. This year I’d like to encourage you to consider developing another habit, if you haven’t done so: killing sin in your life. With that in mind, let me commend to you John Owen’s masterful, convicting, and helpful work, The Mortification of Sin.
Introductory Essay to John Owen’s The Death of Death in the Death of Christ by J. I. Packer
“…we speak of God’s love as if it were no more than a general willingness to receive any who will turn and trust; and we depict the Father and the Son, not as sovereignly active in drawing sinners to themselves, but as waiting in quiet impotence “at the door of our hearts” for us to let them in…this set of twisted half-truths is something other than the biblical gospel.” – Packer
I’ve heard it said that the works of Puritan pastor and theologian John Owen need to be read aloud or standing up in order to avoid falling asleep! It’s not so much that the material is boring per se, but that Owen’s writing style is difficult to wade through and the effort, while worth it, can be mentally taxing. Owen’s classic work, The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, published in 1648, biblically explores the subject of the atonement — that is, the purpose and effect of Christ’s death in carrying out God’s plan of redemption. Owen’s purpose was to show “that the doctrine of universal redemption is unscriptural and destructive to the gospel.” He discusses in depth the question, “For whom did Christ suffer and die?” with three possible answers: 1) All of the sins of all men; 2) Some of the sins of all men; or 3) All of the sin of some men. Of course, only one of these can be the true answer, and the answer must come from Scripture, not from one’s preconceived notions, opinions, or feelings. Continue reading “Christ’s Death: For All, Some or None?”→