A BONUS book summary from Books At a Glance
Editor’s Note: We have said often that the focus of our work is on newer books, and it is. But of course there are some books from years and centuries gone by that have deservedly earned a permanent place in Christian reading, and in fact some of you have written to request that we feature some of these older classics. John Owen is sometimes referred to as the Dean of the Puritans and remains one of the most outstanding theologians in the English speaking world. His On the Mortification of Sin is a timeless classic indeed, demonstrating what a powerful pastoral theologian he was. At your request, we’re happy to bring you this summary of the abridged edition from Banner of Truth.
The work of diminishing the power and occurrence of sin in the life of a believer is the topic of John Owen’s treatise.
Table of Contents
1. Why the Flesh Must be Mortified
2. The Work of the Spirit in Mortification
3. How Life and comfort Depend on Mortification
4. What Mortification Is Not
5. What Mortification Is
6. Only Believers Can Mortify Sin
7. God Requires Universal Obedience
8. The Dangerous Symptoms of Sin
9. Seeing Sin for What it is
10. A tender conscience and a Watchful Heart
12. Wait for the Verdict of God
13. The Work of Christ and the Power of the Spirit
Owen’s theme text is Romans 8:13 “If by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” Owen breaks down this text into five parts to help clarify what he will be doing in this book:
1) To whom it is directed: “You believers”
Only the regenerate can proceed in the work of killing sin
2) The condition: “If you”
There is an understood promise that killing sin will infallibly produce spiritual life
3) The means of accomplishment: “The Spirit”
No means other than reliance on the Holy Spirit can be used to kill sin
4) A duty: “Put to death the deeds of the body”
The focus of mortification is not the outward symptoms of sin but its root in the sinful heart
5) A Promise: “You will live”
Indicating both the promise of eternal life to come and a degree of victory over sin now.
Why the Flesh Must be Mortified
Owen provides six answers to the question heading the chapter:
1) Indwelling sin always abides while we are in this world. Numerous Scriptures testify that the Christian’s struggle with sin does not end at conversion, in fact, it will continue to haunt him during his earthly sojourn….
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The Mortification Of Sin