A Brief Book Summary from Books At a Glance
by Steve West
Editor’s Note: Most of our readers will already be at least somewhat acquainted with John Owen (1616-1683), “the prince of Puritans,” but it is not likely that many have read him extensively. His works are not only voluminous – they are tightly packed and deeply considered. Owen is neither quick nor light reading!
Today we continue our year-long series of summaries of Owen’s famous works. We trust these will be of help in introducing and/or increasing your acquaintance with this giant Puritan theologian.
Table of Contents
Discourse on the Holy Spirit [In Five Books]
Summary, Part 4
Chapter I: The Nature of Sanctification and Gospel Holiness Explained
God alone can make us holy and incorporate us into the body of Christ. We cannot be holy on our own any more than we can give ourselves life. God is the God of peace, and we cannot have peace with him unless he makes us holy. Sanctification, “is the immediate work of God by his Spirit upon our whole nature, proceeding from the peace made for us by Jesus Christ, whereby, being changed into his likeness, we are kept entirely in peace with God, and are preserved unblamable, or in a state of gracious acceptance with him, according to the terms of the covenant, unto the end.”
Only the Spirit can help us see what true evangelical holiness is, and there are none who are so opposed to it as those who practice works-righteousness. Even many believers need better instruction in these things. No effect of holiness will fail to reap its everlasting reward. Every virtue and the very nature of holiness itself will find perfection in glory.
God requires holiness of us; it is the duty of every man. In the gospel, we see how our sins are removed and how we can attain holiness in Christ. We are to make every effort to attain Christ and to grow in our subjective holiness. We cannot make ourselves holy or atone for our own sins—though the heart of sinful man attempts to do this in religious works—but there is free and full pardon for sins in Jesus. We do not supply merit or righteousness for justification or salvation.
Holiness with its fruits is what God requires of every man, and so this is a topic of maximum importance. In grace, God not only commands us to be holy, he promises to make us holy; he promises to cleanse us, renew us, and incline our hearts to himself so that we can fear him and walk according to his ways. God transforms us so that we love and delight in his holy ways, and we prayerfully and humbly walk in them. . . .[To continue reading this summary, please see below....]
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