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
On the Mortification of Sin
On Indwelling Sin in Believers
Exposition of Psalm 130
Summary, Part 2
Chapters I & II
Our foundational text for this discourse is Matthew 26:41, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation.” While Christ was agonizing in prayer, his disciples forsook all discipline. Peter had even boasted he would never deny him, and yet he couldn’t stay awake when instructed. Temptations may be exercises that make us strong, or something to destroy us. A temptation may come from God to show a person what is inside of them, or so that God can show us that we need his grace to withstand temptation or be renewed. When God calls us to great duties or great sufferings, he teaches us to draw on his resources and not our own. The type of temptation we will focus on is the temptation that actively leads toward sin. There are times when Satan tempts us by himself, and other times he enlists the help of the world or our own flesh. It would be impossible to list all the ways and combinations of ways in which we can be tempted. Anything that brings the evil out of our heart, leads us toward evil, breaks communion with God, or causes disobedience, is a temptation to sin.
As long as we live in this world we will experience temptation, but being tempted is not the same as entering into temptation. Even when we enter into a temptation, we might not fall: God can provide a way out when we are in it. We enter into temptation when it comes into our heart and mind and tries to reason with us and persuade us. When we enter into temptation it has come to a head; the decisive hour has arrived. Where there were opportunities to sin before, at the critical moment the door is open and prospects in every way seem more propitious than ever. We know it is growing close when our minds frequently turn to it, we see others who have sinned that way and we are not horrified, and we find the sin aligning itself with other things that are good. At the crucial hour, sin gets restless and is urgent. We may be allured by it, but then continue in it because of fear. The Savior’s antidote was twofold: “watch” and “pray.” . . .[To continue reading this summary, please see below....]
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