Published on June 8, 2022 by Steve West

Banner of Truth, 1967 | 648 pages

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 Temptation
On Indwelling Sin in Believers
Exposition of Psalm 130


Summary, Part 4


A Practical Exposition of Psalm CXXX

“The design of the Holy Ghost in this psalm is to express, in the experience of the psalmist and the working of his faith, the state and condition of a soul greatly in itself perplexed, relieved on the account of grace, and acting itself towards God and his saints suitably to the discovery of that grace unto him;—a great design, and full of great instruction.”


Verses 1 & 2

These two verses show us that the basis of this psalm is built out of the state and condition of the soul. The cry comes from “out of the depths,” which refers to difficulties and dangers. Contextually it is clear that the danger is his own sin, which is why he cries for mercy and forgiveness. Even souls that have long experience of grace can be entangled in sins that press them into trials and afflictions. When we see eminent saints who fell after a long time walking with God, we must tremble and take heed lest we fall. When entangled in the depths of sin, believers may lose the sense of God’s abiding love. They now fear to draw close to God, knowing they deserve wrath and worrying about chastisements; in extremes, they may even fear being reprobate and cast off forever. God sends his arrows into the soul, and we are pierced with pains; we are rendered unfit for our spiritual duties.

In the covenant of grace, our salvation depends on the work and faithfulness of God. Despite our sin, we have peace with God in an absolute sense. This does not mean, however, that we do not fall into sins that disturb, vex, and hinder us. “Between these two extremes of absolute perfection and total apostasy lies the large field of believers’ obedience and walking with God.” A child of God cannot be ultimately lost, but they can stray and produce little fruit instead of flourishing. When we do not abound and remain in grace, there is no consolation for great sins and we can fall into the depths. Grace does not remove the root of sin, but it weakens it; some sins retain more strength than others in our hearts. God does not always deal the exact same way with his saints when they fall. . . .

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Banner of Truth, 1967 | 648 pages

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