Pursuing Purity Pt.6 – Hope for the Battle Weary

2 02 2007

This is the final post on pursuing purity (at least for a while). Over the past few weeks I’ve been sharing some gems from John Owen’s Mortification of Sin, seeking to give just a sample of the extraordinary counsel and wisdom of this volume. The blessing I have received from going back over the book is enormous – it is a bit like Polonium 210: once you’re in contact with it it leaves its mark!

For me, Owen strikes a wonderful balance in his treatment of indwelling sin. He simultanaeously leaves no quarter for pride or for dejection, but gives a clear eyed view of our sinfulness while providing comfort and balm to our hearts. His unrelenting focus is Christ, and that is so utterly refreshing. His is no self-help manual abounding in pragmatism, but rather practical vital godliness founded in the character of our Saviour and His work.

A fitting quote to end on, then, is Owen’s note of hope for the battle weary – which he sounds towards the end of his volume. Owen writes with the courage of an infantryman when dealing with sin, but the tenderness of a field doctor when dealing with Christian souls. Listen as he consoles and helps those who are seeking to ‘kill sin’, but are finding the way difficult:

‘By faith ponder on this, that though thou art no way able in or by thyself to get the conquest over thy distemper, though thou art weary of contending, and art utterly ready to faint, yet that there is enough in Jesus Christ to yield thee relief’.

May God give us grace to mortify sin, to realise that we must be killing it, or it will be killing us, and may the utter sufficiency of the Saviour be our focus, our hope, and our victory.

This has just been a sample of Owen’s treatment of sin. For those hungry for more the Banner of Truth publish a paperback version with modernised English which is very helpful.

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