Daily Devotional – Mortification of Sin

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January 11, 2019 by directorfsm

John Owen – January 11th 2019

chapel@mountzion.org www.ChapelLibrary.org


b. Activity of indwelling sin

Sin does not only still abide in us, but is still acting, still laboring, to bring forth the deeds of the flesh. When sin lets us alone we may let sin alone; but as sin is never less quiet than when it seems to be most quiet, and its waters are for the most part deep when they are still, so ought our efforts against it to be vigorous at all times and in all conditions, even where there is least suspicion of it. Sin does not only abide in us, but the “law in my members [is still] warring against the law of my mind” (Rom 7:23); and “the spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy” (Jam 4:5). It is always in continual work: “The flesh lusteth against the Spirit” (Gal 5:17); lust is still tempting and conceiving sin (Jam 1:14).

In every moral action sin is always either inclining to evil, hindering from that which is good, or discomposing the spirit from communion with God. It inclines to evil: “The evil which I would not, that I do,” says the apostle (Rom 7:19). From what source is that? Why, be-cause “in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing” (7:18). And it hinders from good: “The good that I would [do, that] I do not” (7:19)—that is, upon the same account, either I do it not, or not as I should, all my holy things being defiled by this sin. “The flesh lusteth against the Spirit… so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (Gal 5:17). And it discomposes our spirit, and thence is called “the sin which doth so easily beset us” (Heb 12:1)—on which account are those grievous complaints that the apostle makes of it (Rom 7). So sin is always act-ing, always conceiving, always seducing and tempting.

Who can say that he ever had anything to do with God or for God, in which indwelling sin had not a hand in the corrupting of what he did? And sin will continue this practice more or less all our days. If, then, sin will be always acting, and we will not always be mortifying, we are lost creatures. He that stands still and suffers his enemies to double blows upon him without resistance will undoubtedly be conquered in the end. If sin be subtle, watchful, strong, and al-ways at work in the business of killing our souls, and we be slothful, negligent, and foolish in proceeding to the ruin thereof, can we expect a comfortable outcome? There is not a day but sin foils or is foiled, prevails or is prevailed on; and it will be so while we live in this world.

I shall discharge him from this duty who can bring sin to a cessation of arms in this war-fare. If it will spare him any one day, in any one duty (provided he be a person that is acquaint-ed with the spirituality of obedience and the subtlety of sin), then let him say to his soul regarding this duty: “Soul, take your rest.” The saints, whose souls desire deliverance from its perplexing rebellion, know there is no safety against it but in a constant warfare.



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