February 11, 2019 by directorfsm
by John Owen – February 11th, 2019
Chapter 5 “WHAT MORTIFICATION IS NOT” Continued
5. Not to Conquer Sin Occasionally
b. When in some affliction
In a time of some judgment, calamity, or pressing affliction, the heart is taken up with thoughts and contrivances of flying from the present troubles, fears, and dangers. This, as a convinced(45) person concludes, is to be done only by relinquishing sin, which gains peace with God. It is the anger of God in every affliction that galls(46) a convinced person. To be relieved of this, men resolve at such times to fight against their sins. Sin never again shall have any place in them; they will never again give up themselves to the service of it. Accordingly, sin is quiet, stirs not, and seems to be mortified; not indeed that it has received any wound, but merely be-cause the soul has possessed its faculties,(47) whereby it should exert itself with thoughts against the motions of that sin—which, when they are laid aside, sin returns again to its former life and vigor.
Those described in Psalm 78 are a full instance and description of this frame of spirit whereof I speak:
For all this they sinned still and believed not for his wondrous works. Therefore, their days did he consume in vanity, and their years in trouble. When he slew them, then they sought him: and they returned and enquired early after God. And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer. Nevertheless, they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues. For their heart was not right with him, neither were they steadfast in his covenant (Ps 78:32-37).
I no way doubt but that when they sought, returned, and inquired early after God, they did it with full purpose of heart as to the relinquishing of their sins; it is expressed in the word re-turned. To turn or return to the Lord is by a forsaking of sin. This they did “early,” with earnestness and diligence; but yet their sin was unmortified for all this (vv. 36-37). This is the state of many humiliations in the days of affliction. A great deceit in the hearts of believers themselves often lies here.
These and many other ways there are whereby poor souls deceive themselves and suppose they have mortified their lusts when [their lusts] live and are mighty, and on every occasion break forth to their disturbance and disquiet.