February 22, 2019 by directorfsm
by John Owen – February 22st, 2019
Chapter 7 “RULES FOR MORTIFICATION” Continued
The general rules and principles without which no sin will be ever mortified are as follows:
A. Belief required for mortification
1). The first rule
A. Unless a man be a believer, one that is truly engrafted into Christ, he can never mortify any one sin.
I do not say, unless he knows himself to be so, but unless indeed he is so. Mortification is the work of believers: “If ye through the Spirit do mortify,” etc. (Rom 8:13)—you believers, to whom there is no condemnation (8:1). They alone are exhorted to it: “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth” (Col 3:5). Who should mortify? You who are “risen with Christ” (3:1), whose “life is hid with Christ in God” (3:3), who shall “appear with him in glory” (3:4). An unregenerate man may do something like it, but he can never perform the work itself so as it may be acceptable with God. You know what a picture of it is drawn in some of the philosophers: Seneca, Tully, Epictetus.(56) What affectionate discourses they have about contempt of the world and self, about regulating and conquering all exorbitant affections and passions! The lives of most of them showed that their teachings differed as much from true mortification as the sun painted on a sign-post from the sun in the heavens: they had neither light nor heat.(57) Their own Lucian(58) sufficiently manifests what they all were. There is no death of sin without the death of Christ.
You know what attempts there are made after mortification by the papists in their vows, penances, and satisfactions. I dare say of them (I mean as many of them as act upon the principles of their church, as they call it) what Paul says of Israel in point of righteousness. They have followed after mortification, but they have “not attained to” it (Rom 9:31). Wherefore? “Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law” (9:32). The same is the state and condition of all among ourselves who, in obedience to their convictions and awakened consciences, attempt to forsake sin. They follow after it, but they do not attain it.