February 23, 2019 by directorfsm
by John Owen – February 23rd, 2019
Chapter 7 “RULES FOR MORTIFICATION” Continued
2). The Spirit required
It is true: it is, it will be, required of every person who hears the Law or gospel preached, that he mortify sin. It is his duty, but it is not his immediate (59) duty; it is his duty to do it, but to do it in God’s way. If you require your servant to pay so much money for you in such a place, but first to go and collect it in another, it is his duty to pay the money appointed, and you will blame him if he does not do it. Yet it was not his immediate duty: he was first to collect it according to your direction. So, it is in this case: sin is to be mortified, but something is to be done in the first place to enable us thereunto.
I have proved that it is the Spirit alone that can mortify sin; He is promised to do it, and all other means without Him are empty and vain. How shall he mortify sin, then, who has not the Spirit? A man may easier see without eyes and speak without a tongue than truly mortify one sin without the Spirit. Now, how is the Spirit attained? He is the Spirit of Christ; and as the apostle says, “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Rom 8:9). Therefore, if we are Christ’s and have an interest in Him, (60) then we have the Spirit, and by this alone have power for mortification. The apostle discusses this in depth: “So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom 8:8). This is the inference and conclusion he makes of his foregoing discourse about our natural state and condition, and the enmity we have unto God and His Law therein. If we are in the flesh, if we have not the Spirit, we cannot do anything that should please God.
But what is our deliverance from this condition? “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you” (8:9)—that is, you believers, who have the Spirit of Christ, you “are not in the flesh.” There is no way of deliverance from the state and condition of being in the flesh but by the Spirit of Christ. And what if this Spirit of Christ be in you? Why, then, you are mortified: “The body is dead because of sin,” or unto sin (v. 10). Mortification is carried on; the new man is quickened to righteousness. This the apostle proves from the union we have with Christ by the Spirit, which will produce suitable operations in us to what it wrought in Him (v. 11). All attempts, then, for mortification of any lust without an interest in Christ are vain.
(59) immediate – first. (60) interest in Him – union with Christ.