February 24, 2019 by directorfsm
by John Owen – February 24th, 2019
Chapter 7 “RULES FOR MORTIFICATION” Continued
3). Human efforts fail
Many men that are vexed with and for sin—by the arrows of Christ for conviction, by the preaching of the Word, or by some affliction having been made sharp in their hearts—do vigorously set themselves against this or that particular lust, wherewith their consciences have been most disquieted or perplexed. But, poor creatures! They labor in the fire, and their work is consumed. When the Spirit of Christ comes to this work, He will be “like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap,” and He will purge men “as gold and silver” (Mal 3:2-3)—that is, take away their dross and tin, their filth and blood (Isa 4:4). But men must be gold and silver at their core, or else refining will do them no good.
The prophet gives us the sad result of wicked men’s utmost attempts for mortification, by whatever means God affords them: “The bellows are burned, the lead is consumed of the fire; the founder melteth in vain…Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the Lord hath rejected them” (Jer 6:29-30). And what is the reason hereof? They were “brass and iron” when they were put into the furnace (v. 28). Men may refine brass and iron a very long time before they will be good silver!
I say then, mortification is not the present business of unregenerate men. God calls them not to it as yet. Conversion is their work, the conversion of the whole soul—not the mortification of this or that particular lust. You would laugh at a man that you should see setting up a great structure and never take any care for a foundation—especially if you should see him so foolish as to continue in the same course after having a thousand experiences of what he built at one time falling down at another. So, it is with convinced persons: though they plainly see that what ground they get against sin one day they lose in another, yet they will go on in the same road still without inquiring where the destructive flaw lies in their progress.
Excerpts from Mortification of Sin by John Owen from:The Chapel Library • firstname.lastname@example.org
Philippians 4:13 is one of the most abused and misused bible verses today. Folks think it is like some magic code to fix all their woes. Nothing could be further from the truth. See what Thomas Watson had to say about the matter. – Mike
“The Christian’s strength (Thomas Watson, “The One Thing Necessary”)
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
Always labor in the strength of Christ. Never go to work alone. Samson’s strength lay in his hair. The Christian’s strength lies in Christ.
When you are … to do any duty, to resist any temptation, to subdue any lust, set upon it in the strength of Christ!
Some go out against sin, in the strength of their resolutions and vows—and they are soon foiled. Do as Samson did—he first cried to God for help and then having taken hold of the pillars, he pulled down the house upon the Philistines! Likewise, only when we engage Christ in the work, can we bring down the house upon the head of our lusts!
Prayer beats the weapon out of the devil’s hand—and gets the blessing out of God’s hand!”