February 28, 2019 by directorfsm
by John Owen – February 28th, 2019
Chapter 7 “RULES FOR MORTIFICATION” Continued
2. Work of Faith
It is the peculiar work of faith. Now, if there be a work to be done that will be affected by only one instrument, it is the greatest madness for any who do not have that instrument to attempt the doing of it. It is faith that purifies the heart (Act 15:9); or, as Peter speaks, “ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit” (1Pe 1:22). And without it, it will not be done.
I suppose what has been spoken is sufficient to make good my first general rule: Be sure to get an interest in Christ. If you intend to mortify any sin without it, it will never be done.
3. Objection: What Shall the Unregenerate Do?
You will say, “What then would you have unregenerate men do who are convinced of the evil of sin? Shall they cease striving against sin, live dissolutely,(64) give their lusts their swing, and be as bad as the worst of men? This would be a way to set the whole world into confusion, to bring all things into darkness, to set open the flood-gates of lust, and lay the reins upon the necks of men to rush into all sin with delight and greediness, like the horse into the battle.”
Answer 1. God forbid (Rom 6:1-2)! It is to be looked on as a great result of the wisdom, goodness, and love of God, that by many ways and means He is pleased to restrain the sons of men from running forth into the range of excess and riot which the depravity of their nature would carry them into with violence. By whatever way this is done, it is a result of the care, kindness, and goodness of God, without which the whole earth would be a hell of sin and con-fusion.
Answer 2. There is a peculiar convincing power in the Word, which God is oftentimes pleased to put forth, to the wounding, amazing, and in some sort the humbling of sinners, though they are never converted. And the Word is to be preached though it has this end, yet not with this end in view. Let, then, the Word be preached, and the sins of men will be rebuked, lust will be restrained, and some oppositions will be made against sin, though that be not the effect aimed at.
Answer 3. Though this be the work of the Word and Spirit, and it be good in itself, yet it is not profitable nor availing as to its main end in them in whom it is wrought. They are still in the gall of bitterness and under the power of darkness.
Answer 4. Let men know it is their duty, but in its proper place. I take not men from mortification but put them upon conversion. He is not his enemy who shall call a man from mending a hole in the wall of his house to quench a fire that is consuming the whole building. Poor soul, it is not your sore finger but your consuming fever, to which you are to apply yourself! You set yourself against a particular sin and do not consider that you are nothing but sin.