March 10, 2019 by directorfsm
by John Owen – March 10th, 2019
Clear Sense of Sin
2. Get a Clear Sense of Your Sin
The second direction for the mortification of sin in believers is this:
Get a clear and abiding sense upon your mind and conscience of the guilt, danger, and evil of that sin wherewith you are perplexed.
a. Understand the guilt of your sin
1). Enormous guilt
It is one of the deceits of a prevailing lust to lessen its own guilt in our minds. “Is it not a little one?” (Gen 19:20); “When I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon, the Lord pardon thy servant in this thing” (2Ki 5:18)—as if to say, Though this be bad, yet it is not so bad as such and such an evil; others of the people of God have had such a frame; yea, what dreadful actual sins have some of them fallen into! Innumerable ways there are whereby sin diverts the mind from a right and due apprehension of its guilt. Its injurious effects darken the mind, so that it cannot make a right judgment of things. Perplexing reasonings, extenuating promises, disorderly desires, insincere purposes to forsake, hopes of mercy—all have their share in disturbing the mind in its consideration of the guilt of a prevailing lust. The prophet tells us that lust will do thus wholly when it comes to its height: “Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart” (Hos 4:11)—the heart, that is, the understanding, as it is often used in the Scripture.
And as lusts accomplish this work to the height in unregenerate persons, so in part in re-generate also. Solomon tells you of him who was enticed by the lewd woman, that he was “among the simple ones”; he was “a young man void of understanding” (Pro 7:7). And wherein did his folly appear? Why, he says, he “knoweth not that it is for his life” (v. 23); he considered not the guilt of the evil that he was involved in. And the Lord, rendering a reason why His dealings with Ephraim took no better effect, gives this account: “Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart” (Hos 7:11)—that is, he had no understanding of his own miserable condition. It would have been impossible for David to have lain so long in the guilt of his abominable sin, but that he had innumerable corrupt reasonings hindering him from taking a clear view of its ugliness and guilt in the glass of the Law. This made the prophet that was sent for his awaking, in his dealings with him, to shut up all evasions and pretenses by his parable, so that he might fall fully under a sense of the guilt of it (2Sa 12:7). This is the expected result of lust in the heart: it darkens the mind that it shall not judge aright of its guilt.
And it has many other ways for its own excusing which I shall not now insist on. Let this, then, be the first care of him that would mortify sin: to fix a right judgment of its guilt in his mind.