Daily Devotional – Mortification of Sin

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April 4, 2019 by directorfsm

by John Owen – April 4th, 2019

Chapter 14

HOW TO MORTIFY SIN (Continued)  

1). Christ our High Priest

   Consider His mercifulness, tenderness, and kindness, as He is our great High Priest at the right hand of God. Assuredly He pities you in your distress. He says, “As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you” (Isa 66:13). He has the tenderness of a mother to a nursing child.

   “Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour(96) them that are tempted” (Heb 2:17-18).

   How is the ability of Christ upon the account of His suffering proposed to us? “In that he him-self hath suffered being tempted, he is able.” Did the sufferings and temptations of Christ add to His ability and power? Not, doubtless, considered absolutely and in itself. But the ability here mentioned is such as is accompanied by readiness, inclination, and willingness to put it-self forth; it is an ability of will against all dissuasions.(97) He is able, having suffered and having been tempted, to break through all dissuasions to the contrary in order to relieve poor tempt-ed souls: “He is able to help.”

   It is a metonymy(°) of the effect; for He can now be moved to help, having been so tempted. So it is in Hebrews 4:15-16: “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” The exhortation of verse 16 is the same that I am upon: namely, that we would entertain expectations of relief from Christ, which the apostle there calls “grace for seasonable help.”

   “If ever,” says the soul, “help were seasonable, it would be so to me in my present condition. This is that which I long for: grace for seasonable help. I am ready to die, to perish, to be lost forever. Iniquity will prevail against me if help come not in.” Says the apostle, “Expect this help, this relief, this grace from Christ.” Yea, but on what account? That which he lays down in verse 15. And we may observe that the word which we have translated to obtain is literally to receive. “That we may receive it”: suitable and seasonable help will come in. I shall freely say that this one thing of establishing the soul by faith in expectation of relief from Jesus Christ (Mat 11:28), on the account of His mercifulness as our high priest, will be more available to the ruin of your lust and distemper, and have a better and speedier result, than all the most rigid means of self-maceration that ever any of the sons of men engaged in. Yea, let me add that never any soul did or shall perish by the power of any lust, sin, or corruption, who could raise his soul by faith to an expectation of relief from Jesus Christ (Isa 55:1-3; Rev 3:18).

(96) succour – help.
(97) dissuasions – persuasions not to do or believe something.
(°) metonymy (added) – the substitution of the name of an attribute or adjunct for that of the thing meant
Excerpts from Mortification of Sin by John Owen from: The Chapel Library •  chapel@mountzion.org

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