Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Troublesome Sins, and Not So Troublesome Ones?

I found these words from a brother of times past, John Owen, to be very encouraging, humbling, and even convicting.  I hope you find comfort, encouragement, and conviction in them too.

John Own, Works pp. VI:40-42

“You who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart.” Romans 6:17
You cannot mortify a specific lust that is troubling you unless you are seeking to obey the Lord from the heart in all area.  If a man finds a particular lust that is powerful and violent and it takes away his peace and troubles him, and if he sets himself against it, prays against it, groans under it, and sighs to be delivered; but in the meantime, perhaps, in other duties and in other ways he is loose and negligent, he will not be able to gain the victory over that troubling lust.  This is a common condition among the sons of men in their pilgrimage.  If we seek to correct a coarse or filthy outbreak of sin in the soul, but neglect the basic duties that promote our spirituality, we labour in vain for it has a bad foundation.  We must hate all sin, as sin, and not only because it troubles us.  Love for Christ because he went to the cross, and hate for sin that sent him there, is a solid foundation for true spiritual mortification.  To seek mortification only because a sin troubles us proceeds from self-love.  Why do you seek to mortify this sin?-Because it troubles you and takes away your peace/  Yes, but you have neglected prayer and reading.  Neglect of these is just as sinful.  Christ bled for these also.  If you hate sin as sin, you will be watchful against everything that grieves the Spirit.  Do you think God will help you in such a hypocritical effort?  Do you think he will free you from this so you can commit another sin that grieves him?  ‘No’, says God, ‘If I free him from this lust, I will not hear from him anymore, and he will be content with his failure.’  We must not be concerned only with that which troubles us, but with all that troubles God.  God’s work is to have full victory, and universal obedience, not just the sins that trouble our soul. (Emphasis my own).

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