In last week's sermon, we talked about the need to fight against our sinful tendencies. King Saul serves as a warning to us of what can happen if personal sin goes unchecked for too long. And Colossians 3:5 is a command given to Christians, exhorting them to "put to death" the specific sins they struggle with.
In my sermon, I briefly mentioned a book that discusses this important topic. That book is "The Mortification of Sin" by John Owen. The word "mortify" originally meant "put to death" and was used in the King James translation of Romans 8:13: "if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." Owen explains how, as Christians, we can obey this verse and put to death our sin.
Owen has been personally helpful in my own battle against sin so I wanted to encourage you to check him out. You can order his book on Amazon or download it for free online. Let me warn you, though. Owen is a Puritan and, thus, writes like one. So reading him might take a little work, but, I promise, it's worth it. Some editions of this book update his language, making him a little easier to read. So grab one of those, if you think that will help.
For this post, I went through my copy of this book and typed up some of the quotes I had underlined. I pray this will be an encouragement to you.
"Mortification using our own strength, or carried on by ways that we invent, to make ourselves righteous in our own eyes, is the core of every false religion in the world."
"All other ways of mortifying sin are useless; all other helps leave us helpless. It must be done by the Spirit."
"You need to be killing sin, or it will be killing you."
"Now, having a duty to mortify, to kill sin while it is in us, we need to get to work. If someone is appointed to kill an enemy, and he ceases striking before the other ceases living, he does only half his work."
"When sin lets us alone, we may let sin alone. But sin is never less quiet than when it seems most quiet. Its waters are deepest when they are still. So we need to vigorously root out sin at all times and in all conditions, even where we least suspect it."
"If sin is always acting, and we are not always mortifying, then we are lost creatures. If a man stands still and allows his enemies to beat him without resistance, then he will undoubtedly be conquered."
"Sin not only strives, acts, rebels, troubles, and disturbs us, but if it is left alone, if it is not continually mortified, it will produce great, cursed, scandalous, soul-destroying sins."
"Sin is like the grave that is never satisfied."
"No man should think he is making any progress in holiness if he does not walk over the neck of his lusts."
"There is no death of sin, without the death of Christ."
"Mortification is for believers and believers only. Killing sin is the work of living men. When men are dead, as unbelievers are dead, sin is alive, and it continues to live."
"A sense of the love of Christ in the cross lie at the bottom of all true spiritual mortification."