For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. Romans 8:13
The choicest believers, who are assuredly freed from the condemning power of sin, ought yet to make it their business al their days to mortify the indwelling power of sin. ‘To mortify’ is a metaphorical expression taken from the putting of any living thing to death. To kill any living thing, is to take away the principle of its strength, vigour, and power, so that it cannot put forth any proper actions of its own. Indwelling sin is compared to a living person called ‘the old man’, with his faculties, properties, wisdom, craft, subtlety, and strength. This, says the apostle, must be killed, put to death, mortified and slain by the cross of Christ, so the ‘old self’ is said to be ‘crucified with Christ’ (Rom. 6:6). This is done initially in regeneration (Rom. 6:3-5), when a principle contrary to sin, and destructive of it, is planted in our hearts (Gal. 5:17). Then the whole work is carried on by degrees towards perfection all our days. Thus it is our constant duty as believers to mortify the sin remaining in our mortal bodies, that it may not have life and power to bring forth the deeds of the flesh. The promise for this duty is life: ‘You will live.’ Perhaps the word may not only intend eternal life, but also the spiritual life which is already enjoyed by believers, as to the joy, comfort, and vigour of it, as the apostle said in another place: ‘Now we live, if you are standing fast’ (1 Thess. 3:8). The vigour, and power, and comfort of our spiritual life depend much on the mortification of the deeds of the flesh. As sin is never quiet even when it seems to be quiet, and its waters are for the most part deep when they are still, our fight against it should be vigourous at all ties even where there is the least suspicion of danger.
Lovers of theology, and particularly of the Puritans, will welcome this English translation of John Owen’s Latin writings. The major portion of this volume is a history of theology from Adam to Christ. Owen characterizes evangelical theology as a gift of the Holy Spirit generating faith in Christ, holiness through Christ, and worship of Christ.
Appendixed to this important work is Owen’s Defense of Scripture against Modern Fanaticism, which is a defense of the authority and proper interpretation of the Bible against the subjectivism of his day.
“Published in Latin in 1661 as a contribution to international Reformed scholarship, this treatise draws on a very wide range of learning. The final part, in particular, where Owen characterizes evangelical theology as a gift of the Holy Spirit generating faith in Christ, holiness through Christ, and worship of Christ, is pure gold. To have it now – at last! – in English is a great boon. Those with a taste for Owen, or for theology, or (best of all) for both, will read this Puritan proto-Biblical Theology with joy.”
– J.I. Packer