February 23

 

 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 Holy Spirit is our only sufficiency for the work of mortification.  He is the only great power behind it and he works in us as he pleases.  God promised his Spirit for this very work.  He alone works in and upon believers.  He takes away the stony heart, the stubborn, proud, rebellious, and unbelieving heart (Ezek. 11:19).  Mortification is one of the blessings we have in Christ and is given us by his Spirit.  In his strength we can be mortified.  How does the Spirit mortify sin?  (I.) By causing our hearts to abound in grace and the fruits that are contrary to the works of the flesh.  Paul teaches that the fruits of the Spirit are contrary to the works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21).  (2.) By the effective destruction of the root and habit of sin, to weaken, destroy, and take it away.  He takes away the stony heart by an almighty work.  He begins this work as to its kind, and then carries it on by degrees.  He is the fire that burns up the very root of lust.  (3.) He brings the cross of Christ into the heart of a sinner by faith, and gives us communion with Christ in his death and sufferings.  The Holy Spirit works mortification in us; yet, he keeps it still an act of our own obedience.  The Holy Spirit works in us and upon us, as we are fit to be wrought in and upon: that is, so as to preserve our own liberty and free obedience.  He works upon our understandings, wills, consciences, and afflictions, agreeably to their own natures.  He works in us and with us, not against us or without us, so that his assistance is an encouragement as to the facilitating of the work.  Those who seek to keep down sin without the aid of the Spirit, labour in vain.  They will combat without victory, wage war without peace, and are slaves all their days.

 

Biblical Theology

 

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

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