Summary of John Owen’s Mortification of sin in believers chapter 1

  1. Romans 8:13, “If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live” latter clause of the verse; explained
    1. Division of topics: This serves as an application of the doctrine of justification of faith in order to encourage personal holiness and consolation in believers
    2. Division according to the order of the verse: What it is to live is not part of Owen’s aim. The duty is prescribed, the persons intended are denoted, there is a promise annexed, the means of the performance of the duty is given, and the duty, means, and promise are contained in the conditionality.
      1. The conditional note, “but if”, denotes two things
        1. The uncertainty of the event in respect to them to whom the duty is prescribed: This takes place where the condition is absolutely necessary unto the issue, and depends not itself on any determinate cause known to him to whom it is prescribed. This is not what is here intended, Romans 8:1.
        2. The certainty of the connection between the things spoken of: Now the connection and coherence of things being manifold, as of cause and effect, of way and means and the end; this, between mortification and life, is not of cause and effect properly and strictly, Romans 6:23; God has appointed this means, for the attaining that end which he has freely promised. There is a certain infallible connection and coherence between true mortification and eternal life.
      2. The persons to whom the duty is prescribed. Main foundation of the treatise. Romans 8:1,5,10-11. This means to eternal life is used wrongly by many as a cause of eternal life, Romans 10:3-4; John 15:5. The choicest believers, who are assuredly freed from the condemning power of sin, ought yet to make it their business, all their days, to mortify the indwelling power of sin.
      3. The principal efficient cause of the performance of the duty, namely, the Spirit: Romans 8:9,11,15,26. All other ways of mortification are vain; all helps leave us helpless; it must be done by the Spirit, Romans 9:30-32. Mortification from a self-strength, carried on by ways of self-invention, unto the end of a self-righteousness, is the soul and substance of all false religion in the world.
      4. The duty itself, to “mortify the deeds of the body”. Three things here to be inquired into
        1. What is meant by “the body”: The body, then, is here taken for that corruption and pravity of our natures, whereof the body in a great part is the seat and instrument, Romans 6:19,16.
        2. What is meant by the “deeds of the body”: The deeds of the flesh are to be mortified in their causes, from whence they spring. The apostle calls them deeds, as that which every lust tends unto. Romans 8:6; Galatians 5:24; Romans 8:10
        3. What is meant by “mortifying the deeds of the body”: To kill a man, or any other living thing, is to take away the principle of all his strength, vigour, and power, so that he cannot act, or exert, or put forth any proper actings of his own. It is indeed meritoriously, and by way of example, utterly mortified and slain by the cross of Christ and a principle destructive of sin is implanted in our hearts, but the whole work is by degrees to be carried on towards perfection all our days, Romans 6:3-6,8; Galatians 5:17
      5. The promise annexed to the duty, namely, “Ye shall live”: Galatians 6:8. The word may not only intend eternal life, but also the spiritual life in Christ which here we have; not as to the essence and being of it, which is already enjoyed by believers; but as to the joy, comfort, and vigour of it, 1 Thessalonians 3:8. The vigour, and power, and comfort, of our spiritual life, depends on the mortification of the deeds of the flesh.

The purpose of this blog

I am a Christian philosopher interested in that order: Christian first, philosopher second. I believe strongly in the need for good Christian writing as a counterbalance to the large amount of bad writing that sees the light of day. For that reason, I have decided to man up, take the plunge, and start writing. This page will feature my thoughts on Christian theology, Christian philosophy, the philosophy of mathematics, and other stuff that I find interesting. Sometimes I might just post a good quote that I have read and that I want to catalog for later thought. Hopefully, this page will be just as stimulating to read for you as it will be for me.

The name Dooyeweerdian meditations, for those not in the know, refers to the philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd, a Reformational philosopher from the Netherlands whose work will be central to my own Ph.D. in the philosophy of mathematics. It is also an oblique reference to two other great philosophers from the past: Husserl and Descartes. Anyone familiar with these two philosophers will immediately see how the title of this blog refers to them. Anyone else is invited to search them up on Google and have a fun half an hour learning about the history of philosophy and the fascinating ideas that characterize the history of philosophy.