Especially if you are a Christian and it is the temple of the HOLY SPIRIT.
More instruction from John Owen:
- Load your conscience with the guilt of the besetting sin.
- Have strong desire for deliverance.
- Some besetting sins are deeply rooted in men’s natures. I Cor.9:27. Fast if need be.
- Occasions and advantages of sin to be prevented. “Watch”
- The first actings of sin vigorously to be opposed. James 1:14ff. “You cannot stop birds flying over your head but you can stop them nesting in your hair,” Luther.
The use of means for the obtaining of peace is ours; the bestowing of it is God’s prerogative.
The privileges of our adoption made known to our souls are the ways instituted by God to give us life, vigour, courage, and consolation. “The Spirit bearing witness with our spirits that we are the children of God,” giving us a new name and a white stone, adoption and justification, that is, as to the sense and knowledge of them, the immediate cause is the Spirit.
But this I say, in our ordinary walking with God, and in an ordinary course of his
dealing with us, the vigour and comfort of our spiritual lives depend much on our mortification, because this alone keeps sin from depriving us of the one and the other.
Every unmortified sin will certainly do two things:
[1.] It will weaken the soul, and deprive it of its vigour.
[2.] It will darken the soul, and deprive it of its comfort and peace.
[1.] It weakens the soul, and deprives it of its strength. When David had for a while harboured an unmortified lust in his heart, it broke all his bones, and left him no spiritual strength; hence he complained that he was sick, weak, wounded, faint. “There is,” saith he, “no soundness in me,” Ps. 38:3; “I am feeble and sore broken,” verse 8; “yea, I cannot so much as look up,” Ps. 40:12. An unmortified lust will drink up the spirit, and all the vigour of the soul, and weaken it for all duties.
Because it entangles the affections. It diverts the heart from the spiritual frame that is required for vigorous communion with God; it lays hold on the affections (lusts), rendering its object beloved and desirable, so expelling the love of the Father, 1 John. 2:15, 3:17; so that the soul cannot say uprightly and truly to God, “You art my portion,” having something else that it loves. Fear, desire, hope, which are the choice affections of the soul, that should be full of God, will be one way or other entangled with this unmortified lust.
It fills the thoughts with schemes as to how to satisfy the lust, so the imagination is defiled.
As sin weakens, so it darkens the soul. It is a cloud, a thick
cloud, that spreads itself over the face of the soul, and intercepts
all the beams of God’s love and favour. It takes away all sense of the
privilege of our adoption;
To recap: In Owen’s exposition of Romans 8:13…
1.The necessity of mortification (killing sin) unto life.
2. The certainty of life upon mortification.
3. The usefulness of mortification:
That the life, vigour, and comfort of our spiritual life depend much on our mortification of sin. Strength and comfort, and power and peace, in our walking with God, are the things of our desires. Were any of us asked seriously, what it is that troubles us, we must refer it to one of these heads:– either we want strength or power, vigour and life, in our obedience, in our walking with God; or we want peace, comfort, and consolation therein.
Owen continues under these headings:
- The vigour and comfort of our spiritual lives depend on our mortification.
- The desperate effects of any unmortified lust; it weakens the soul.
- All graces improved by the mortification of sin.
- The best evidence of sincerity.
Just recently our church reading plan covered I Kings 2. This is an extraordinary chapter in that it’s contents include three executions. Adonijah, Joab and Shemei are all put to death by Benaiah under King Solomon’s instructions. Why? Adonijah, the older brother, led a rebellion to become king before his father David died. His rebellious heart remained when Solomon ascended the throne and he made moves to usurp him. Joab sided with Adonijah and was also guilty of the murder of Abner and Amasa. Shemei cursed David and was under oath not to leave Jerusalem. These latter two were named by David as those who ought to die justly earlier in the chapter. Benaiah, one of David’s mighty men and head of his personal bodyguard (II Sam.23:20-23) was Solomon’s trusted executioner.
These executions of evil men within Solomon’s kingdom enabled him to have peace and reign effectively. Our execution of sin (mortification) in our lives enables us to live in peace with God and to reign in life as kings over ourselves (Rom.5:17, I Cor.9:27, Rom. 6:12). See further posts on mortification.here.
Execution of Joab.
Notes from John Owen’s treatise.
Based on Romans 8:13, “ For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”
Indwelling sin, which battles against us spiritually all our lives, has to be killed daily. It wants to overcome us.
“Every unclean thought or glance would be adultery if it could;” “Now nothing can prevent this but mortification; that withers the root and strikes at the head of sin every hour..” We are given the Spirit to fight. “Where sin, through the neglect of mortification, gets a considerable victory, it breaks the bones of the soul, Ps. 31:10, 51: 8, and makes a man weak, sick, and ready to die, Ps. 38:3-5, so that he cannot look up, Ps. 40:12;” Thus although in principle sin is dethroned by our death with Christ on the cross, nevertheless it is our duty to put sin to death daily.
TEMPERANCE—The third property that we should supply in our supernatural faith is “temperance” (egkrateian, accusative of egkrateia, which means self-control or self-restraint). Paul preached the faith in Christ before Felix and “reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come…” (Acts 24:25). Temperance is one of the fruits of the Spirit proclaimed by Paul (Gal. 5:23). This word, as well as the other excellencies to be supplied in our faith, was used twice by Peter (II Pet. 1:6). Self-control is the mastery of desires and passions. It prevents excesses of any kind in the life of a Christian. Self-control includes more than abstinence from alcohol. A person may be a glutton and be just as guilty of the absence of self-control. Sorrow and laughter are all right, but a person does not want to spend all his time in either. Therefore, we will gird our mirth and restrain our sorrow. The apostle Paul refused to be mastered by bodily appetites. He disciplined his body into subjection that he might not become disqualified (1 Cor. 9:27).
The Christian is both the governor and the governed. The new nature within us enables us to control the old Adamic nature. From God’s word, we learn we have the new nature which is capable of controlling our old nature within. Hence, we learn that by the help of the grace God has given us that we are governors and we are governed. Without Christ we are nothing, but with Him and His grace we are governors. This is what Paul meant when he said he would keep his body under subjection (I Cor. 9:27). He taught this same truth in Romans 7. There is a warfare between the outward man and the inward man. But we can thank God that we have victory through Jesus Christ (Rom. 7:25).
Knowledge, the preceding property, defends itself by the excellence of self-control. True knowledge leads to self-restraint from every inordinate desire.
Thanks Barry Watson.
Sermon read last Sunday (23/4/2017) at CERC Singapore. Originally preached by Rev. Carl Haak….a MUST if you are getting weary in prayer or any of the disciplines of the Christian life.