March 26, 2007

Overcoming Sin And Temptation - Chapter 5

Chapter five focused on the nature of mortification, and more importantly, defining what mortification is not. We seem to live in an "I'm sorry" society (me included) and in the very act of saying "I'm sorry" somehow believe that we have dealt with a particular sin in our lives.

If we have a lust problem, we apologize vehemently to God for wrong thoughts, looks, actions and after an appropriate amount of self-disdain and self-punishment, consider that adequate as "having dealt with our sin".

What's amazing in Chapter Five is the indictment of our current church culture, even though Owen wrote this book long ago. In describing what mortification is not, here are the words he uses:

Mortification is NOT the Dissumulation of Sin - I think I need not say it is not the dissumulation of a sin. When a man on some outward respects forsakes the practice of any sin, men perhaps may look on him as a changed man. God knows that to his former iniquity he has added cursed hypocrisy, and is now on a safer path to hell than he was before. He has got another heart than he had, that is more cunning, not a new heart, that is more holy.
I mean WOW, if you let that statement sink in and filter it through your Christian experience, it is amazing what an insight that really is. How many "sinners" trade in their outward "heathen" sins for the more acceptable "Christian" sins of apathy, elitism, isolation, snobbery, selfishness, bigotry, self-exaltation, pride, etc.

And if you'll search out your experience, you will probably find a time in your life when you traded in drinking, smoking, promiscuity, profanity, etc and all of a sudden for a new "disdain" for those who were unable to conquer that particular sin. You found a new way to "elevate" yourself about lostness because you had "put to death" all the sins of the former life.

Take heed for what Owen is saying here, for he is far more right than you know. More to come in Chapter 6 - What mortification IS!

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