July 15, 2009
In a recent discussion with Bruce Ware I had shared that John Owen understood the mortification of sin to be relative and not absolute. Dr. Ware quickly added that there is one thing, however, that is absolute, namely, the removal of sin’s dominion in the life of a believer. I agreed and added that Owen agreed as well. Yesterday, I read the following in Owen’s work on the Holy Spirit, in which he has a brief chapter on the mortification of sin: “Who or what shall have the principal conduct of the mind and soul (chap. 8.7-9) is the matter in question. Where sin hath the rule, there the Holy Ghost will never dwell. He enters into no soul as his habitation, but at the same instant he dethrones sin, spoils it of its dominion, and takes the rule of the soul into the hand of his own grace. Where he hath effected this work, and brought his adversary into subjection, there he will dwell, though sometimes his habitation be troubled by his subdued enemy.”
John Owen, The Holy Spirit, The Works of John Owen vol. III, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1850-53, reprint 2000), 551.