The great sovereign remedy for sin-sick souls
March 14, 2010
How does someone saturated with Scripture and filled with the Holy Spirit “psycho-analyze” (that is, study the condition of a person’s soul), so as to diagnose a person’s problem and prescribe the remedy? For a model of this read John Owen’s pastoral theology in The Mortification of Sin in Believers. Owen counsels us on how to overcome sin, even those dogged, besetting sins that seem to cling to our souls. The majority of the work is devoted to the preparation for putting sin to death. When he comes to the final address on “the work itself” he is very brief. His opening words deserve meditation:
Set faith at work on Christ for the killing of your sin. His blood is the great sovereign remedy for sin-sick souls. Live in this, and you will die a conqueror; yea, you will, through the good providence of God, live to see your lust dead at your feet.
The Mortification of Sin in Believers and two other related works can be found in a readable edition, edited by Kelly M. Kapic and Justin Taylor, entitled Overcoming Sin and Temptation, published by Crossway. In this edition Owen’s occasional Latin is translated to English in the text, while the original is relegated to a footnote. In addition, footnotes are used to clarify some of the vocabulary that is obscure to many modern readers.