Three hundred and fifty-some years ago, John Owen (1616-1683) was bemoaning the fact that many Christians claimed to have faith in Christ, but showed no signs of slaying the sin within their hearts.
It is our duty to be "perfecting holiness in the fear of God," (2 Cor. 7:1); to be "growing in grace" every day, (1 Pet. 2:3, 2 Pet. 3:18); to be "renewing our inward man day by day," (2 Cor. 4:16). Now, this cannot be done without the daily mortifying of sin. Sin sets its strength against every act of holiness, and against every degree we grow to. Let not that man think he makes any progress in holiness who walks not over the bellies of his lusts. He who doth not kill sin in his way takes no steps towards his journey's end. He who finds not opposition from it, and who sets not himself in every particular to its mortification, is at peace with it, not dying to it.However, there are many professing believers in Christ (Owen calls them "professors") who are not battling and despising the sin within them, but instead are indifferent to it ("unmortified professors"). We should regard our own sin with bitterness in our heart, and if we do not, we are in a state of rebellion. We must not tolerate, or countenance, sin in our lives. Owen puts it this way:
The root of an unmortified course is the digestion of sin without bitterness in the heart. When a man hath confirmed his imagination to such an apprehension of grace and mercy as to be able, without bitterness, to swallow and digest daily sins, that man is at the very brink of turning the grace of God into lasciviousness, and being hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.Owen goes on to say,
To use the blood of Christ, which is given to cleanse us (1 John 1:7, Titus 2:14); the exaltation of Christ, which is to give us repentance (Acts 5:31); the doctrine of grace, which teaches us to deny all ungodliness (Titus 2:11-12) to countenance sin, is a rebellion that in the issue will break the bones.Rather than sliding your eyes over all those Scripture references, take a minute to meditate upon them:
2 Corinthians 7:1
Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.
1 Peter 2:1-3
So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
2 Peter 3:18
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
2 Corinthians 4:16
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.
1 John 1:7
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,