How God deals with the sins of his children

Thus, I say, God deals with his saints in great variety; some shall have all their bones broken, when others shall have only the gentle strokes of the rod. We are in the hand of mercy, and he may deal with us as seems good to him; but for our parts, great sins ought to be attended with expectations of great depths and perplexities.

(John Owen, An Exposition of Psalm CXXX)

God, being merciful, does not deal with us according to what our sins deserve. He remembers that we are but dust. Nevertheless, he does chastise us for our sins. Even so, in his inscrutable wisdom, he treats his children differently. Some who have sinned greatly he rebukes gently and allows them to recover their peace in him without the great difficulty that others have in trying to recover themselves from their backsliding. Others he treats more severely, allowing them to wallow for a long time in the depths of the misery that may justly be considered as the consequence of their sins. This might seem discriminatory, but God has his reasons, and it is not for us to question his wisdom.

At the end of day, however he deals with us, we trust that he disciplines us according to his love and wisdom, and the result of it all is that we shall come forth as gold.

John Owen and blogging [updated]

“Gifts are given to trade withal for God. Opportunities are the market-days for that trade. To napkin the one and to let slip the other will end in trouble and disconsolation. Disquietness and perplexities of heart are worms that will certainly breed in the rust of unexercised gifts. God loseth a revenue of glory and honour by such slothful souls; and he will make them sensible of it.”

(from John Owen’s An Exposition of Psalm CXXX)

Yes, yes, I know I posted yesterday that I will blog daily no more, and that my next post will come out on Monday. But the above quote from John Owen made me change my mind. As applied to blogging, I take him to mean that to neglect opportunities to consistently blog for God’s glory is a failure of stewardship, for which I will be held accountable! So, instead of blogging once a week, I’ll try blogging every MWF TTh. And in my defence I invoke the platitude “Only fools do not change their minds!”

On Lay-Preachers

A faithful man . . . being furnished with the knowledge of God and the requisite Spiritual gifts for the edification of others (graciously bestowed upon him by God), and also having the time and other things necessary for the right performance of this duty granted him by providence, then I certainly would allow him to interpret the Scriptures and to meet with others for their edification, even though he does not intend ever to holy orders — providing only that he makes no interruption of an established ministry. . . . Where Christ has provided the gifts there must be a vocation.

— John Owen, quoted in Barret and Harkin’s OWEN ON THE CHRISTIAN LIFE, pp. 46-47

Photo by malcolm lightbody on Unsplash

Let His Cross Interpose

Whatever be your designs and aims, let his cross continually interpose between your affections and this world….

What he [Jesus] did forego and trample on for our sake, that ought not to be the object of our affections; nor can such affections prevail in us if he dwell in our hearts by faith.”

– John Owen, On Spiritual Mindedness

No Greater Judgment

In chapter 12 of his book on Spiritual Mindedness John Owen writes, “Without spiritual affections we cannot be spiritually minded.”

He then tells us why this is so. “By nature our affections, all of them, are depraved and corrupted. Nothing in the whole nature of man, no power or faculty of the soul, is fallen under greater disorder and depravation by the entrance of sin than our affections are. In and by them is the heart wholly gone and turned off from God.” Continue reading “No Greater Judgment”

A Steadfast Mind (2)

And there are three parts of this steadfastness of the mind:

(1) full purpose of cleaving to God in all things;

(2) a daily renovation and quickening of the heart unto a discharge of this purpose;

(3) resolutions against all dalliances or parleys about negligence in that discharge…

– John Owen, The Power and Efficacy of Indwelling Sin

A Steadfast Mind

The steadfastness of our minds abiding in their duty is the cause of all our unmovableness and fruitfulness in obedience; and so Peter tells us that those who are by any means led away or enticed “fall from their own steadfastness” (2 Pet. 3:17). And the great blame that is laid upon backsliders is that they are not steadfast: “Their heart was not steadfast” (Ps. 78:37). For if the soul be safe, unless the mind be drawn off from its duty, the soundness and steadfastness of the mind is its great preservative.

– John Owen, The Power and Efficacy of Indwelling Sin

What God Does Not Call Us To

But if in anything we take more upon us than we have time well to perform it in, without robbing God of that which is due to him and our own souls, this God calls not unto, this he blesses us not in. It is more tolerable that our duties of holiness and regard to God should entrench upon the duties of our calling and employments in this world than on the contrary; and yet neither does God require this at our hands, in an ordinary manner or course.

– John Owen, The Power and Efficacy of Indwelling Sin

A Bitter Thing

“Know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and a bitter [thing], that you have forsaken the Lord your God” (Jer. 2:19). Every sin is a forsaking of the Lord our God. If the heart know not, if it consider not, that it is an evil thing and a bitter [thing] – evil in itself, bitter in its effects, fruit, and event – it will never be secured against it.

– John Owen, The Power and Efficacy of Indwelling Sin