John Owen on sin

It has been said that the Puritans were “physicians of the soul” and when you read them you quickly realize that they understood the frailties of human nature. Perhaps no Puritan writer is as well known as John Owen and it could be argued that of all his works that have been gathered into a 23 volume series by Banner of Truth, it is his work titled Temptation and Sin that is most often cited. Owen makes the point that we live in a daily battle against sin. He writes,

Sin doth not only still abide in us, but is still acting, still laboring to bring forth the deeds of the flesh. When sin lets us alone we may let sin alone; but as sin is never less quiet than when it seems to be the most quiet, and its waters are for the most part deep when they are still, so ought our contrivances against it to be vigorous as all times and in all conditions, even where there is the least suspicion (11).

We pastors are sinners and we care for sinners. We need to fully understand the nature and characteristic of sin if we are help those entrusted to our care. The Puritans have not always been understood or appreciated, but they were excellent pastors and we shepherds do well to read and appreciate them for the pastoral care they can teach us.

Categories: Salvation, Shepherding

2 replies

  1. Hi Pastor Dan,
    I’m really excited to see this post as I purchased this book just last week and I am eagerly anticipating its arrival. Should be here any day.

    One of my favorite quotes is from a sermon by Paul Washer where he recalls a conversation he had with a professing new believer. The new believer says, “Brother Paul, I have a new relationship with God.” To which Paul turns his bible to 1 John 1:8 and responds:

    “Do you have a new relationship with sin? Because, if you don’t have a new relationship with sin, you don’t have a new relationship with God.”

    1 John 1:8 (NASB)
    “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.”

    I’m often amazed at how the Holy Spirit continually shows me areas in my life that I have become desensitized to my sin. I suppose that is the beauty of sanctification.

    For His Glory,

  2. Mike,

    Happy reading!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: