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Archive for September 9th, 2010

The life, vigour, and comfort of our spiritual life depend much on our mortification of sin.

Strength and comfort, and power and peace, in our walking with God, are the things of our desires. Were any of us asked seriously, what it is that troubles us, we must refer it to one of these heads: — either we want strength or power, vigour and life, in our obedience, in our walking with God; or we want peace, comfort, and consolation therein.

Every unmortified sin will certainly … weaken the soul, and deprive it of its vigourdarken the soul, and deprive it of its comfort and peace.

[Every unmortified sin weakens the soul as it] untunes and unframes the heart itself, by entangling its affections. It diverts the heart from the spiritual frame that is required for vigorous communion with God; it lays hold on the affections, rendering its object beloved and desirable, so expelling the love of the Father … It fills the thoughts with contrivances about it.

Mortification prunes all the graces of God, and makes room for them in our hearts to grow. The life and vigour of our spiritual lives consists in the vigour and flourishing of the plants of grace in our hearts. Now, as you may see in a garden, let there be a precious herb planted, and let the ground be untilled, and weeds grow about it, perhaps it will live still, but be a poor, withering, unuseful thing. … When, let another of the same kind be set in the ground, naturally as barren and bad as the other, but let it be well weeded, and every thing that is noxious and hurtful removed from it, — it flourishes and thrives … So it is with the graces of the Spirit that are planted in our hearts.

source: John Owen, The Mortification of Sin in Believers, chapter 4.

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He only is sufficient for this work; all ways and means without him are as a thing of nought; and he is the great efficient of it, — he works in us as he pleases.

Praying, fasting, watching, meditation, and the like … are all to be looked on as streams, they look on them as the fountain. … they effect and accomplish the end as means only, subordinate to the Spirit and faith …

Men are galled with the guilt of a sin that hath prevailed over them; they instantly promise to themselves and God that they will do so no more; they watch over themselves, and pray for a season, until this heat waxes cold, and the sense of sin is worn off: and so mortification goes also, and sin returns to its former dominion.

It is, then, the work of the Spirit. For, He is promised of God to be given unto us to do this work. … We have all our mortification from the gift of Christ, and all the gifts of Christ are communicated to us and given us by the Spirit of Christ.

How doth the Spirit mortify sin?

(1) By causing our hearts to abound in grace and the fruits that are contrary to the flesh, and the fruits thereof and principles of them. … This "renewing of us by the Holy Ghost," as it is called, Tit. 3:5, is one great way of mortification; he causes us to grow, thrive, flourish, and abound in those graces which are contrary, opposite, and destructive to all the fruits of the flesh, and to the quiet or thriving of indwelling sin itself.

(2)  By a real physical efficiency on the root and habit of sin, for the weakening, destroying, and taking it away … really consuming and destroying our lusts. He takes away the stony heart by an almighty efficiency; for as he begins the work as to its kind, so he carries it on as to its degrees. He is the fire which burns up the very root of lust.

(3) He brings the cross of Christ into the heart of a sinner by faith, and gives us communion with Christ in his death, and fellowship in his sufferings.

If this be the work of the Spirit alone, how is it that we are exhorted to it?

He doth not so work our mortification in us as not to keep it still an act of our obedience. The Holy Ghost works in us and upon us, as we are fit to be wrought in and upon; that is, so as to preserve our own liberty and free obedience. He works upon our understandings, wills, consciences, and affections, agreeably to their own natures; he works in us and with us, not against us or without us; so that his assistance is an encouragement as to the facilitating of the work, and no occasion of neglect as to the work itself.

source: John Owen, The Mortification of Sin in Believers, chapter 3.

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(Pro 1:20-33) Christ is like Lady Wisdom – he corrects, pours out his spirit to others, makes words known, calls for ears to listen.

(Pro 2) Christ imparts God’s wisdom and saves from the foolishness that leads to death.

(Pro 3:8-18) Christ as the wisdom of God brings healing, life, joy, something of value, pleasant ways, peace.

(Pro 3:18) Christ, like wisdom, is a tree of life.

(Pro 3:19) By Christ, the wisdom of God, were the heavens and earth established.

(Pro 4:6-13) Christ, the wisdom of God, keeps and guards, honors and crowns, gives righteousness and life.

(Pro 5:15-19) Sexual imagery. The woman as a cistern/fountain of waters satisfying one’s thirst. Breasts as delight, sex as drinking wine.

(Pro 5:15-19) Husband/wife relationship in garden imagery foreshadows union of Christ and his people in New Eden.

(Pro 6:16-19) Christ died for those who do the six things the LORD hates, the seven that are an abomination.

(Pro 6:34-35) Christ can show mercy where a man will not.

(Pro 7:1-5) Christ held to his Father’s words and so did not sin.

(Pro 8:1-5) Christ is the wisdom of God that calls out to simple sinners.

(Pro 8:6-21) Christ spoke wisdom in truth. All who seek him find him. In him is righteousness, justice and glory.

(Pro 8:22-29) Christ existed before the creation of the world even as Lady Wisdom is described.

(Pro 8:30-31) Through Christ God made creation. Christ delighted and rejoiced in God’s presence.

(Pro 9) Christ is Lady Wisdom calling for repentance, offering instruction and giving life. World is Woman Folly that calls gusts to grave.

(Pro 10:3) God works in providence to bless the righteous and curse the wicked.

(Pro 10:11) The mouth of the righteous Christ is as a fountain of living water i.e. life.

(Pro 10:12) Christ’s love covers wrongs.

(Pro 10:21) The lips of the righteous Christ nourish many.

(Pro 10:30) Christ shall weed the wicked out of his kingdom while establishing the righteous in the land (new earth).

(Pro 11) A strong emphasis on the characteristics of a righteous man and associated blessing. Christ is the righteous man in every way.

(Pro 11:10,11,14) Christ is the righteous man whose righteousness and wisdom brings blessing to others.

(Pro 11:30) Christ brings forth the fruit of righteousness as a tree of life. He is wise and wins souls.

(Pro 12:2,8,17,18,28) Christ is favored by the LORD, praised for his wisdom, is a truthful witness, speaks healing, is way of eternal life.

(Pro 13:9) The light of the righteous man, Christ, shines brightly and will not be extinguished.

(Pro 13:14) The wisdom taught by Christ is a fountain of life that turns a man from the snares of death.

(Pro 13:19, 13:12) Hope in Christ is as a tree of life and as something sweet.

(Pro 13:20) Christ is the wise man who will make those who walk with him wise.

(Pro 13:24) God disciplines those whom he loves as a son and daughter.

(Pro 14:10) Christ alone knew in his heart the bitterness of God-forsakenness on the cross.

(Pro 14:11) The tent of David’s greater son flourishes.

(Pro 14:14) Christ is the good man whose faithfulness was rewarded. Therefore God exalted him and gave him a name above all names.

(Pro 14:25) Christ is the truthful witness of God who saves lives.

(Pro 14:27) In Christ is there the fountain of life.

(Pro 14:28) Christ the king is glorified as one who rules over a great multitude from every people.

(Pro 14:31) Christ was kind to the poor and honored God in his acts toward them.

(Pro 14:34-35) God delighted in Christ, his wise servant, whose righteousness exalted his people.

(Pro 15;2,4,7) Christ’s tongue/lips speaks wisdom and knowledge. Christ’s healing words are a tree of life.

(Pro 15:3) God’s sovereign omniscience, his eyes are everywhere.

(Pro 15:8) The sacrifice and prayers of Christ are pleasing to God.

(Pro 15:9) Christ is loved by God who delights in his righteousness.

(Pro 15:11) God is sovereign over death and destruction which lie open before him.

(Pro 15:19) Christ is the way, the path, the highway of righteousness.

(Pro 15:20) Christ bought joy to his father by his wisdom and obedience.

(Pro 15:24) Christ as a wise man knows the path of life and is not bound in death.

(Pro 15:25) God is sovereign in tearing down the proud and preserving the poor.

(Pro 15:26,29,30) Christ’ purity and thoughts were pleasing to God who heard his prayers. His good news gives health to one’s bones i.e life

(Pro 15:33) Christ humbled himself and so God exalted him. c.f. Philippians 2.

(Pro 16:4) Sovereignty – The LORD has made everything for its purpose.

(Pro 16:6) Through Christ’s love and faithfulness sin is atoned for.

(Pro 16:9) Sovereignty – The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.

(Pro 16:12) Christ’s throne is established through righteousness.

(Pro 16:33) Sovereignty – The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.

(Pro 17:9) Christ covers offenses and seeks love.

(Pro 17:15) God does not acquit the guilty or condemn the innocent. Therefore Christ died as a guilty non-innocent representative of men.

(Pro 18:10) Christ’s name is a strong tower of refuge for the righteous who run to it.

(Pro 19:12) Christ’s rage like a roar of a lion, his grace like dew on the grass.

(Pro 19:21) Sovereignty – Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.

(Pro 20:8) When Christ shall sit upon his throne on the earth he will winnow out all evil before his eyes.

(Pro 20:9) Christ alone can say he has kept his heart pure, is clean and without sin.

(Pro 20:15) Christ speaks words of knowledge that are as a a rare jewel.

(Pro 20:24) Sovereignty – A man’s steps are from the LORD; how then can man understand his way?

(Pro 20:30) Cleansing from evil in the innermost parts comes through the blows, wounds and strikes received by Christ.

(Pro 21:1) Sovereignty – The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.

(Pro 21:30) Sovereignty – No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel can avail against the LORD. c.f. wicked plans to kill Christ.

(Pro 21:31) Sovereignty – The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the LORD.

(Pro 23:10-11) God the Father is the strong redeemer (family member) of the fatherless.

(Pro 23:24) Christ is the righteous wise son who brings great joy and delight to his Father.

(Pro 24:5) Christ is the wise man of knowledge who has great power and strength.

(Pro 24:11) Christ rescued those being taken away to death; those stumbling to the slaughter.

(Pro 24:21) Christ is the king who, alongside God, sends destruction and calamity on the wicked.

(Pro 25:2) Christ is both God who conceals truth and the king who reveals truth.

(Pro 25:3) Christ’s heart and ways are as unsearchable as the heights of heaven and the depths of the earth.

(Pro 25:4-5) Christ shall remove the wicked from his presence and this establish his throne in righteousness.

(Pro 25:6-7) Christ taught this proverb as a parable. Christ is the teacher of wisdom.

(Pro 25:11) Christ’s words were aptly spoken as apples of gold in settings of silver.

(Pro 25:13) Christ as God’s messenger is like the refreshing coolness of snow at harvest time.

(Pro 25:21-22) Christ taught wisdom as to how to treat one’s enemies. Christ is the teacher of wisdom.

(Pro 25:25) Like cold water to a weary soul is the good news of the gospel.

(Pro 26) Christ did not one of the foolish things mentioned in this chapter.

(Pro 27:9) Christ’s counsel as a friend is sweetness.

(Pro 28:5) Christ sought after the LORD and therefore understands justice completely.

(Pro 28:12) Christ is the righteous man who triumphs bringing about great glory.

(Pro 29:2) Christ, the righteous man, brings joy to people.

(Pro 29:3) Christ’s wisdom brought joy to God his Father.

(Pro 29:4) Christ is the king who rules in justice to bring blessing.

(Pro 29:6) Christ is the righteous man who sings and rejoices in God.

(Pro 29:7) Christ is the righteous man who acts for the poor.

(Pro 29:14) Christ is the faithful judge for the poor whose throne is established forever.

(Pro 30:1) Christ offers the rest needed by Agur.

(Pro 30:4) Christ is whom Agur seeks. Has both ascended to heaven and descended to the earth. Gathers and commands wind & waves. God’s son.

(Pro 30:8) Christ can remove Agur’s sin and providentially keep him from temptation.

(Pro 31:1-9) Christ is the ideal king that King Lemuel’s mother describes – wise, self-disciplined, judging righteously for the poor.

(Pro 31:30) Christ makes a woman who fears the LORD. In Christ does a woman become wise.

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