Mortification of Sin by John Owen (free ebook)

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The Resurgence has posted an outline of John Owen’s Book ‘The Mortification of Sin’ made by Bob Thune. Read their article here.

For those who prefer a more thorough and analytical outline, including some of the more memorable quotes from Owen’s pen, you can download Bob Thune’s 12-page reading summary in PDF format.

You can also read the entire book here at Christian Classics Ethereal Library or


  • Because sin is always active
  • Because unmortified sin weakens and darkens the soul
  • Because unmortified sin hardens others to the gospel


What It Does Not Mean

  • To mortify sin is not to utterly destroy it. (That’s Jesus’ job, not your job.)
  • To mortify sin is not to outwardly forsake its practice. Those who do this are just “more cunning; not more holy.”
  • To mortify sin is not to have a quiet, sedate nature. “Some men have an advantage by their natural constitution… they are not exposed to unruly passions and tumultuous affections as many others are.” This does not mean they have mortified sin.
  • To mortify sin is not to divert it. “He that trades sensuality for Pharisaism has not mortified sin… He has changed his master, but he is a servant still.”
  • To mortify sin is not to experience “occasional conquests” against it.

What It Does Mean

  • A habitual weakening of sin.
  • A constant fighting against sin.
  • Success. Victory over sin!


4 General Principles

  • You must set your faith on Christ. (Fill your soul with the consideration of who Jesus is and what he’s done for you)
  • You must rely on the Holy Spirit. “A man may easier see without eyes and speak without a tongue, than mortify a sin without the Spirit.”
  • You must be truly converted.
  • You must intend universal obedience. If you don’t intend to obey God in every area, you don’t hate sin; you hate the particular sin that is bothering you. Which means you don’t love Christ; you love yourself. A particularly strong, besetting sin commonly issues from a careless, negligent spiritual life in general.

9 Specific Directives

  1. Get a clear and abiding sense upon your mind of the guilt, danger, and evil of your sin.
  2. Load your conscience with the guilt of your besetting sin.
  3. Long for deliverance from the power of sin. “Longing, breathing, and panting after deliverance is a grace in itself, that has a mighty power to conform the soul into the likeness of the thing longed after… Unless you long for deliverance you shall not have it.”
  4. Consider whether you are prone toward a particular sin because of your personality or disposition. This should awaken your zeal. “So great an advantage is given to sin and Satan by your temper and disposition, that without extraordinary watchfulness, care, and diligence, they [sin and Satan] will prevail against your soul.”
  5. Consider what occasions your sin uses to exert itself, and watch against them all.
  6. Fight strongly against the first actings of your lust. “Sin is like water in a channel – once it breaks out, it will have its course.”
  7. Dwell on thoughts that humble you and remind you of your sinfulness.
  8. Know the warning signs of particularly dangerous sin patterns: persistent, habitual sin; secret pleas of the heart to leave sin alone; giving into sin without struggle; ignoring the conviction of the Holy Spirit; avoiding sin because you fear punishment. If a lust has any of these symptoms, it cannot be dealt with by an ordinary course of mortification; it requires extraordinary measures.
  9. Do not speak peace to yourself before God speaks peace to you.

Be killing sin, or it will be killing you.

5 comentarii (+add yours?)

  1. The Master's Slave
    mai 04, 2013 @ 10:16:40

    Reblogged this on The Master's Slave.

  2. gabebogdan
    mai 04, 2013 @ 11:22:48

    Excellent outlines

  3. Delight in Truth
    mai 04, 2013 @ 14:48:25

    Making my way slowly through this book… Crossway has adapted it to modern English and it helps.

    The whole book is a collection of Owens works and is based on one verse in the bible

    Romans 8:13

    „For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.”

    • rodi
      mai 04, 2013 @ 18:28:15

      dead authors make great summer reading. I try to use first for old books, but I had a couple books I had a hard time understanding and had to google many old English words. It’s funny how dissimilar our language can be to the Old English 🙂

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