The Mortification of Sin, Study Guide, Chapter 2:
1. Owen makes the statement, “The choicest believers who are assuredly freed from the condemning power of sin, ought yet to make it their business all their days to mortify the indwelling power of sin” (50). If we are saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8) and yet we are required to do the work of putting sin to death (Owen, on this point is merely summarizing the clear teaching of Scripture, see, e.g., Col. 3:5), how then are we not saved by works? Does the requirement that I do something mean that I am now being saved by what I do? Compare Ephesians 2:8 & Ephesians 4:25-32: What relationship can you find between these two sections?
2. Read Colossians 3:5-10. Make a list of all of the commands set forth in this section. Does Paul, in this section, tell us how to put our sin to death? What process do you think is necessary to put sin to death?
3. Now read Colossians 3:1-4. What is commanded in this section? How would this help you to fulfill the commands in Colossians 5-10?
4. Now read Colossians 3:12-17: What commands are found here? How would this help you to fulfill the commands in Colossians 5-10?
5. Read the offset quotation on page 50. What is the command and what is the warning?
6. How is that sin can be said to “be killing” me? If I am saved, isn’t it true that I can’t be killed?
7. Owen lists a series of verses on page 51 to describe our status and our duty as Christians. Summarize his statements. Read these verses and summarize the status and duty of Christians: Phil. 3:12, 2 Cor.4:16, 1 Cor. 13:12, 2 Pet. 3:18; Gal. 5:17; 1 John 1:8; Gal. 6:9; Heb. 12:1; 2 Cor. 7:1.
8. Read the quotation on page 51 which begins the section on sin “still acting”. Do you find Owen’s description of our relationship with sin accurate?
10. Owen’s observation about sin is very scriptural, but it also speaks to the subjective experience of sin. Now Owen was obviously a very knowledgeable man on this subject and was accounted quite a godly man. Even his enemies had little to condemn in his life (some said he was too fond of fashionable dress – so much for the stereotype of Puritans and their clothes). What does this tell you about the subjective experience of growing in godliness: Does our growth in godliness mean that we reach a stage where we no longer feel temptation or are beset with sin? Consider it this way? Was Jesus ever tempted? How much and in what way? See, e.g., Heb. 4:15.
11. What will happen if we take ease and don’t worry about our battle with sin? Do you find this true of your own experience? When have you found yourself more likely to fall into sin: directly after you have sinned and have then repented and come humbly before God, or after you have had satisfying spiritual time and think that you will never again fall into that sin?
12. Describe the progression of sin discusses on pages 52-53. Have you ever found that sin is satisfied with a “little” sin? What happens after the “little” sin?
12. What is the main mechanism which Owen lists for responding to indwelling sin? See 53-54.
13. What are the two main means for establishing and increasing grace (the counter force to sin. See, 54.
14. What must be done if we are to progress in holiness? 55
15. What is the “first general principle”? 55. Explain this in your own words.
16. What are the bad effects of unmortified sin on oneself and upon others? 56-57.