My thoughts for chapter 5 of "Overcoming Sin & Temptation" are very short. The whole of Psalm 78 is filled with history of God's people rebelling, receiving punishment and returning to God. Owen quotes verses 32-37, a good summary of the Psalm.
I think the verses that follow Owen's quote (vs. 38-42) add important meaning:
"Yet he, being compassionate, atoned for their iniquity and did not destroy them; he restrained his anger often and did not stir up all his wrath. He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes and comes not again. How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved him in the desert! They tested God again and again and provoked the Holy One of Israel".
We will never successfully mortify any sin in our lives unless we have a good sense of the holiness of God against which to contrast our sinful nature. Without that we done as Owen's sinner;
"...to his former iniquity he has added cursed hypocrisy, and is now on a safer path to hell than he was before. He has got another heart than he had, that is more cunning; not a new heart, that is more holy".
I started this chapter several times before I began to get understanding of it. I was only able to complete my reading this morning after putting all my real-life distractions to rest.
As one who maintains a large garden, I appreciated Owen's gardening analogy and have used that in the past though not as richly as Owen. I think of this year in particular when I was called to my mom's home to assist her after a fall which left her with a severely broken arm. After 4 weeks away from home, I returned to a garden in which I literally could not find half of the food-bearing plants! Though my husband was applying water he was unable to attend to the unwanted plants, thus only half the job was done. Weeds grow faster than fruiting plants and move in quickly for the kill. How like the sin in our lives; it is much harder work to kill the sin than to fill ourselves on the richness of God's word to make ourselves feel spiritual. And how quickly sin will choke out true spiritual fruit.
I chose this quote as a highlight of the week's reading: "Men that are sick and wounded under the power of lust make many applications for help; they cry to God when the perplexity of their thoughts overwhelms them, even to God do they cry, but are not delivered; in vain do they use many remedies--" How often do we hear of believers crying out to God for relief of sin's consequences without doing any work to destroy the sin in themselves? They attend church and Bible studies. They read self-help books, they seek counseling, they join support groups and may even take medication; joy and peace still elude them. In Psalm 66 the writer speaks of praising God for His great deeds; in verse 18 we read, "If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened."
This week's concept seems to come back to the simple statement "Be killing sin or it will be killing you."
I am in my late middle-age years, mom to 4 young adult children. I am first and foremost a Christian, tending towards Reformation theology. Because of my own autoimmune thyroid disease, I advocate for thyroid patients and do my best to educate people on this poorly treated condition. Favorite things: Family, Kids, Cooking, Reading, Music, Quilting and Crochet. Oh...and Border Collies. I do NOT like city living. I may write about any or all of these things in this little blog of mine.