Thursday Book Review – Mortification of Sin

‘There is no death of sin without the death of Christ.’ – John Owen in Mortification of Sin


John Owen was a beloved English theologian. So beloved that when King Charles II returned to power and Puritans were once more persecuted, John Owen’s was not jailed. He was even bold enough, being close friends with John Bunyan, tried to no avail to get him released from prison. To say Owens was intelligent is putting it lightly, having studied at Oxford. You can see just how adroit his mind was in Mortification of Sin, published in 1656.

Mortification of Sin is not just an exhaustive explanation of sin, reasons for sin, and ways to mortify sin, but also how to tell if your salvation is true based on sin. Owen’s also weaves rebuttals throughout the book for different false doctrines regarding sin. These include the beginnings of the social gospel, the papacy, and any type of works salvation. He does a dutiful job of using scripture, in context, to refute any misconceptions on sin and how to mortify it.

I recommend this book to anyone struggling to understand sin or salvation. Anyone who is learning about Puritans will enjoy this book, as it gives an excellent look into the viewpoint of the time, however, it does not include any historical landmarks that might help you better understand the times. Considering that when this was published his brethren were all being persecuted, jailed, or run out of town, it’s impressive that he managed to focus solely on the topic he was addressing. That is, on its own, a testament to how important it was for Owen’s to clarify the mortification of sins.

I hope this book will be a blessing to you all beloved. It’s in the public domain, like many others I’ve reviewed, which means you can access a PDF freely online. You can also access an audio version through youtube or purchase a Kindle version for a dollar or two. As always, beloved, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Author: lnhereford

I am a Christian, wife, mother, podcaster and homeschooler currently traveling the United States with my loving husband and darling daughter!

9 thoughts on “Thursday Book Review – Mortification of Sin”

  1. Sin? What’s that? Just kidding (and adding a jab to the the TBNers). I know Lloyd-Jones deeply admired Owen. It’s interesting how “Puritan” has become a dirty word in our culture. Did some turn the faith into legalism and outward conformity? That’s always a danger, but we mustn’t throw the baby out with the bath water. I’ll be keeping Owen in mind down the road. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s hilarious brother! I think ‘sin’ is being a member of the Democratic Party. Ha! Just kidding too! I think you’ve got a great point, somehow legalism has been equated with Puritanism. That might have something to do with their hard stance of salvation, folks these days like to think the way is wide. So many of the guys from this time period on started out in genuine legalism, trying to force their bodies into submission by their own works. I love hearing the stories of their salvation, and the shock they all had when they realized what they had been missing. I imagine there are many who had legalism and kept it, especially since it would have been easy to conceal it in a time like that. No cameras, no social media documenting their every move!

      I heard a truly fascinating lecture on the second great awakening where people took the high emotions caused by Jonathan Edward type preaching and turned it into a sign of faith. So what started with some fainting under the realization of their sin, turned into hundreds of people at camp meetings ‘falling over’ to show their faith. It’s always interesting to see the extremes humanity takes things to, all in an attempt to hide from God.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. RE: I heard a truly fascinating lecture on the second great awakening where people took the high emotions caused by Jonathan Edward type preaching and turned it into a sign of faith.

        Wally Fry just posted about joy in the Lord being manifested in outward display vs. actual change of heart and mind. I was going to send a comment much to the effect of what you’ve written. People follow the leader in many cases, like as in group hysteria. So much pressure to conform in churches like that, as you well know.

        Liked by 1 person

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