West London Alliance Church

TBT@ITT: John Owen on Sin as Aversion to God

Originally posted on October 12, 2009

From Triumph Over Temptation by John Owen as edited by James M. Houston under the subtitle Sin Is Aversion of God:

"The actions and operations of sin are twofold: first by aversion and second by opposition." (57)

"Sin is first of all aversion of God. Sin is indisposed to duty whereby communion with God is obtained. All weariness of duty, all carnality, and all formality in duty spring from this root...In other words, God is saying, "Do you have any spiritual duty to perform? Do you propose to seek communion with God? Look then to yourself, to take care of the inclinations of your heart, for they will wander and be deflected by aversion to what you propose." " (58)


On keeping the soul from sin's aversion:

  1. Have a disposition of heart fixed upon God. "It is utterly impossible to keep the heart in a holy frame in any one duty, unless it is also in all duties before God. If sin entangles us in one area of our life,it will ensnare every area our life." (60)
  2. Labor to prevent the beginnings of the workings of this aversion. "Let grace proceed before every duty." (60)
  3. Although sin does its work, never allow it to make a conquest. "What is difficult to do now will increase in difficulty, if we give way to it now. But if we stand fast now, God promises we shall prevail later." (61)
  4. Carry always with you as a constant, humbling sense of the aversion sin has within our nature to true spirituality. "If these things [gifts from Christ] are so, why then should we harbor a cursed dislike of Him and His ways in our foolish and wretched hearts? we should be ashamed of this aversion." (62)
  5. Finally, let us labor to possess this mind with the beauty and excellency of spiritual things. "Cherish these things as desirable and lovely to the soul. It is an innate principle that the soul will not continue worshiping God if it is not discovering the beauty and comeliness of such worship." (62)

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