Getting a Clear Sense — A Letter to a Much-loved Child

In Chapter X of John Owen’s The Mortification of Sin, he urges his readers toward a “clear sense” of:

1.   The guilt of sin — “It is one of the deceits of a prevailing lust to extenuate its own guilt.”

2.   The danger of sin — “Of being hardened by deceitfulness; . . . of some great temporal correction; of loss of peace and strength; . . .of eternal destruction.”

3.    The evil of sin — “Danger respects what is to come; evil, what is present.”  By this, Owen is referring to the unseen affects of sin in the Godhead and in the sinner’s spiritual endeavors.  This third aspect of Owen’s argument caused me to wonder, “How would Chapter X sound if it were framed in words coming straight from the heart of a loving Heavenly Father?”  A three-day power outage provided some time for reflection on the matter in the form of this sonnet.

Getting a Clear Sense — A Letter to a Much-loved Child

My child, if you would see sin mortified,

Let Spirit-voice be Nathan to your soul,

Awakening right judgment and clear-eyed

Assessment of your guilt. My grace extol.

Reject the dangerous way of tangled sin.

Accept this comfort:  “No condemnation!”

Look on My face, choose peace and strength within,

Proof of the Spirit’s mortification.

Shun evil if My glory you’d reveal

In ministry.  A temple undefiled,

A Spirit-habitation with My seal,

Rejoicing to be my obedient child.

Let danger, guilt, the evil of your sin

Cause gospel-tempered trembling within.


Published by

Michele Morin

Michele Morin is a teacher, blogger, reader, and gardener who finds joy in sitting at a table surrounded by women with open Bibles. She has been married to an unreasonably patient husband for nearly 30 years, and together they have four sons, two daughters-in-love, two grandchildren, and one lazy St. Bernard. Michele loves hot tea and well-crafted sentences, poems that stop her in her tracks and days at the ocean with the whole family. She laments biblical illiteracy and advocates for the prudent use of “little minutes.” She blogs at Living Our Days, and you can connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

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