John Owen – Promise vs. Command in Our Sanctification

4 Nov

And here we may digress a little to consider what regard we ought to have to the command on the one hand, and to the promise on the other,; to our own duty and to the grace of God. Some would separate these things as inconsistent. A command, they suppose, leaves no room for a promise; and a promise, they think, takes off the influencing authority of a command. If holiness be our duty, there is no room for grace; and if it be an effect of grace, there is no place for duty. But all these arguing are a fruit of the “wisdom of the flesh;” the “wisdom that is from above” teaches us other things. It is true, that works and grace are opposed in the matter of justification, as utterly inconsistent; “If it be of works, it is not of grace; and if it be of grace, it is not of works.” But our duty and God’s grace are no where opposed in the matter of sanctification; for the one supposes the other. Neither can we perform our duty herein without the grace of God; nor does God give us his grace to any other end than that we may rightly perform our duty. He who denies either that God commands us to be holy in a way of duty, or promises to work holiness in us in a way of grace, may with as much modesty reject the whole Bible. Both these therefore we must duly regard, if we intend to be holy.

~John Owen~


The Holy Spirit – The Works of John Owen Vol. 3 (Edinburgh, Scotland; The Banner of Truth Trust, 1966) p. 384-385. http://www.crosswaybooks.com. eBook.

Books by John Owen

Biography of John Owen

Other Owen Quotes

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