John Owen: The Holy Spirit and Conviction of Sin

26 Jun

1616 -1683. Preeminent English Puritan theologian, pastor, and independent.

The principal efficient cause of this work [conviction of sin] is the Holy Ghost; the preaching of the word, especially of the law, being the instrument which be maketh use of therein. The knowledge of sin is by the law, both the nature, guilt, and curse belonging to it, Rom. 7:7. There is, therefore, no conviction of sin but what consists in an emanation of light, and knowledge from the doctrine of the law, with an evidence of its power and a sense of its curse. Other means, as afflictions, dangers, sicknesses, fears, disappointments, may be made use of to excite, stir up, and put an edge upon the minds and affections of men; yet it is, by one means or other, from the law of God that such a discovery is made of sin unto them, and such a sense of it wrought upon them, as belong unto this work of conviction. But it is the Spirit of God alone that is the principal efficient cause of it, for he works these effects on the minds of men. God takes it upon himself, as his own work, to “reprove men, arid set their sins in order before their eyes,” Ps 50:21. And that this same work is done immediately by the Spirit is expressly declared, John 16:8. He alone it is who makes all means effectual unto this end and purpose. Without his especial and immediate actings on us to this end, we may hear the law preached all the days of our lives and not be once affected with it.

~John Owen~





A Discourse Concerning the Holy Spirit, The Works of John Owen, Volume 3 (ed. William H. Goold, Edinburgh: T&T Clark, n.d.), 351-352.

Books by John Owen

Kindle Books

The Works of John Owen on Logos Bible Software

Biography of John Owen

Other Owen Quotes

4 Responses to “John Owen: The Holy Spirit and Conviction of Sin”

  1. Fran Pearson June 29, 2017 at 10:52 am #

    Excellent!!  Thanks!!

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