Tag Archives: The Holy Spirit

John Owen: He Is, He Always Has Been, Precious

11 Aug

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

Unto them that believe unto the saving of the soul, he is, he always hath been, precious—the sun, the rock, the life, the bread of their souls—every thing that is good, useful, amiable, desirable, here or unto eternity. In, from, and by him, is all their spiritual and eternal life, light, power, growth, consolation, and joy here; with everlasting salvation hereafter. By him alone do they desire, expect, and obtain deliverance from that woful apostasy from God, which is accompanied with—which containeth in it virtually and meritoriously—whatever is evil, noxious, and destructive unto our nature, and which, without relief, will issue in eternal misery. By him are they brought into the nearest cognation, alliance, and friendship with God, the firmest union unto him, and the most holy communion with him, that our finite natures are capable of and so conducted unto the eternal enjoyment of him.

~John Owen~





The Works of John Owen, Volume 1: The Glory of Christ (ed. William H. Goold, Edinburgh: T&T Clark, n.d.), 5.

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John Owen: What Is Sanctification?

20 Oct

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

Sanctification is an immediate work of the Spirit of God on the souls of believers, purifying and cleansing of their natures from the pollution and uncleanness of sin, renewing in them the image of God, and thereby enabling them, from a spiritual and habitual principle of grace, to yield obedience unto God, according unto the tenor and terms of the new covenant, by virtue of the life and death of Jesus Christ. Or more briefly:—It is the universal renovation of our natures by the Holy Spirit into the image of God, through Jesus Christ.

~John Owen~





The Works of John Owen, ed. William H. Goold, vol. 3: Pneumatologia: A Discourse Concerning the Holy Spirit (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, n.d.), 386.

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John Owen: The Immediate, Peculiar, Sanctifier

16 Aug

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

To come yet nearer unto our principal design, I say it is the Holy Ghost who is the immediate peculiar sanctifier of all believers, and the author of all holiness in them.

~John Owen~





The Works of John Owen, ed. William H. Goold, vol. 3: Pneumatologia: A Discourse Concerning the Holy Spirit (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, n.d.), 385.

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John Owen: A Proper Frame of Mind In the Pursuit of Holiness

23 Jun

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

And we may here divert a little, to consider what ought to be the frame of our minds in the pursuit of holiness with respect unto these things,—namely, what regard we ought to have unto 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, at least not such a promise as wherein God should take on himself to work in us what the command requires of us; and a promise they think takes off all the influencing authority of the command. “If holiness be our duty, there is no room for grace in this matter; and if it be an effect of grace, there is no place for duty.” But all these arguings are a fruit of the wisdom of the flesh before mentioned, and we have before disproved them. The “wisdom that is from above” teacheth us other things. It is true, our 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, as our apostle argues, Rom. 11:6. [But] our duty and God’s grace are nowhere opposed in the matter of sanctification, yea, the one doth absolutely suppose the other. Neither can we perform our duty herein without the grace of God; nor doth God give us this grace unto any other end but that we may rightly perform our duty. He that shall deny either that God commands us to be holy in a way of duty, or promiseth to work holiness in us in a way of grace, may with as much modesty reject the whole Bible. Both these, therefore, we are to have a due regard unto, if we intend to be holy. And, (1.) Our regard unto the command consisteth in three things,—[1.] That we get our consciences always affected with the authority of it, as it is the command of God. This must afterward be enlarged on. Where this is not, there is no holiness. Our holiness is our obedience; and the formal nature of obedience ariseth from its respect unto the authority of the command. [2.] That we see and understand the reasonableness, the equity, the advantage of the command. Our service is a reasonable service; the ways of God are equal, and in the keeping of his commands there is great reward. If we judge not thus, if we rest not herein, and are thence filled with indignation against every thing within us or without us that opposeth it or riseth up against it, whatever we do in compliance with it in a way of duty, we are not holy. [3.] That hereon we love and delight in it, because it is holy, just, and good; because the things it requires are upright, equal, easy, and pleasant to the new nature, without any regard to the false ends before discovered. And, (2.) We have a due regard unto the promise to the same end, [1.] When, we walk in a constant sense of our own inability to comply with the command in any one instance from any power in ourselves; for we have no sufficiency of ourselves, our sufficiency is of God. As for him who is otherwise minded, his heart is lifted up. [2.] When we adore that grace which hath provided help and relief for us. Seeing without the grace promised we could never have attained unto the least part or degree of holiness, and seeing we could never deserve the least dram of that grace, how ought we to adore and continually praise that infinite bounty which hath freely provided us of this supply! [3.] When we act faith in prayer and expectation on the promise for supplies of grace enabling us unto holy obedience. And, [4.] When we have especial regard thereunto with respect unto especial temptations and particular duties. When on all such occasions we satisfy not ourselves with a respect unto the promise in general, but exercise faith in particular on it for aid and assistance, then do we regard it in a due manner.

~John Owen~





The Works of John Owen, ed. William H. Goold, vol. 3: Pneumatologia: A Discourse Concerning the Holy Spirit (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, n.d.), 384-385.

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John Owen: True Holiness

19 May

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

Plainly, all the power we have of ourselves to obey the law of God, and all that we do in the pursuit and exercise of that power, upon any reasons, motives, or considerations whatever,—which may all be resolved into fear of punishment and hope of reward, with some present satisfaction of mind, on the account of ease in conscience within or outward reputation, whether in abstinence from sin or the performance of duties,—are intended hereby, and are not that holiness which we inquire after. And the reason is plain, even because those things are not wrought in us by the power of the especial grace of God, in the pursuit of the especial promise of the covenant, as all true holiness is. If any shall say that they are so wrought in us, they do expressly change the nature of them: for thereby those powers would be no more natural, but supernatural; and those duties would be no more merely moral, but evangelical and spiritual;—which is to grant all we contend for. Wherefore, that which men call “moral virtue” is so far from being the whole of internal grace or holiness, that if it be no more than so, it belongs not at all unto it, as not being effected in us by the especial grace of God, according to the tenor and promise of the covenant.

~John Owen~





The Works of John Owen, ed. William H. Goold, vol. 3: Pneumatologia: A Discourse Concerning the Holy Spirit (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, n.d.), 383-384.

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John Owen: Evangelical Holiness

8 May

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

But neither yet are we left in this matter merely under the authority of God’s command, with an expectation of our compliance with it from our own ability and power; God, moreover, has promised to sanctify us, or to work this holiness in us, the consideration whereof will give us yet a nearer prospect into its nature. He that requires it of us knows that we have it not of ourselves. When we were in our best condition by nature, in the state of original holiness, vested with the image of God, we preserved it not; and is it likely that now, in the state of lapsed and depraved nature, it is in our own power to restore ourselves, to re-introduce the image of God into our souls, and that in a far more eminent manner than it was at first created by God? What needed all that contrivance of infinite wisdom and grace for the reparation of our nature by Jesus Christ, if holiness, wherein it does consist, be in our own power, and educed out of the natural faculties of our souls? There can no more fond imagination befall the minds of men than that defiled nature is able to cleanse itself, or depraved nature to rectify itself, or that we, who have lost that image of God which he created in us and with us, should create it again in ourselves by our own endeavours. Wherefore, when God commands and requires us to be holy, he commands us to be that which by nature and of ourselves we are not; and not only so, but that which we have not of ourselves a power to attain unto. Whatever, therefore, is absolutely in our own power is not of that holiness which God requires of us; for what we can do ourselves, there is neither necessity nor reason why God should promise to work in us by his grace. And to say that what God so promises to work, he will not work or effect indeed, but only persuade and prevail with us to do it, is, through the pride of unbelief, to defy the truth and grace of God, and with the spoils of them to adorn our own righteousness and power. Now, God has multiplied his promises to this purpose, so that we shall need to call over only some of them in way of instance: Jer. 31:33, “I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Chap. 32:39, 40, “I will give them One heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever; and I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.” Ezek. 36:26, 27, “A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” Verse 25, “I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness will I cleanse you.” Verse 29, “I will also save you from all your uncleannesses.” The whole of our sanctification and holiness is comprised in these promises. To be cleansed from the defilements of sin, whatever they be, to have a heart inclined, disposed, enabled, to fear the Lord always, and to walk in all his ways and statutes accordingly, with an internal habitual conformity of the whole soul unto the law of God, is to be sanctified or to be holy. And all this God promises directly to work in us and to accomplish himself.

~John Owen~





The Works of John Owen, ed. William H. Goold, vol. 3: Pneumatologia: A Discourse Concerning the Holy Spirit (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, n.d.), 382–383.

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John Owen: Merit and Grace

22 Apr

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

God requireth not any thing of us whereby we should purchase or merit for ourselves life and salvation: for “by grace are we saved through faith; not of works, lest any man should boast,” Eph. 2:8, 9. God doth save us neither by nor for the “works of righteousness which we have done,” but “according to his mercy,” Tit. 3:5: so that although, on the one side, the “wages of sin is death,” there being a proportion in justice between sin and punishment, yet there is none between our obedience and our salvation; and therefore “eternal life is the gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord,” Rom. 6:23. God, therefore, requires nothing at our hands under this notion or consideration, nor is it possible that in our condition any such thing should be required of us; for whatever we can do is due beforehand on other accounts, and so can have no prospect to merit what is to come. Who can merit by doing his duty? Our Saviour doth so plainly prove the contrary as none can farther doubt of it than of his truth and authority, Luke 17:10. Nor can we do any thing that is acceptable to him but what is wrought in us by his grace; and this overthrows the whole nature of merit, which requires that that be every way our own whereby we would deserve somewhat else at the hands of another, and not his more than ours.

~John Owen~





The Works of John Owen, ed. William H. Goold, vol. 3: Pneumatologia: A Discourse Concerning the Holy Spirit (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, n.d.), 379.

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John Owen: Absolute Free Pardon

31 Mar

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

[God] requires nothing of us (which we had all the reason in the world to expect that he would) to make atonement or satisfaction for our sins, that might compensate the injuries we have done him by our apostasy and rebellion; for whereas we had multiplied sins against him, lived in an enmity and opposition to him, and had contracted insupportable and immeasurable debts upon our own souls, terms of peace being now proposed, who could think but that the first thing required of us would be, that we should make some kind of satisfaction to divine justice for all our enormous and heinous provocations? yea, who is there that indeed doth naturally think otherwise?

But quite otherwise; in the gospel there is declared and tendered unto sinners an absolute free pardon of all their sins, without any satisfaction or compensation made or to be made on their part, that is, by themselves,—namely, on the account of the atonement made for them by Jesus Christ. And all attempts or endeavours after works or duties of obedience in any respect satisfactory to God for sin or meritorious of pardon do subvert and overthrow the whole gospel.

~John Owen~





The Works of John Owen, ed. William H. Goold, vol. 3: Pneumatologia: A Discourse Concerning the Holy Spirit (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, n.d.), 377-378.

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John Owen: The Primary Purpose of the Gospel

10 Feb

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

God’s great and first design, in and by the gospel, is eternally to glorify himself, his wisdom, goodness, love, grace, righteousness, and holiness, by Jesus Christ, Eph. 1:5,6.

~John Owen~





The Works of John Owen, ed. William H. Goold, vol. 3: Pneumatologia: A Discourse Concerning the Holy Spirit (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, n.d.), 377.

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John Owen: Gospel Holiness vs. Mere Morality

3 Feb

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

There neither is, nor ever was, in the world, nor ever shall be, the least dram of holiness, but what, flowing from Jesus Christ, is communicated by the Spirit, according to the truth and promise of the gospel. There may be something like it as to its outward acts and effects (at least some of them), something that may wear its livery in the world, that is but the fruit of men’s own endeavours in compliance with their convictions; but holiness it is not, nor of the same kind or nature with it.

~John Owen~





The Works of John Owen, ed. William H. Goold, vol. 3: Pneumatologia: A Discourse Concerning the Holy Spirit (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, n.d.), 371.

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