Other Men’s Sins

This past Saturday, I took up to read a sermon by John Owen in volume 9 of his works (pages 296-307) entitled God’s Withdrawing His Presence, The Correction of His Church. It is very good, as is just about all things Owen. By the way, if you are discouraged from reading Owen because he is a tougher read than most Puritan and reformed authors, I would encourage you to start with his sermons in volumes 8 & 9 of his works, as they are much easier to read and are generally confined to about ten pages each.

Anyway, one part in particular he treats concerns our ‘unconcernedness‘  for the sins of other men. I am reminded of Cain smarting off to God about not being his brothers keeper. We are our brother’s keeper. But more importantly, we are to be a neighbor to everyone. Owen’s pastoral concern for the sins of other men rebukes us, but also encourages us that we should be concerned, for if we are not, we have not a zeal for the glory of God. This is very good and very much needed today! Enjoy, be reproved, and God bless.

“We have before us the sins of professors, the sins of the world, the provoking sins of the nation in the generation wherein we live, and the sins of all sorts of men; and I think there is not in any one duty more spiritual wisdom required of believers, than how to deport themselves with a suitable frame of heart, in reference to the sins of other men. Some are ready to be contented that they should sin, and sometimes ready to make sport at their sins; and for the most part it is indifferent unto us at what rate men sin in the world, so it go well with us or the Church of Christ.

We understand but little of that, “Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because men keep not thy law,” Ps. 119: 136. I confess, I think there is little of this in the world,—that we can truly say, as he did, by the Spirit of God, that our eyes run down with water, because other men, all sorts of men, keep not God’s law.

….And the Lord help us, I am afraid we have very small concern for the sins of other men. And it is resolved into these two principles:—want of zeal for God’s glory, and want of compassion to the souls of men; which would make us deeply concerned for the sins of other men. Sin in the world is grown a common thing to us; we do not rend our garments, when we hear of all the blasphemies and atheism in the world,—all the blood, uncleanness, profaneness, oaths. Every sin is grown common to us; nobody is affected.

“None taketh hold upon God,” saith the prophet. What will be the end of these things? Yet we speak of them as commonly as of our daily food. This is not to be under the power of the fear of the Lord. There is a partial hardness upon us from the fear of the Lord, in that general and almost universal unconcernedness that is upon us about the sins of other men.”


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