John Owen is considered by many to be one of the most prolific writers of his time. One of his most important works written in 1656 is entitled Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers. By mortification, Owen meant warfare on our own sin with a view to be killing it. In this work he writes, “I hope I may own in sincerity that my heart’s desire unto God, and the chief design of my life…are, that mortification and universal holiness may be promoted in my own and in the hearts and ways of others, to the glory of God, that so the Gospel of our Lord may be adorned in all things.” These words capture the essence in which Owen lived and built his life around, namely his pursuit of being made like Christ. To Owen, personal holiness mattered a great deal.
This Christmas season should be a reminder of that truth for us today. In a culture of commercialism and greed, we should be pursing holiness. Though we gaze and look upon a tiny baby in a manger, we should be drawn into a greater reality that the tiny baby in a manger would eventually become a bloody offering that will soon return as a triumphant King.
The Christmas season is filled with many things. Let this time of year be a time where we draw close to our coming King and remember that the Gospel doesn’t end or begin in a manger, but has been decreed in eternity past and will soon culminate with His return.