I haven't commented much on this book study, read-a-long over at challies.com, even though I've had plenty of moments of illumination and interest. Probably too many to try to summarize in a short post. This week, we started Ch. 5 which speaks of "what mortification is not."
One of Owen's particularly helpful points in this chapter is that mortification is not the dissimulation of sin.
The dissimulation of sin deals with instances where we are caught in a sin, either by a friend or family member or even ourselves, and then we “change.” According to Owen, we haven’t really changed, we are simply covering sin up. The classic example is when married people have an affair with with another person. Once they are caught, perhaps for matters of convenience or saving face, the person swears he or she will never do it again, and then goes along seeming like a changed person. And the people around praise him or her for changing when really the person still harbors lust and passions in the heart. Because the person is not acting on it, now he is also a hypocrite. Owen says, “He has got another heart than he had, that is more cunning; not a new heart, that is more holy.”
So, the question that dovetails from Owen's point is to ask one's self what sin are we merely covering up? Idolatry is probably at the heart, but our sin does not want it found out.
When I see another person's sin, instead of saying “I don’t have a problem with that sin or that other sin,” rather it would be more fitting to find how my heart really does fit in to each one of them. To search the heart, unmask the hidden idolatry, bring it into the light ... and read on to Chapter 6.... :)