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“We have so much of the Pharisee in us by nature, that it is sometimes well that our good is hid from us. . . . It is a good life which is attended with a faith of righteousness and a sense of corruption.  While I know Christ’s righteousness, I shall the less care to know my own holiness.  To be holy is necessary; to know it, sometimes a temptation.”

John Owen, Works (Edinburgh, 1981), VI:600-601.  Italics added.

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3 thoughts on “To be, to know”

  1. anonymous says:


    day 12 advent reflection: the greatest gift

    Jer 9:23 Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; 24 but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD.

  2. Eric Ortlund says:

    Wow. Owen had a way of expressing issues in the gospel that is just unique.

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Ray Ortlund

Ray Ortlund is senior pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and serves as a Council member with The Gospel Coalition. You can follow him on Twitter.

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