John Owen on the Absolute Necessity of Holiness

“No unclean thing, nothing that defiles or is defiled, shall ever be brought into the glorious presence of this holy God. There is no imagination wherewith mankind is besotted more foolish, none so pernicious, as this, that persons not purified, not sanctified, not made holy in this life should afterward be taken into that state of blessedness which consists in the enjoyment of God. There can be no thought more reproachful to his glory, nor more inconsistent with the nature of the things themselves, for neither can such persons enjoy him, nor would God himself be a reward unto them. They can have nothing whereby they should adhere unto him as their chief good, nor can they see anything in him that should give them rest and satisfaction, nor can there be any medium whereby God should communicate himself unto them, supposing them to continue thus unholy, as all must do who depart out of this life in that condition. Holiness, indeed, is perfected in heaven, but the beginning of it is invariably and unalterably confined to this world, and where this fails, no hand shall be put into that work in eternity.”

-John Owen, Works, III:574-575.

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