As the hymn “prone to wonder Lord I feel it prone to leave the God I love…. This book is so good to warn against this!
The first rule of combat is: know your enemy.
We don't talk a lot about sin these days. But maybe we should. The Puritans sure did—because they understood sin's deceptive power and wanted to root it out of their lives. Shouldn't we want the same?
Though many books have been written on the "doctrine of sin," few are as practical and applicable as this one. In Knowing Sin, Mark Jones puts his expertise in the Puritans to work by distilling the vast wisdom of our Christian forebears into a single volume that summarizes their thought on this vital subject. The result isn't a theological tome to sit on your shelf and gather dust, but a surprisingly relevant book to keep by your bedside and refer to again and again. You'll come to understand topics like:
None of us is free from the struggle with sin. The question isn't whether we're sinful, it's what we're doing about it. Thanks be to God, there is a path to overcoming sin. And the first step on that path to victory is knowing what we're up against. Start Knowing Sin today!
"In this book, the author of Knowing Sin, steeped in the tradition of the Puritans, teaches us not only the what and whence of sin, but also how the faith, hope, and love given to us by the Father in Jesus Christ and sealed upon our hearts by the Holy Spirit guide us in the daily mortification of sin. I know of no other contemporary volume on sin that sets forth orthodox doctrine with such precision while searching the heart of the reader at such depth."
—SHAO KAI "ALEX" TSENG, Department of Philosophy, Zhejiang University, China
"Sin: the reality of its universality is evident to all, yet modern men and women so frequently refuse to own up to this hard-core fact of human existence. But what is even more devastating is that far too many professing Christians today downplay the seriousness of what the Puritans rightly regarded as the plague of sin. In this incisive examination of what these very same Puritans can teach us about sin, Mark Jones has produced a much-needed, solidly biblical study for our modern dilemma of ostrich-like denial. A necessary read!"
—MICHAEL A. G. HAYKIN, chair and professor of church history, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
"In a world where depressing news abounds, why pick up a book that tells us how bad we really are? After reading Mark Jones's Knowing Sin, the answer will be obvious: because we need to. Knowing Sin made me uncomfortable. It's methodically specific. It's agonizingly comprehensive. It's personal. It's unrelenting. And it's biblical. Aided by some long-departed Puritan friends, Mark identifies the origins of our sin problem, clears up a multitude of misunderstandings about sin, gives us fresh reasons to hate sin's sinfulness, and opens our eyes to sins we should be fighting but are probably ignoring. Most importantly, he leads us to embrace the joyful truth that forgiveness and righteousness are found in Christ's perfect life, substitutionary death, and triumphant resurrection alone. I've pondered and quoted Mark's book to others for weeks, and expect I'll do so for years to come. It's that good."
—BOB KAUFLIN, director of Sovereign Grace Music
"You need this book as much as I do. We both need this book because we are both sinners, both natural haters of God and haters of our fellow man. If we are to obey God's call on our lives to put sin to death and come alive to righteousness, we must wage war against that mortal enemy, sin. But to successfully battle our enemy we need to know our enemy. In the pages of this book, you will come to know sin, learn to hate it even more, and learn why (and how) you must become free from its captivity."
—TIM CHALLIES, blogger, author, and book reviewer
"I genuinely think that Knowing Sin will be the most critical book that faithful Christians will be reading for many years to come."
—ROSARIA BUTTERFIELD (from the foreword), homeschooling mother and writer, author of The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, Openness Unhindered, and The Gospel Comes with a House Key
"What doctor would receive our respect if he offered a cure without a careful diagnosis? Yet we shy away from a thorough diagnosis of the deadly illness of our souls—the inward evil of sin. Mark Jones takes God's holy Word, which penetrates and reveals with far more accuracy than any medical scan, and shows us the heinousness of sin so that we may find healing from the Great Physician. This book draws from the biblical wisdom of the Puritans and other classic Reformed writers to offer radical insight into the nature of sin and a great help to those who want to mortify the enemy within."
—JOEL R. BEEKE, President, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, MI
"Reading Knowing Sin by Mark Jones was difficult, though not at the fault of the author. Indeed, Dr. Jones is a clear writer whose pithy and memorable turns of phrase make this a book that is easy to digest. He is also an excellent interpreter of the Puritan tradition and uses those sources with great effect. The problem with the book has more to do with me, the reader. Reading about my own sin and the impact it has both on myself and those I love brought with it conviction. This is the greatest benefit of Dr. Jones's insights, that the gospel is a true balm to sin-weary souls. I'm very thankful that this book is being published, and I pray that it will have its desired result in the church as Christians live lives of constant repentance before a very merciful God."
—IAN CLARY, Assistant Professor of Historical Theology at Colorado Christian University, Lakewood, CO
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The Pilgrim's Regress
Mark Jones addresses the uncomfortable topic of backsliding believers—and, to a lesser extent, apostasy—in a serious, hopeful, and pastoral work informed by wise theologians of the past and present.
Mark Jones (PhD, Leiden University) is Senior Minister at Faith Vancouver Presbyterian Church (PCA) and Research Associate at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa. He has written and edited several books and most recently coauthored A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life.
“Each chapter is a wake‑up call providing clear spiritual medicine for Christians to progress and not regress in their faith. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It’s a must-read.” —Rosaria Butterfield, author, Five Lies of Our Anti-Christian Age
“Warning! Don’t read this book if you don’t want to be confronted with the danger of backsliding to which every Christian is constantly exposed. Warning! Don’t read this book if you don’t want to be encouraged by learning of the resources readily available to every Christian for countering the ever-present tendency to backsliding. Reading this book has been a searching experience for me personally, as Mark Jones carefully delineates the various regressive tendencies that plague the Christian life, explores the difference between them and irremediable apostasy, and unfolds in a deeply probing way the thoroughly sufficient and efficacious remedies that Scripture provides. Don’t heed my warnings. Read this book!”
—Richard B. Gaffin Jr., Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology, Emeritus, Westminster Theological Seminary
“Few address the subject of this book, yet backsliding and apostasy are genuine realities in the story of the church. This fresh study of the subject not only examines the nature of backsliding but also, in John Owen–like fashion, probes deeply into its sources. . . . Sadly, this is a much-needed tract for our crooked age. Thankfully, though, it provides a robust gospel remedy for this ill that ails so many of our churches.” —Michael A. G. Azad Haykin, Professor of Church History, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“Dr. Mark Jones’s The Pilgrim’s Regress: Guarding against Backsliding and Apostasy in the Christian Life is a masterly exploration of the complex spiritual journey that every believer undertakes. With eloquent prose and an unwavering commitment to biblical truth, Jones weaves a tapestry of profound theological insight, pastoral wisdom, and genuine compassion that speaks to the heart of every Christian pilgrim on his or her path to consummated glory. Delving into the intricate dynamics of the Christian walk, he unravels the mysteries of grace, perseverance, and the relentless battle against indwelling sin. His profound insights and practical solutions offer guidance to believers of all backgrounds. This literary masterpiece is a beacon of understanding, providing solace, wisdom, and hope for every follower of Christ. This is a must-read for all believers.” —Christopher Yuan, Speaker; Author, Holy Sexuality and the Gospel; Producer, The Holy Sexuality Project Video Series for Parents and their Teens
“In a culture now beginning to be wearied by the hypocrisy of so-called positive energies, a culture that in turn proposes to embrace the ‘true self’ by giving in to the downward stream of turning from God, this refreshing book reminds us of a genuinely Christian way of being authentic as sinners saved by grace.” —Shao Kai Tseng, Research Professor in the School of Philosophy, Zhejiang University