So, why do I say that reading John Owen is the single most helpful thing I've discovered in fighting against sin and growing in grace? I don't mean to imply that someone who has not read Owen could not fight sin and grow in grace equally as well as I. I have no doubt that many people who have never heard of Owen have far exceeded me in their personal holiness and likeness to Jesus. So, I'm speaking personally about what helps me and may (or may not) also help others.
The reason I say Owen helps me is because he knows two things so well: first, the labrynthine subtleties of the sinful human heart; and, second, the multifaceted glories of the gospel of Christ.
Owen is a skilled physician of the soul. He excels in both diagnosis and cure. He knows how to both wound and heal.
And he does not simply make general statements: "Human beings are sinful." "Christ saves sinners." Though these statements are true, Owen knows that they are not enough. Owen avoids generalities and gets specific. His doctrine is not abstract, but concrete. He talks about how sin works. And he nails me. Every time.
But he does more. He also shows me not only that Christ is glorious and his gospel beautiful. He shows me how the beauty and glory of the gospel of Christ is perfectly suited to meet the specific needs of my soul.