The vital topic of mortification of sin

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Iconoclast, Sep 14, 2015.

  1. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast
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  2. Iconoclast

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    Here is an example; ibid...
     
  3. Iconoclast

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    This topic is misunderstood here on BB quite often.

     
  4. Iconoclast

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    .........................:1_grouphug:
     
  5. Iconoclast

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    How to Mortify Sin

    from Sinclair Ferguson Jan 04, 2013 Category: Articles


    The aftermath of a conversation can change the way we later think of its significance.

    My friend — a younger minister — sat down with me at the end of a conference in his church and said: “Before we retire tonight, just take me through the steps that are involved in helping someone mortify sin.” We sat talking about this for a little longer and then went to bed, hopefully he was feeling as blessed as I did by our conversation. I still wonder whether he was asking his question as a pastor or simply for himself — or both.

    How would you best answer his question? The first thing to do is: Turn to the Scriptures. Yes, turn to John Owen (never a bad idea!), or to some other counselor dead or alive. But remember that we have not been left only to good human resources in this area. We need to be taught from “the mouth of God” so that the principles we are learning to apply carry with them both the authority of God and the promise of God to make them work.

    Several passages come to mind for study: Romans 8:13; Romans 13:8–14 (Augustine’s text); 2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1; Ephesians 4:17–5:21; Colossians 3:1–17; 1 Peter 4:1–11; 1 John 2:28–3:11. Significantly, only two of these passages contain the verb “mortify” (“put to death”). Equally significantly, the context of each of these passages is broader than the single exhortation to put sin to death. As we shall see, this is an observation that turns out to be of considerable importance.

    Of these passages, Colossians 3:1–17 is probably the best place for us to begin.

    Here were relatively young Christians. They have had a wonderful experience of conversion to Christ from paganism. They had entered a gloriously new and liberating world of grace. Perhaps — if we may read between the lines — they had felt for a while as if they had been delivered, not only from sin’s penalty but almost from its influence — so marvelous was their new freedom. But then, of course, sin reared its ugly head again. Having experienced the “already” of grace they were now discovering the painful “not yet” of ongoing sanctification. Sounds familiar!

    But as in our evangelical sub-culture of quick fixes for long-term problems, unless the Colossians had a firm grasp of Gospel principles, they were now at risk! For just at this point young Christians can be relatively easy prey to false teachers with new promises of a higher spiritual life. That was what Paul feared (Col. 2:8, 16). Holiness-producing methods were now in vogue (Col. 2:21–22) — and they seemed to be deeply spiritual, just the thing for earnest young believers. But, in fact, “they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh” (Col. 2:23). Not new methods, but only an understanding of how the Gospel works, can provide an adequate foundation and pattern for dealing with sin. This is the theme of Colossians 3:1–17.

    Paul gives us the pattern and rhythm we need. Like Olympic long jumpers, we will not succeed unless we go back from the point of action to a point from which we can gain energy for the strenuous effort of dealing with sin. How, then, does Paul teach us to do this?

    First of all, Paul underlines how important it is for us to be familiar with our new identity in Christ (3:1–4). How often when we fail spiritually we lament that we forgot who we really are — Christ’s. We have a new identity. We are no longer “in Adam,” but “in Christ”; no longer in the flesh, but in the Spirit; no longer dominated by the old creation but living in the new (Rom. 5:12–21; 8:9; 2 Cor. 5:17). Paul takes time to expound this. We have died with Christ (Col. 3:3; we have even been buried with Christ, 2:12); we have been raised with Him (3:1), and our life is hidden with Him (3:3). Indeed, so united to Christ are we that Christ will not appear in glory without us (3:4).

    Failure to deal with the presence of sin can often be traced back to spiritual amnesia, forgetfulness of our new, true, real identity. As a believer I am someone who has been delivered from the dominion of sin and who therefore is free and motivated to fight against the remnants of sin’s army in my heart.

    Principle number one, then, is: Know, rest in, think through, and act upon your new identity — you are in Christ.

    Second, Paul goes on to expose the workings of sin in every area of our lives (Col. 3:5–11). If we are to deal with sin biblically, we must not make the mistake of thinking that we can limit our attack to only one area of failure in our lives. All sin must be dealt with. Thus Paul ranges through the manifestation of sin in private life (v. 5), everyday public life (v. 8), and church life (vv. 9–11; “one another,” “here,” that is, in the church fellowship). The challenge in mortification is akin to the challenge in dieting (itself a form of mortification!): once we begin we discover that there are all kinds of reasons we are overweight. We are really dealing with ourselves, not simply with calorie control. I am the problem, not the potato chips! Mortifying sin is a whole-of-life change.

    Third, Paul’s exposition provides us with practical guidance for mortifying sin. Sometimes it seems as if Paul gives exhortations (“Put to death…,” 3:5) without giving “practical” help to answer our “how to?” questions. Often today, Christians go to Paul to tell them what to do and then to the local Christian bookstore to discover how to do it! Why this bifurcation? Probably because we do not linger long enough over what Paul is saying. We do not sink our thinking deeply into the Scriptures. For, characteristically, whenever Paul issues an exhortation he surrounds it with hints as to how we are to put it into practice.

    This is certainly true here. Notice how this passage helps to answer our “how to?” questions.





    1. Learn to admit sin for what it really is. Call a spade a spade — call it “sexual immorality,” not “I’m being tempted a little”; call it “impurity,” not “I’m struggling with my thought life”; call it “evil desire, which is idolatry,” not “I think I need to order my priorities a bit better.” This pattern runs right through this whole section. How powerfully this unmasks self-deceit — and helps us to unmask sin lurking in the hidden corners of our hearts!

    2. See sin for what your sin really is in God’s presence. “On account of these the wrath of God is coming” (3:6). The masters of the spiritual life spoke of dragging our lusts (kicking and screaming, though they be) to the cross, to a wrath-bearing Christ. My sin leads to — not lasting pleasure — but holy divine displeasure. See the true nature of your sin in the light of its punishment. Too easily do we think that sin is less serious in Christians than it is in non-believers: “It’s forgiven, isn’t it?” Not if we continue in it (1 John 3:9)! Take a heaven’s-eye view of sin and feel the shame of that in which you once walked (Col. 3:7; see also Rom. 6:21).

    3. Recognize the inconsistency of your sin. You put off the “old man,” and have put on the “new man” (3:9–10). You are no longer the “old man.” The identity you had “in Adam” is gone. The old man was “crucified with him [Christ] in order that the body of sin [probably “life in the body dominated by sin”] might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin” (Rom. 6:6). New men live new lives. Anything less than this is a contradiction of who I am “in Christ.”

    4. Put sin to death (Col. 3:5). It is as “simple” as that. Refuse it, starve it, and reject it. You cannot “mortify” sin without the pain of the kill. There is no other way!

    But notice that Paul sets this in a very important, broader context. The negative task of putting sin to death will not be accomplished in isolation from the positive call of the Gospel to “put on” the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 13:14). Paul spells this out in Colossians 3:12–17. Sweeping the house clean simply leaves us open to a further invasion of sin. But when we understand the “glorious exchange” principle of the Gospel of grace, then we will begin to make some real advance in holiness. As sinful desires and habits are not only rejected, but exchanged for Christ-like graces (3:12) and actions (3:13); as we are clothed in Christ’s character and His graces are held together by love (v. 14), not only in our private life but also in the church fellowship (vv. 12–16), Christ’s name and glory are manifested and exalted in and among us (3:17).
     
  6. Iconoclast

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    Here is a helpful blog post on this:
    http://consideringchrist.org/blog/mortification-illustrated/


    Mortification Illustrated

    by Eric Holter on February 5, 2007


    Exodus Chapters 32 and 33

    I try to maintain twin objectives in my day-to-day spiritual life. They run parallel to each other, like train tracks. If one or the other is lacking, bent, or damaged, my spiritual life tends to derail. One track is the daily mortification of sin, and the other is actively pursuing the glory of God in Christ. Seeing and knowing God is the positive and ultimate goal, but killing sin is the necessary and often more tangible exercise I engage in. Killing sin does not equal seeing God, nor does success in battle automatically result in a view of the glory of God. But, failure to mortify sin is certainly an effective preventor of seeing and delighting in God’s glory.



    Killing sin sometimes means embracing self denial or ceasing to engage in some sinful activity or bad habit. But the deeper and more constant effort of sin killing engages my thoughts, motives and emotions. This kind of mortification is invisible. It happens in my head and heart.

    Similarly, beholding the glory of God is also an invisible transaction–pillars of fire and parting of waters are not a part of the glory I behold. Rather, spiritual light, the radiance of God, is apprehended in my heart.

    [QUOTEIt’s tricky to maintain these two important tracks upon which my life rolls toward its ultimate heavenly calling–especially since their condition is invisible and my ability to evaluate their state of repair is often veiled. Yet daily mortification and unceasing orientation Godward is necessary if I’m to stand firm in Christ[/QUOTE]


     
    #6 Iconoclast, Sep 17, 2015
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  7. Van

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    Why mortify the English language using arcane and archaic verbiage to present biblical doctrine. Why wrap it in churchy words and phrases?

    Romans 8:13 says by the Spirit we should put to death the deeds of the body, and Colossians 3:5 says therefore put to death what belongs to your worldly nature.
     
  8. Iconoclast

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    Hello Van,
    It is the biblical language. It is not that complicated is it.....???

    Mortify.....deprive of power, put to death....the deeds of the body, sinful impulses....

    Topic: Mortify
    <1,,2289,thanatoo>
    "to put to death" (from thanatos, "death," akin to thnetos, "mortal," see above), is translated "mortify" in Rom. 8:13 (Amer. RV, "put to death"); in Rom. 7:4, "ye were made dead" (Passive Voice), betokens the act of God on the believer, through the death of Christ; here in Rom. 8:13 it is the act of the believer himself, as being responsible to answer to God's act, and to put to death "the deeds of the body." See DEATH, C, No. 1.
    <2,,3499,nekroo>
    "to make dead" (from nekros, see DEAD, A), is used figuratively in Col. 3:5 and translated "mortify" (Amer. RV, "put to death"). See DEAD, B, No. 1.



    [mortality][most]

    from another blog;

    http://www.yourchurch.com/sermon/temptation-vs-mortification-drawing-the-lines-of-battle/

    What helps you or how do you view mortification of sin?
     
    #8 Iconoclast, Sep 17, 2015
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  9. Iconoclast

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    Another helpful blog;
    http://www.covenanteyes.com/2010/11/29/the-mortification-of-sin-part-6/

    Mortification of Sin in Believers. Throughout the book, Owen explains Paul’s words, “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Romans 8:13).
    •In the first chapter of Owen’s book, he explains that true believers must put to death the inward inclinations to sin, knowing that God promises fullness of life.
    •In chapter two, Owen stresses the volatile and harmful nature of sin itself, showing that indwelling sin is an active force and is always working to achieve maximum evil in our lives.
    •In chapter three, Owen teaches the only way to mortify sin is by the power of the Holy Spirit, not by human willpower or behavioral modification.
    •In chapter four, Owen shows how a lack of mortification of sin robs the soul of spiritual vigor, comfort, and peace.



    What Mortification Is Not

    In chapter five, Owen seeks to answer this critical question:

    Suppose a man be a true believer, and yet finds in himself a powerful indwelling sin, leading him captive to the law of it, consuming his heart with trouble, perplexing his thoughts, weakening his souls as to duties of communion, and exposing him to hardening through the deceitfulness of sin, what shall he do?

    In order to slay sin, we first must be clear on what killing sin is not.

    1. Mortification is not the utter destruction of sin.

    Whatever we might say about a Christian’s freedom from sin in this life, we can confidently affirm that nothing parallels the freedom we will experience in the age to come. When the final age dawns the devil will be cast away forever, our earthly bodies will be renewed, and the world will be full of the glory of God. Until that day, we wage a constant war with sin.

    The apostle Paul defined for us the essence of Christian maturity (Philippians 3:15): knowing we are not yet perfect (v.12), and longing for complete transformation (v.21), we nonetheless press on to become just like Christ (v.12). This is the holy tension of the Christian life: we aim for that which we know we will not attain in this life.

    Knowing this guards us against a false sense of failure in the task of mortifying sin. In this life we aim for the total destruction of sin, but when sin still calls to us or stirs in us, we remember the final consummation of the kingdom is yet to come. The continued presence of temptation and our attraction to it does not mean we are failing in our mortification. Owen positively states, “Now, though doubtless there may, by the Spirit and the grace of Christ, a wonderful success and eminency of victory against any sin be attained, so that a man may have almost constant triumph over it, yet an utter killing and destruction of it, that it should not be, is not in this life to be expected.”

    2. Mortification is not merely outward behavioral change.

    There are many who seek only external changes in their lives. This is not putting sin to death. The root of sin is in the heart, and mortification seeks at nothing less than a heart-change. When we seek to change only our outward behavior, we are being cunning, not holy. “When a man on some outward respects forsakes the practice of any sin,” Owen warns, “men perhaps may look on him as a changed man. God knows that to his former iniquity he has added cursed hypocrisy, and is now on a safer path to hell than he was before.”

    3. Mortification is not having a quiet and sedate personality.

    Some people are simply more even-tempered than others: they are not known for great impatience or having a short wick. Owen warns, people with this natural temperament may seem to be mortifying sin, “when, perhaps, their hearts are a standing sink of all abominations.” It is quite possible to be “nice” and still be filled with unbelief, envy, or some other socially respectable or easily hidden sins. The improvement of one’s naturally kind personality is not mortification.

    4. Mortification is not the diversion of sin.

    It is possible for someone to become convicted about a particular sin in his life and guard against it, keeping it from ever rising again. But because the heart is still unchanged, the same lust will erupt through some other vent. Sin is not killed when it is merely diverted in a new direction.

    Owen calls this the “bartering of lusts,” leaving one sin to serve another. He likens this to the healing of a sore, assuming the infection is gone because the skin has healed, only to have the infection resurface somewhere else. “He that changes pride for worldliness, sensuality for Pharisaism, vanity in himself to the contempt of others, let him not think that he has mortified the sin that he seems to have left. He has changed his master, but is a servant still.”

    5. Mortification is not occasional and superficial conquests over sin.

    When sin rises up in us, one of two things typically drive us to fight it: (1) the sin itself disturbs our quiet conscience, or (2) some consequence or temporal judgment from God makes us realize the seriousness of our sin. Owen describes how we typically react in the face of these stark reminders:

    This awakens and stirs up all that is in the man, and amazes him, fills him with all abhorrency of sin and himself for it; sends him to God, makes him cry out as for life, to abhor his lust as hell and to set himself against it. The whole man, spiritual and natural, being now awakened, sin shrinks in its head, appears not, and lies as dead before him.

    But, as Owen explains it, sin is like a sniper who strikes at opportune moments. After he attacks, our consciences awaken like guards roused from their slumber after an assassination. We believe the assassin has been scared away because of the tumult in our souls. But he is only hiding. Sin is content to hide for a day that he might strike again. Sin has not been mortified when it merely plays dead.

    Dr. Henry Jekyll would have resonated with these ideas. Even in his best moments and in times of most sincere repentance, he had in himself an “unconscious reservation.” After months of sobriety, Jekyll’s resolve would erode. He writes,

    But time began at last to obliterate the freshness of my alarm; the praises of conscience began to grow into a thing of course; I began to be tortured with throes and longings, as of Hyde struggling after freedom; and at last, in an hour of moral weakness, I once again compounded and swallowed the transforming draught.

    The Israelites are a perfect example of this seemingly serious yet superficial killing of sin:

    In spite of all this, they still sinned;
    despite his wonders, they did not believe.
    So he made their days vanish like a breath,
    and their years in terror.
    When he killed them, they sought him;
    they repented and sought God earnestly.
    They remembered that God was their rock,
    the Most High God their redeemer.
    But they flattered him with their mouths;
    they lied to him with their tongues.
    Their heart was not steadfast toward him;
    they were not faithful to his covenant.
    (Psalm 78:32-37)

    True mortification is not marked merely by moments of repentance, earnest prayer, or seasons of revival. There is something more that is needed.

    Questions for Personal or Group Reflection:

    1. Have you ever felt a sense of guilt based on an expectation of sinless perfection in yourself?

    2. Have you ever “repented” of a sin only later to find out that your repentance was superficial?

    3. Have you ever “bartered” your lusts? Have you extinguished one particular sin only to later find that the root of it was never dealt with? How did that root resurface in your life
     
    #9 Iconoclast, Sep 17, 2015
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  10. Van

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    Rewrite your OP, deleting Mortify and related words, and use "put to death." How to put to death our worldly sinful inclinations is difficult enough, no need to obfuscate the topic using arcane and archaic words.

    Ever hear the phrase "as easy as taking candy from a baby?" How do you do it? Substitution, you give the baby something else to focus on. We need to focus on (1) Prayer, examining ourselves, and considering our shortcomings, (2) study of God's word, learning everything Christ commanded and taught us, and (3) striving to follow Him in accordance with His instructions and commands. It is as easy as taking candy from a baby.
     
    #10 Van, Sep 17, 2015
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  11. Iconoclast

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    Van


    Sometimes it is when these words get explained or unpacked is when the clear teaching comes fully into focus and not before.

    certain words were used and others not used by God's design. We should not cloak these teachings with high sounding words for no reason other than to sound more authoritative....In that I agree with you.

    even when we study and dig into these things the goal should be to present it plainly in common language.:thumbs:
     
  12. Van

    Van
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    Spot on, Icon!
     
  13. Iconoclast

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    We agreed on something:laugh::laugh: I better double up on my blood pressure medication:laugh::thumbsup:
     

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