Mortification: Waging Mortal Combat on Sin

By Dan Seale

This past Sunday we looked at Colossians 3:1-17 and focused on understanding the rich and beautiful truth of our union with Christ: we are in Christ and Christ is in us.  That is the driving force of a new desire and new power to live a more Christ like life.  I did not have much time to go into how to put sin to death so I thought I would share some notes I have from various readings on this concept. 

Already (3:1)……..Not yet (3:5, 8)

While we are already united to Christ and spiritually seated with him in heaven we are not yet fully like him and still living life on this earth.  We live in a time of tensions between what is already true of us but not yet fully true of us.  So we are called to put death our sin as a matter of utmost importance.

John Owen - a puritan pastor:
Be killing sin or it will be killing you.  (See James 1:15)
He who does not kill sin in his way takes no steps towards his journey’s end.

What sins are you cultivating in your life?  What sins are slowly getting a strangle hold on you?

When a man is able to without bitterness swallow and digest daily sins, that man is at the very brink of turning the grace of God into lasciviousness and being hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.   J. Owen

What is mortification?

J. Owen – Mortification is a habitual successful weakening of sin that involves constant warfare and contention against the flesh.
S. Ferguson – Mortification is the constant battle against sin which we fight daily – the refusal to allow the eye to wander, the mind to contemplate, the affections to run after anything which will draw us from Christ.  It is the deliberate rejection of any sinful thought, suggestion, desire, aspiration, deed, circumstance, or provocation at the moment we become conscious of its existence.  It is the consistent endeavor to do all in our power to weaken the grip which sin in general, and its manifestation in our own lives in particular, has.

 Be Killing sin or it will be killing you.

            Are you killing sin or are you at peace with your sin?

Mortification is a lifetime battle.  (Rom 8:13)

We ought to make it our business all our days to mortify sin.

 Not to be daily mortifying sin is to sin against the goodness, kindness, wisdom, grace and love of God.  By neglecting this – grace withers lust flourishes and the frame of the heart grows worse and worse.  John Owen

 The life, vigor and comfort of the believer’s spiritual life depends upon this work of mortifying our sin.

What exactly are we to put to death?

Open up your Bible to Colossians 3 and read the Scripture and article side by side.

Sin in our private lives:  (3:5)

Robert Murray M’Cheyne once wrote in his diary that he had discovered the seed of every known sin dwelling in his heart.

Sin in our relationships – everyday experiences:  (3:8)

Sin in your fellowship in the church:  (3:9)

How do we put sin to death?

  1.  Remember your union with Christ (2:20; 3:1-4)
  2.  Call sin a sin (3:5, 8, 9) – Know your enemy                                                                                    See the plague of your own heart – Know your enemy – Ps 139:23                                               Write down the specific sins you see in your private life, everyday experiences and life of the church that you want to put to death.
  3. Recognize the consequences of sin – 3:6
  4. Remember shame of your past life – 3:7                                                                                        What benefit did you reap from those sinful behaviors? 
  5. Remember you are united to Christ – 3: 9-10, 12
  6. Renew your mind – 3:10
  7. Prayerfully seek the fruit of the Spirit – PUT ON Col 3:12-17
  8. Diligently study God’s Word – 3:16                                                                                               Grace is to corruption as water to fire – John Flavel                                                              Galatians 6:7-10
  9. Encourage one another to obey Gods’ Word – 3:16
  10. Worship God with His church – 3:17
  11. Live all of life in submission to Jesus Christ – 3:17
  12. Remember your union with Christ – 3:17

Be who you are!  Live as a child of God.  Put off the rags of sin and put on the royal robes of righteousness.