Notes on Mortification (5)

The way, the truth and the life!
The way, the truth and the life!

From our test (Romans 8:13), and from other passages of scripture that speak of man’s conversion, we understand that it is a complete and radical turning about in the spiritual, ethical sense of the word. It is a turning from Satan to God, from standing in enmity against God to the love of God in Christ, from darkness to light, from sin to righteousness, from corruption to holiness. By nature we are in the power of darkness. And what this means is clear from scripture and all our Reformed confessions. It means that we are so corrupt that we are incapable of doing any good and inclined to all evil, unless we are firstly regenerated by the Spirit of God. It means that we are by nature carnally minded, and stand in enmity against God (Romans 8:5-7). It means that we hate God, and that we hate one another (Titus 3:3; Colossians 1:13). This implies that we are slaves to sin, that we are in bondage to sin, with no right in our selves to be delivered from sin. It means that we must sin, not by any outward compulsion, but by the inward impulse of our wicked heart and mind. We are chained to sin from within. But when God converts the sinner, he is turned away from all this, in order to turn to the living God. His hatred of God is turned into love. His darkness to light. His love of iniquity into a love for God’s precepts. And his members, which he yielded as instruments of unrighteousness, he now yields as instruments of righteousness to God. From this it will be evident that our conversion has two aspects. The one is called the mortification of the old man, described in the Heidelberg Catechism as, “a sincere sorrow of heart, that we have provoked God by our sins; and more and more to hate and flee from them”. The second, is called the quickening of the new man, which is described in the same deeply spiritual way by saying that, “it is a sincere joy of heart in God, through Christ, and with love and delight to live according to the will of God in all good works.”

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