January 4, 2019 by directorfsm
2. Connection between True Mortification and Salvation
The first thing occurring in the words as they lie in the entire proposition is the conditional note: “but if.” Conditionals in such propositions may denote either of two things:
a. The uncertainty of the event or thing promised in respect of those to whom the duty is prescribed. And this takes place where the condition is absolutely necessary in order to cause the result, and does not depend on any determinate cause known to him to whom it is prescribed. So we say, “If we live, we will do such a thing.” This cannot be the intention of the conditional expression in this place. It is said about the persons to whom these words are spoken, “There is no condemnation to them” (Rom 8:1).
b. The certainty of the connection between the things spoken of, as we say to a sick man, “If you will take such a potion, or use such a remedy, you will be well.” The thing we solely in-tend to express is the certainty of the connection that is between the potion or remedy and health. And this is the use of it here. The certain connection that is between the mortifying of the deeds of the body and living is intimated in this conditional particle.
Now, since the possible connections of things may be manifold,(7) as cause and effect or means and end, this connection between mortification and life is not properly of cause and effect, for “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ” (Rom 6:23). The connection is rather of means and end. God has appointed this means for attaining that end which He has freely promised. Means, though necessary, have a legitimate subordination to a result that is freely promised. A gift and something in the recipient that causes him to receive it are inconsistent. The intention, then, of this conditional proposition is that there is a certain infallible(8) connection between true mortification and eternal life: if you use this means, you shall obtain that result; if you do mortify, you shall live. The main motive for and enforcement of the duty of mortification lies in this.