Daily Devotional – Mortification of Sin

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January 7, 2019 by directorfsm

John Owen – January 7th

chapel@mountzion.org www.ChapelLibrary.org

Chapter 1 Continued:

5. “Mortify the Deeds of the Body”

The duty itself, “Mortify the deeds of the body,” is to be considered next. Three things are here to be inquired into: a) What is meant by “the body”; b) What is meant by “the deeds of the body”; c) What is meant by the mortifying of them.

a. “The body”

The “body” in the close of the verse is the same with the “flesh” in the beginning: “If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye…mortify the deeds of the body,” that is, the flesh. It is that which the apostle has all along meant by the “flesh,” which is evident from his focus on the contrast between the Spirit and the flesh, before and after. The body, then, is taken here for that corruption and depravity of our natures whereof the body, in a great part, is the seat and instrument—the very members of the body being made servants unto unrighteousness by such corruption (Rom 6:19). It is indwelling sin, the corrupted flesh or lust, that is intended. Many reasons might be given for this metonymical expression, (9)  which I shall not now insist on. The “body” here is the same as the “old man” and the “body of sin” (Rom 6:6); or it may synecdochically (10) express the whole person considered as corrupted, and the seat of lusts and distempered affections. (11)

b. “The deeds of the body”

The Greek word for “deeds of the body” is praxeis, which indeed denotes chiefly the outward actions, “the works of the flesh,” as they are called in Galatians 5:19; which are there said to be “manifest,” and are enumerated. Now, though the outward deeds alone are here expressed, yet the inward and next(12) causes are chiefly intended. The axe is to be “laid to the root of the trees” (Mat 3:10). The deeds of the flesh are to be mortified in their causes from which they spring. The apostle calls them “deeds” as that which every lust tends toward. Though it does but conceive and prove abortive, it aims to bring forth a perfect sin.

Both in the seventh chapter and in the beginning of this chapter the apostle has treated of indwelling lust and sin as the fountain and principle of all sinful actions. Having done so, he here mentions its destruction under the name of the effects that it produces. “The deeds of the body” are the “wisdom of the flesh” as much as the “carnal13 mind” (Rom 8:6), by a metonymy of the same nature with the former; or as the “affections [that is, passions] and lusts” of the flesh (Gal 5:24), whence the deeds and fruits of it do arise. “The body” is used in this sense in Romans 8:10, “The body is dead because of sin.”

(9) metonymical expression or metonymy – figure of speech that uses the name of one thing for that of anoth-er with which it is associated, as in the use of “Washington” for the U.S. Government
(10) synecdochically – pertaining to a figure of speech in which a part is made to represent the whole or the whole for a part, as in “Cleveland won by six runs,” meaning “Cleveland’s baseball team won by six home runs.”
(11) distempered affections – powers in the human soul that work with the body to embrace good and reject evil, which have been diseased and disordered by sin.
(12) next – nearest.


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