January 8, 2019 by directorfsm
John Owen – January 8th 2019
Chapter 1, Section 5 continued
c. To “mortify”
“If ye do mortify” (or “put to death”) is a metaphorical expression taken from the putting of any living thing to death. To kill a man or any other living thing is to take away the principle of all his strength, vigor, and power, so that he cannot act, exert, or put forth any proper actings(14) of his own. So it is in this case. Indwelling sin is compared to a living person called “the old man,” with his faculties and properties, his wisdom, craft, subtlety, and strength. This, says the apostle, must be killed, put to death, mortified—that is, have its power, life, vigor, and strength to produce its effects taken away by the Spirit. It is indeed meritoriously and by way of example utterly mortified and slain by the cross of Christ. Therefore, the “old man” is said to be “crucified with” Christ (Rom 6:6), and ourselves to be “dead” with Him (6:8). And it is really mortified initially in regeneration,(15) when a principle contrary to it and destructive of it is planted in our hearts (Rom 6:3-5; Gal 5:17). But the whole work is by degrees to be carried on towards perfection all our days. We will say more about this in the process of our discourse. The intention of the apostle in this prescription of the duty mentioned is that the mortification of indwelling sin remaining in our mortal bodies is the constant duty of believers, so that it may not have life and power to bring forth the works or deeds of the flesh.
d. “Ye shall live”
The promise joined to this duty is life: “Ye shall live.” The life promised is opposed to the death threatened in the previous clause, “If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die”—which the same apostle expresses as “he…shall of the flesh reap corruption” (Gal 6:8), or destruction from God. Now, perhaps the word may not only intend eternal life but also spiritual life in Christ that we have here in this life; not as to the essence and being of it, which is already enjoyed by believers, but as to the joy, comfort, and vigor of it. This is as the apostle says in an-other case: “Now we live, if ye stand fast” (1Th 3:8)—that is, now my life will do me good; I shall have joy and comfort with my life. “Ye shall live”—that is, you shall lead a good, vigorous, comfortable, spiritual life while you are here, and obtain eternal life hereafter.
Supposing what was said before of the connection between mortification and eternal life, as of means and end, I shall add—as a second motive to the duty prescribed—only that the vigor, power, and comfort of our spiritual life depends on the mortification of the deeds of the flesh.