For The Truth

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Killing the Old Man

The theme of this month’s Tabletalk from Ligonier Ministries is the mortification of sin. This is a key component in sanctification, as Burk Parsons reminds us in the opening article “A Matter of Life and Death”.

The following is excerpted from brother Parsons’ work:

The Christian marketplace is filled with T-shirts, tracts, and trinkets that speak of how to have the ideal Christian life. Every year, Christians spend millions of dollars on self-help books and “how-to” guides for living an abundant life. For the most part, Christians are told that if they want to be really great Christians they simply need to follow a few easy steps.

In truth, every Christian, who has not been seduced by the superficial tactics and magical pixie dust of childish Christian gurus from evangelical Neverland, knows full well that there is more to living the Christian life than reading the latest Christian self-help book. It is somewhat ironic that one of the greatest books ever written on Christian living is John Owen’s classic The Mortification of Sin, a book dealing with the Christian’s death to self . . .

The thesis of Owen’s book is founded upon the apostle Paul’s admonition to mortify the flesh: “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live” (Rom. 8:13 KJV).

Parsons goes on to note that the path of life is not found in the manner that would seem likely to finite creatures bound in flesh; life is found in death (just as victory is found in surrender). It's not about having our best life now, but about yielding our life to Christ and finding all our satisfaction in Him. It is here that we find abundant life and victory over the fleshly desires that assail us.

He states further:

What makes us different from the watching world of sinners is not that we don’t sin but that we hate our sin, repent of our sin, and earnestly seek to mortify our sin that has been taken to the cross and placed upon our Savior who atoned for our sin—and all this for the glory of God. . . . we only grow as we become more and more convinced of God’s holiness and the absence of true holiness in our own lives . . .

As we begin this new year, let us lay to rest the sinful desires that afflict our flesh and be adorned with holiness that we may glorify our Lord and Savior. Amen.


  • Thank you for the post. I am convinced that the sad state of American Christianity is largely due to the fact that American Christians simply do not know the Bible. Too often we base our theology and doctine on t-shirt slogans, Chicken Soup for the Soul, or the teachings of people like Joel Osteen and Rick Warren. We allow these non-Biblical works to affect the way that we see the scriptures, rather than allowing the scriptures to be the standard by which all others are judged.

    By Anonymous Patrick H., at 11:23 AM  

  • Thank you for this post. It is a great reminder of our purpose as Christians... and we all want to be "Purpose Driven"...Right?

    American Christianity is so weak because Christians in the US don't know the Bible. We are quick to formulate our doctrine and theology based on t-shirt slogans, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and on the writings of people like Rick Warren and Joel Osteen. We judge scripture based upon these non-Biblical works; instead of judging all things on the basis of scripture. We asume that if Joel says it, it must be true.

    We have a great need for discernment in this country because we have numerous false prophets spreading lies and becoming rich off of the gospel. But unfortunately so many "Christians" aren't doing anything about it. The difficult part of all of this is that if we want discernment, we need to know (and live by) the Scriptures. This should be our prayer.

    By Anonymous Patrick H., at 3:48 PM  

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