Galatians 5:24

I. THE GRACES OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE GROW OUT OF THE INDWELLING OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD. Neither of the two rival theories of Greek philosophers - that virtue comes by practice and that it is taught by instruction - would commend itself to St. Paul. Nor would he agree with Plato that it arises in the intuitive recollection of innate ideas, nor with Aristotle that it is the result of habits. Neither would he permit the modern separation of religion from morals. Morals need the inspiration of religion. Religion when truly alive must control conduct. The first great essential is for our spirit to be possessed by the Spirit of Christ through faith in him. Then Christian graces will appear as fruits of the Spirit. We must begin within. We cannot produce fruits by manipulating the outside of a dead stump. Life is the one essential, and from life within grows fruit without. Only internal spiritual life can produce external Christian graces.

II. NEVERTHELESS, THE CHRISTIAN GRACES NEED TO BE DIRECTLY CULTIVATED. Although the tree produces the fruit from its own life, the branches must be pruned and trained and the fruit sheltered from cold and protected from vermin and wild birds. It is not enough to think only of the inmost sources of a holy life. We must watch the course of it and guide it aright throughout. Christian ethic is an important branch of religious instruction, and is not to be ignored as unimportant because it is only serviceable in subordination to the cultivation of the inner spiritual life.

III. THE CHRISTIAN GRACES HAVE SPECIAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THEIR OWN. Such a list as is here given by St. Paul has a character of its own. Some of its constituent parts might be found in a heathen moralist; perhaps all of them; for there is a common conscience in all mankind. But the selection as a whole and the form and character of it are foreign to the atmosphere of paganism. The one significant fact about it is that it is a portrait of Christ. Christianity is putting on Christ. He is our great Exemplar. Our true life is walking in his footsteps. In particular note:

1. Attention is directed to internal principles rather than to external rules of conduct. St. Paul cared little for casuistry.

2. Emphasis is laid on the gentler graces. Pagan ethics treat chiefly of masculine virtues. Christian ethics add what are commonly called the feminine. Yet there is nothing unmanly in the gentleness of true nobility of character thus revealed.

3. Charity and its fruits receive the principal place in the list.

IV. THE PARTICULAR GRACES IN THE LIST GIVEN BY ST. PAUL ARE WORTHY OF SEPARATE CONSIDERATION,

1. Three graces of general disposition:

(1) love, the root of all joy;

(2) the special joy of self-sacrificing love; and

(3) peace, attained later, but more constant when attained.

2. Three graces in our conduct with others:

(1) passive long-suffering;

(2) kindness, which wishes well to others; and

(3) beneficence, which does it.

3. three more general graces:

(1) fidelity, not made necessary by general kindness;

(2) meekness when opposed by the evil in other men;

(3) self-control in keeping under the evil in ourselves. "Against such." says St. Paul, with a touch of humor, "There is no law." - W.F.A.







And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
Thus those that are Christ's are occasionally characterized as born of the Spirit; walking in the Spirit; the children of God; the elect of God; the doers of the law; the heirs of the kingdom of heaven. Those that are not Christ's are described as walking in the flesh; fulfilling the lusts of the flesh; the children of this world; the unfruitful hearers of the law; the servants of Satan; the heirs of damnation. Let me now endeavour to assist you in judging whether you are living to Christ, or to the flesh, by setting before you some of the scriptural tests, which distinguish from a corrupt and unregenerate world those who belong to the Lord Jesus.

I. To crucify the flesh with its affections and lusts, is, in the first place, to make it the business of life to overcome, through the ever present grace of God, the evil dispositions and desires of human nature; and to abstain from the evil actions to which those dispositions and desires would lead. And on what principle are you thus to crucify the flesh? You are to crucify it for the sake of Jesus Christ. You are to abhor and renounce sin because it was the occasion of His sufferings. From love and gratitude to your Redeemer for the unspeakable kindness which He has shown towards yourself, you are to forsake whatever is displeasing in His sight.

II. Have you therefore resolved, through the grace of God, to renounce the indulgence of sinful inclinations and practices? Have you thus taken the first step towards living unto Christ? What then is the second? "Cease to do evil" saith the prophet. What is his next injunction? "Learn to do well."

III. The characteristics which have hitherto been proposed as tests, by which you may be assisted in forming a judgment whether at present you belong to Christ, have principally been deduced from your proceedings as to the government of unhallowed inclinations and desires, and from your tempers and conduct as exercised towards man. Not that the frame of your heart towards God has been thrown into the background. Love to God through Christ has been assumed as the basis of self-government, and of love to man. From that root must spring every ramification of duty. The disposition, however, of your soul as to subjects more immediately and closely spiritual than those which have been specified is the least dubitable of all the tokens to which you can resort for insight into your actual state. Does the current of your thoughts, when, unchecked by impediments, it selects a course for itself, flow towards God and your Redeemer?

IV. Direct your attention to the objects, which, when the affection of the Apostle Paul for his converts expatiated in calling down blessings upon them, uniformly presented themselves to his thoughts (Ephesians 1:16-18; Ephesians 3:16-19; Philippians 1:9-11; Colossians 1:9-11).

1. If you are not Christ's, what are your hopes? Do you flatter yourself that the Scriptures may prove not to be the word of inspiration? Or do you assume the promises of God as true, and regard His threatenings as empty terrors? Or do you think that Christ, when He comes, will make you an exception to the general rule, and distinguish you by unexampled mercy in spite of your disobedience? Behold the thin and hollow ice on which you propose to cross the gulf of everlasting destruction!

2. If you are already a true Christian; foster the good seed sown in your heart, that the Divine planter may preserve it from being overwhelmed by surrounding tares, and may nourish it unto timely and plentiful maturity. Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(Thomas Gisborne.)

Men who believe in Jesus become purer, holier, better. They are saved from living as they used to live — saved from licentiousness, dishonesty, drunkenness, selfishness, and any other sin they may have lived in. They are different men. There is a change in their heart and soul, conduct and conversation.

I. THE RECEPTION OF JESUS CHRIST BY FAITH IS, IN ITSELF, AN AVOWAL THAT WE HAVE CRUCIFIED THE FLESH, WITH THE AFFECTIONS AND LUSTS. Christ died in our room and stead. By faith we regard ourselves as dead with Him.

II. AS A MATTER OF FACT, THE RECEPTION OF CHRIST IS ATTENDED WITH THE CRUCIFIXION OF SIN. Every truly converted man is a proof of this.

III. THE RECEPTION OF JESUS CHRIST INTO THE HEART BY SIMPLE FAITH IS CALCULATED TO CRUCIFY THE FLESH.

1. The believer has seen the evil of sin. It is a deicide — a killing of God.

2. He has seen in the death of Christ an amazing instance of the great grace of God.

3. He has had a view of the justice of God.

4. He has seen the amazing love of Jesus. How, then, can he go on grieving and offending Him?

IV. THE HOLY SPIRIT IS WITH THE GOSPEL, AND WHERE HE IS HOLINESS MUST BE PROMOTED. Wherever Jesus Christ is preached, there is present One sublime in rank and high in degree — the ever-blessed Spirit of God. He takes of the things of Christ, and shows them unto men. His power changes the current of men's desires, making them crucify the flesh and its affections, and love things holy, just, and true.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

When I believed that Jesus was the Christ, and rested my soul in Him, I felt in my heart from that moment an intense hatred to sin of every kind. I had loved sin before, some sins particularly, but those sins became from that moment the most obnoxious to me, and, though the propensity to them was still there, yet the love of them was clean gone; and when I at any time transgressed I felt an inward grief and horror at myself for doing the things which aforetime I had allowed and even enjoyed. My relish for sin was gone. The things I once loved I abhorred and blushed to think of. Then I began to search out my sins. I see now a parallel between my experience in reference to sin, and the details of the crucifixion of Christ. They sent Judas into the garden to search for our great Substitute, and just in that way I began to search for sin, even for that which lay concealed amid the thick darkness of my soul. I was ignorant, and did not know sin to be sin, for it was night in my soul; but, being stirred up to destroy the evil, my repenting spirit borrowed lanterns and torches, and went out as against a thief. I searched the garden of my heart through and through, with an intense ardour to find out every sin; and I brought God to help me, saying, "Search me, O God, and try me, and know my ways;" nor did I cease till I had spied out my secret transgressions. This inward search is one of my most constant occupations; I patrol my nature through and through to try and arrest these felons, these abhorred sins, that they may be crucified with Christ. O ye in whom iniquity lurks under cover of your spiritual ignorance, arouse yourselves to a strict scrutiny of your nature, and no longer endure that your hearts should be the lurking-places of evil. I remember when I found my sin. When I found it I seized it, and I dragged it off to the judgment-seat. Ah, my brethren, you know when that occurred to you, and how stern was the judgment which conscience gave forth. I sat in judgment on myself. I took my sin to one court, and to another. I looked at it as before men, and trembled to think that the badness of my example might have ruined other men's souls. I looked at my sin as before God, and I abhorred myself in dust and ashes. My sin was as red as crimson in His sight and in mine also. I judged my sin and I condemned it — condemned it as a felon to a felon's death. I heard a voice within me which, Pilate-like, pleaded for it "I will chastise him and let him go; let it be a little put to shame; let not the wrong deed be done quite so often; let the lust be curbed and kept under." But, ah, my soul said, "Let it be crucified! Let it be crucified!" and nothing could shake my heart from this intent, that I would slay all the murderers of Christ if possible, and let not one of them escape; for my soul hated them with a deadly hatred, and would fain nail them all to the tree. I remember, too, how I began to see the shame of sin. As my Lord was spitted upon, and mocked, and despitefully used, so did my soul begin to pour contempt upon all the pride of sin, to scorn its promises of pleasure, and to accuse it of a thousand crimes. It had deceived me, it had led me into ruin, it had well-nigh destroyed me; and I despised it, and poured contempt upon its briberies, and all it offered of sweetness and of pleasure. O sin, how shameful a thing didst thou appear to be! I saw all that is base, mean, and contemptible, concentrated in thee. My heart scourged sin by repentance, smote it with rebukes, and buffeted it with self-denials. Then was it made a reproach and a scorn. But this sufficed not — sin must die. My heart mourned for what sin had done, and I was resolved to avenge my Lord's death upon myself. So I led forth my sins to the place of crucifixion. They would fain have escaped, but the power of God prevented them, and like a guard of soldiery, conducted them to the gibbet of mortification. The hand of the Lord was present, and His all-revealing spirit stripped my sin as Christ was stripped; setting it before mine eyes, even my secret sin in the light of His countenance. Oh, what a spectacle it was as I gazed upon it! I had looked before upon its dainty apparel, and the colours with which it had bedizened itself, to make it look as fair as Jezebel when she painted her face; but now I saw its nakedness and horror, and I was well-nigh ready to despair; but my spirit bore me up, for I knew that I was forgiven, and I said, "Christ Jesus has pardoned me, for I have believed in Him; and I will put the flesh to death, by crucifying it on His Cross." The driving of the nails I do remember, and how the flesh struggled to maintain its liberty. One, two, three, four, the nails went in, and fastened the accursed thing to the wood with Christ, so that it could neither run nor rule; and now, glory be to God, though my sin is not dead, it is crucified, and must eventually die. It hangs up there; I can see it bleeding out its life. Sometimes it struggles to get down, and tries to wrench away the nails, for it would fain go after vanity; but the sacred nails hold it too fast, it is in the grasp of death, and it cannot escape. Alas, it dies a lingering death, attended with much pain and struggling: still it dies, and soon its heart shall be pierced through with the spear of the love of Christ, and it shall utterly expire.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

1. What is meant by being Christ's? To be Christ's is to accept of and have an interest in Christ, as He is offered and proposed in the gospel. Now Christ is offered and held forth to every particular person that expects to be saved by Him under three offices —

(1)His prophetical;

(2)His kingly; and

(3)His sacredotal.

2. In the next place we are to see what is meant by "the flesh, and the affections and lusts." In the meantime by flesh we are to understand the whole entire body of sin and corruption, that inbred proneness in our nature to all evil, in one word expressed by "concupiscence," usually called by the schoolmen "fomes"; that fuel or combustible matter in the soul, that is apt to be fired by every temptation; the womb that conceives and brings forth all actual impurities, styled in the next words, "affections and lusts."

I. To show WHY THIS VITIOSITY AND CORRUPT HABIT OF NATURE COMES TO HAVE THIS DENOMINATION OF "FLESH."

1. Because of its situation and place, which is principally in the flesh. Here it is placed, here it is enthroned. Concupiscence itself follows the crasis and temperature of the body; as we know the liquor for the present receives the figure of the vessel into which it is infused.

2. The vitiosity of our nature is called "flesh," because of its close, inseparable nearness to the soul. There is an intimate conjunction and union between the soul and sin; and the intimacy o! their coherence is the cause of the intimacy of their friendship. The nearness between these two, our soul and our corruption, is so great, that it arises to a kind of identity; hence to deny and conquer our sin is, in Scripture language, to deny ourselves, implying that sin adheres so dose to us, that it is a kind of second self.

3. A third reason why the vitiosity of our nature is called "flesh" is because of its dearness to us. And this founded upon the former, for vicinity is one cause of love. Now there is nothing that we prosecute with a more affectionate tenderness than our flesh; for, as the apostle says (Ephesians 5:29), "No mail ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it." Nay, take a survey of all the arts, the trades, and the most prized inventions in the world, and you will find ten to four found out and employed either to please or adorn the flesh. It is for this that the artificer labours and the merchant ventures; and we compass sea and land ten times oftener to make a gallant than to make a proselyte. Justly therefore upon this account also does the Spirit express our sin by the name of "flesh," for this has an equal share in our love.Now what has been hitherto discoursed of may, by way of inference, suggest these things to our consideration.

1. The deplorable estate of fallen man, whose condition is now such that he carries his plague about him, and wears it something nearer to him than his shirt; that he encloses a viper in his bowels, feeds and maintains, and is passionately fond of his mortal enemy; and what is the greatest misery of all, has it not in his power to be otherwise. He has a body that is not so much the instrument, or servant, as the dungeon of his soul: and sin holds him by such bonds of pleasure so strong, so suitable to his perverted and diseased inclinations, that his ruin is presented to him as his interest, and nothing gratifies, delights, or wins upon him, but that which dishonours his Maker, and certainly destroys himself.

2. The next thing offered from hence to cur thoughts is the great difficulty of the duty of mortification. This is a greater work than men are aware of. It is indeed the killing of an enemy, but of such an enemy as a man thinks his friend, and loves as his child; and-how hard it is to put the knife to the throat of an Isaac is easily imaginable. What! part with that that came into the world with me, and has ever since lived and conversed with me, that continually lies down and rises up with me, that has even incorporated itself into my nature, seized all my appetites, and possessed all my faculties, so that it is the centre and principle of all my pleasures, and that which gives a relish and a quickness to every object! This is a hard saying, and a harder undertaking. He must be a good orator that should persuade a man to stick daggers and needles in his flesh, to strip, his bones, and in a manner to tear his nature over his eyes; yet to mortify a sin is something like it. But alas! it would go near to nonplus the most artificial persuader, to bring a man to part with the covering of his body; but how much more with the vestment of his soul!

3. In the third and last place, this declares to us the mean and sordid employment of every sinner. He serves the flesh, that is, he is a drudge and a scavanger to the most inferior part of his nature.

II. WHAT IS IMPORTED BY THE CRUCIFIXION OF THE FLESH.

1. The reason of the use of the term here. It is used by way of allusion to Christ, of whose behaviour and sufferings every Christian is to be a living copy and representation. Christ will have His death an example to excite, as well as a sacrifice to save; and there is no passage in His life and death but is intended for our instruction, as well as our salvation.

2. The full force and significance of it. Crucifying therefore, as it is here applied to the corruption and depraved sinful disposition of our nature, imports these four things —(1) The death of it. The cross is the instrument of death, and to crucify is to kill. A few interrupted assaults and combats with a man's corruption will not suffice. He that will crucify his sin must pursue it to the very death.(2) As it implies death, so it further imports a violent death. Sin never dies of age. It is as when a young man dies in the full fire and strength of his youth, by some vehement distemper; it as it were tears, and forces, and fires his soul out of his body. Never think to dispossess him by a bare summons, or imagine that a man can recover the mastery of his heart and his affections by a few prayers and broken humiliations. The conquest had need be glorious, for it will be found by sharp experience that the combat will be dangerous.(3) To crucify the flesh with the affections of it imports a painful, bitter, and vexatious death. Let us but reflect upon our Saviour. He was nailed to the tree, and that through those parts which were most apprehensive of pain, the hands and the feet; which members, by reason of the concurrence of the nerves and sinews there, must needs be of quickest sense. Thus He hung, in the extremity of torture, till, through the insupportable pressures of pain, He at length gave up the ghost. So the mortification of sin is to be so general and diffused as not only to fix upon the bulk and body of sin, but to stretch the inquisition to even the least desire, the most lurking and secret affection, for assuredly there is some. thing more than ordinary implied in this expression of "crucifying sin;" it cannot but import the most rugged, cruel, and remorseless dealing with it that is imaginable. And however men are nice and favourable to their corruption, yet did they consider what endless pains, what unspeakable torments, their corrupt affections and lusts prepare for them, even self-love could not but be religion enough to make them prevent such miseries, by first inflicting them upon the author.(4) In the fourth and last place, crucifixion denotes a shameful and a cursed death; it is such a one as was marked out and signalized with a peculiar malediction, even of old, by God Himself (Deuteronomy 21:23). Thus, therefore, must the corruption and vitiosity of our nature be dealt with. God has doomed it to death without the benefit of so much as dying honourably.

3. The means for enabling us to perform this duty. Two I shall mention as conducible to this crucifixion of the flesh, with its affections and lusts.(1) The first is a constant and pertinacious denying them in all their cravings for satisfaction. Defraudation of the appetites of sin weakens the whole body of sin and themselves also; as on the other side all satisfaction corroborates and inflames them.(2) The other means to crucify a corrupt affection is to encounter it by actions of the opposite virtue. This differs from the former thus, that that was only the denying of fuel to a fire, but this a pouring of water upon it, and so vanquishing it by the prevalence of a contrary element.

(R. South, D. D.)

Here is what St. Paul says to these Galatians. You all profess yourselves to be members of Christ, to be followers of Him; but how incongruous are these practices to such a profession? Is this the fruit of the dove-like spirit of Christ?

1. The subject of the proposition, they that are Christ's, viz., true Christians, real members of Christ; such as truly belong to Christ, such as have given themselves up to be governed by Him, and are, indeed, acted by His spirit; such, all such persons (for the indefinite is equipollent to an universal), all such, and none but such.

2. The predicate; they have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts. But he chooses in this place to call it crucifixion, to show, not only the conformity there is betwixt the death of Christ and the death of sin, in respect of shame, pain, and lingering slowness, but to denote also the principle, means, and instrument of mortification, viz., the death, or cross of Jesus Christ, in the virtue whereof believers do mortify the corruptions of their flesh, the great arguments and persuasives to mortification being drawn from the sufferings of Christ for sin. The observation followeth: That a saving interest in Christ may be regularly and strongly inferred and concluded from the mortification of the flesh, with its affections and lusts.

I. WHAT THE MORTIFICATION, OR CRUCIFIXION OF SIN, IMPORTS. And for clearness sake I shall speak to it, both negatively and positively, showing you what is not intended, and what is principally aimed at, by the Spirit of God in this expression.

1. Negatively.(1) The crucifying of the flesh doth not imply the total abolition of sin in believers, or the destruction of its very being and existence in them, for the present. Sanctified souls so put off their corruptions with their bodies at death. This will be the effect of our future glorification, not of our present sanctification. —(2) Nor doth the crucifixion of sin consist in the suppression of the external acts of sin only, for sin may reign over the souls of men whilst it doth not break forth into their lives in gross and open actions (2 Peter 2:20; Matthew 12:43).(3) The crucifixion of the flesh does not consist in the cessation of the external acts of sin, for, in that respect the lusts of men may die of their own accord, even a kind of natural death.(4) It does not consist in the severe castigation of the body, and penancing it by stripes, lastings, and pilgrimages.

2. Positively.(1) It implies the soul's implantation into Christ, and union with Him.(2) It implies the agency of the Spirit of God in that work, without whose assistances and aids all our endeavours must needs be fruitless.(3) The crucifixion of sin necessarily implies the subversion of its dominion in the soul.(4) A gradual weakening of the power of sin in the soul.(5) The crucifying of the flesh denotes to us the believer's designed application of all spiritual means, and sanctified instruments, for the destruction of it.

II. WHY THIS WORK OF THE SPIRIT IS EXPRESSED BY CRUCIFYING,

1. The death of the cross was a painful death, and the mortification of sin is very painful work (Matthew 25:29).

2. The death of the cross was universally painful. Every member, every sense, every sinew, every nerve was the seat and subject of tormenting pain. So is it in the mortification of sin. 'Tis not this or that particular member or act, but the whole body of sin that is to be destroyed (Romans 6:6).

3. The death of the cross was a slow and lingering death, denying unto them that suffered it, the favour of a quick dispatch. Just so it is in the death of sin, though the Spirit of God be mortifying it day by day.

4. The death of the cross was a very opprobrious and shameful death. They that died upon the cross were loaded with ignominy. The crimes for which they died were exposed to the public view. After this manner dieth sin, a very shameful and ignominious death. Every true believer draws up a charge against it in every prayer, aggravates and condemns it in every confession, bewails the evil of it with multitudes of tears and groans, making sin as vile and odious as they can find words to express it, though not so vile as it is in its own nature.

5. In a word, the death of the cross was not a natural, but a violent, death. Such also is the death of sin. Sin dies not of its own accord, as Nature dieth in old men, in whom the balsamum radicale, or radical moisture, is consumed, for if the Spirit of God did not kill it, it would live to eternity in the souls of men.

III. WHY ALL THAT ARE IN CHRIST MUST BE SO CRUCIFIED OR MORTIFIED UNTO SIN.

1. From the inconsistency and contrariety that there is betwixt Christ and unmortified lust (Galatians 5:17).

2. The necessity of mortification appears, from the necessity of conformity betwixt Christ the head and all the members of His mystical body, for how incongruous and uncomely would it be to see a holy, heavenly Christ leading a company of unclean, carnal, and sensual members? (Matthew 11:29). "Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly."

3. The necesity of crucifying the flesh appears from the method of salvation, as it is stated in the gospel.

4. The whole stream and current of the gospel puts us under the necessity of mortification. Gospel-precepts have respect unto this (Colossians 3:5; 1 Peter 1:15). Gospel-presidents have respect unto this (Hebrews 12:1). Gospel-threatenings are written for this end, and do all press mortification in a thundering dialect (Romans 8., 13; 1:18). The promises of the gospel are written designedly to promote it (2 Corinthians 7:1). But in vain are all these precepts, presidents, threatenings, and promises written in the Scripture, except mortification be the daily study and practice of professors.

5. Mortification is the very scope and aim of our regeneration, and the infusion of the principles of grace (Galatians 5:25). In vain were the habits of grace planted if the fruits of holiness and mortification be not produced; yea, mortification is not only the design and aim, but it is a special part, even the one-half of our sanctification.

6. If mortification be not the daily practice and endeavour of believers, then the way to heaven no way answers to Christ's description of it in the gospel.

IV. In the next place we are to INQUIRE INTO THE TRUE PRINCIPLE OF MORTIFICATION. 'Tis true there are many ways attempted by men for the mortification of sin, and many rules laid down to guide men in that great work, some of which are very trifling and impertinent things. But I shall lay down this as a sure conclusion that the sanctifying Spirit is the only effectual principle of mortification, and without Him no resolutions, vows, abstinences, castigations of the body, or any other external endeavours can ever avail to the mortification of one sin. This work of mortification is peculiar to the Spirit of God (Romans 8:13; Galatians 5:17), and the Spirit becomes a principle of mortification in believers two ways, namely —

1. By the implantation of contrary habits.

2. By assisting those implanted habits in all the times of need.

V. The last query to be satisfied is, HOW MORTIFICATION OF SIN SOLIDLY EVINCETH THE SOUL'S INTEREST IN CHRIST; and this it doth divers ways, affording the mortified soul many sound evidences thereof. As evidence —

1. Whatsoever evidences the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God in us must needs be evidential of a saving interest in Christ, as hath been fully proved before; but the mortification doth plainly evidence the indwelling of the Spirit of God, for it can proceed from no other principle.

2. That which proves a soul to be under the covenant of grace evidently proves its interest in Christ, for Christ is the head of that covenant, and none but sound believers are under the blessings and promises of it. But mortification of sin is a sound evidence of the soul's being under the covenant of grace, as is plain from those words of the apostle in Romans 6:12-14.

3. That which is the fruit and evidence of saving faith must needs be a good evidence of our interest in Christ, but mortification of sin is the fruit and evidence of saving faith (Acts 15:9; 1 John 5:4).

4. In a word, there is an intimate and indissoluble connection betwixt the mortification of sin and the life of grace (Romans 6:11). And the life of Christ must needs involve a saving interest in Christ.Application:

1. For information.(1) If they that be Christ's have crucified the flesh, then the life of Christians is no idle or easy life. The corruptions of the heart will continually fill the hands with work of the most difficult nature.(2) If mortification be the great work of a Christian, then certainly those that give the corruptions of Christians an occasion to revive must needs do them a very ill office. They are not our best friends who stir the pride of our hearts by" the flattery of their lips.(3) Manifold and successive afflictions are no more than what is necessary for the best of Christians. The mortification of our lusts requires them all, be they never so many.(4) How deeply hath sin fixed its roots in our corrupt nature that it should be the constant work of a Christian's whole life to mortify and destroy it.

2. For exhortation.(1) The comfort and sweetness resulting from mortification should effectually persuade every believer to more diligence about it.(2) As your comfort depends upon this, so does your fitness for the service of God,(3) Your stability and safety in the hour of temptation depends upon the success of your mortifying endeavours.(4) As temptations will be irresistible, so afflictions will be unsupportable to you without mortification.(5) The reputation and honour of religion is deeply concerned in the mortification of the professors of it, for unmortified professors will, first or last, be the scandals and reproaches of it.(6) What hard work will you have in your dying hour, except you get a heart mortified to this world and all that is in it? Your parting hour is like to be a dreadful hour without the help of mortification. Your corruptions, like glue, fasten your affections to the world, and how hard will it be for such a man to be separated by death. O what a bitter and doleful parting have carnal hearts from carnal things I whereas the mortified soul can receive the messengers of death without trouble, and as cheerfully put off the body at death as a man doth his clothes at night. Death need not pull and hale; such a man goes half-way to meet it (Philippians 1:23).

3. For direction.(1) If ever you will succeed and prosper in the work of mortification, then get and daily exercise more faith. Faith is the great instrument of mortification.(2) Walk in daily communion With God if ever you will mortify the corruptions of nature. That is the apostle's own prescription (Galatians 5:16).(3) Keep your consciences under the awe and in the fear of God continually, as ever you hope to be successful in the mortification of sin. The fear of God is the great preservative from sin, without which all the external rules and helps in the world signify nothing.(4) Study the vanity of the creature, and labour to get true notions of the emptiness and transitoriness thereof.(5) Be careful to eat off all the occasions of sin, and keep at the greatest, distance from temptation.(6) Never engage against the Corruptions of your nature in your own single strength. Seek God's assistance; then you will succeed, and then only.(7) Set in with the mortifying design of God in the day of -thine affliction; sanctified afflictions are ordered and prescribed in heaven for the purging of our corruptions (Isaiah 27:9).(8) Bend the strength of your duties and endeavours against your proper and special sin. 'Tis in vain to lop off branches while the root of bitterness remains untouched.(9) Study the nature and great importance of those things which are to be won or lost according to the success and issue of this conflict. Your life is as a race, eternal glory is the prize; grace and corruption are the antagonists, and, accordingly as either finally prevails, eternal life is won or lost (1 Corinthians 9:24).(10) Accustom your thoughts to such meditations as are proper to mortify sin in your affections, else all endeavours to mortify it will be but faint and languid.(i.) Consider the evil that is in sin, and how terrible the appearances of God will one day be against those that obey it in the lust thereof (Romans 1:18; 1 Thessalonians 1:7-9).(ii.) Think what it cost the Lord Jesus Christ to expiate the guilt of sin by the suffering the wrath of the great and terrible God for it in our room. The meditations of a crucified Christ are very crucifying meditations unto sin (Galatians 6:14).(iii.) Consider what a grief and wound the sins of believers are to the Spirit of God (Ephesians 4:30).(iv.) Consider with yourselves that no real good, either of profit or pleasure, can result from sin. If they do repent, the pleasure of sin will be turned into the gall of asps here; if they do not repent, it will terminate in everlasting howlings hereafter. That's a smart question, Romans 6:21.(v.) Consider what the damned suffer for those sins which the devil now tempteth you to commit.(vi.) Bethink yourselves what inexcusable hypocrisy it will be in you to indulge yourselves in the private satisfaction of your lusts under a contrary profession of religion. You are a people that profess holiness, and professedly own yourselves to be under the government and dominion of Christ. And must the worthy name of Christ be only used to cloak and cover your lusts and corruptions, which are so hateful to Him? God forbid.(vii.) Consider with yourselves what hard things some Christians have chosen to endure and suffer, rather than they would defile themselves with guilt; and shall every small temptation ensnare and take your souls?

(Bishop Hacker.)

I. WHAT IS IT TO BE "OF CHRIST JESUS"?

1. We must become His in His own way — the way which He appointed when He left the world, and commanded that all nations were to become His disciples by being baptized into the name of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

2. Those who name the name of Christ are His by profession. This is, as it were, subscribing with our hand unto the Lord, and naming ourselves, or having our name named, in the same breath as the Name of God.

3. It is the living faith of the baptized disciple, which proves him to be a Christian, a member of Christ, not merely by virtue of his baptismal adoption (though that is a gift unspeakably great), not merely because of his profession (though it is an honour to him beyond all words, to be allowed a place in the ranks of the glorious Church as it moves on after the Great Commander), not only this, but a member of Christ, "in word, in manner of life, in love, in faith, in purity" (1 Timothy 4:12).

II. LET US NOT DECEIVE OURSELVES, even as we listen to such "exceeding great and precious promises." They are meant to brace us to action, not to lull us into security. They should not make us say, "All is well with me, for I am Christ's," but should rather set us upon earnestly considering our ways and proving our own selves. And the test is no ideal or visionary one. No, indeed, it is most practical: "have crucified the flesh." It is not merely that the soul flies high, while the body grovels in the dust, intent on earthly things and passing enjoyments. The body also is being fought with, conquered, mortified. I must be ever, says the Christian, putting to death this rebel body which is at enmity with God, ever, by His grace, keeping under my body and bringing it into subjection, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake.

III. IT IS NOT THE DESTRUCTION OF THE BODY we are to aim at, but its purification for the Lord — its consecration, as it were, upon the Cross, to Him who died thereon — its being devoted to God, by means of the conquest of whatever is sinful therein, and through its union, even here, with the glorious Body. "The passions and the lusts thereof." We speak of passion as an active habit; but it is really, as the term implies, a state of suffering; and we know this well enough; for we know, e.g., that he whom we call a passionate man suffers much more himself than those with whom he is angry. Our passions and our lusts then — the lusts and passions of the body — must be crucified, because the body, from our baptism onwards, belongs to Christ crucified, and the lusts which war in our members are ever striving to alienate us from Him. But when we recollect that we are really His — His who actually, and not only in a figure, was put to death in the flesh — we make it our daily aim to imitate Him, at whatever pain and trial to ourselves.

(Canon G. E. Jelf.)

I once heard of two men who, under the influence of liquor, came down one night to where their boat was tied; they wanted to return home, so they got in and began to row. When the grey dawn of morning broke, behold, they had never loosed the mooring line, or raised the anchor. And that's just the way with many who are striving to enter the kingdom of heaven. They cannot believe, because they are tied to this world. Cut the cord! Cut the cord! Set yourselves free from the clogging weight of earthly things, and you will soon go on toward heaven.

(D. L. Moody.)

This suggests the story of the old lady whose daughter's tooth ached. She sent for a doctor. He came and pulled out a pair of big old-fashioned forceps. "The old lady screamed out, "Don't put them things in my daughter's mouth: pull it with your fingers!" That would be nice if it could be done. But hear me. Do you know the terms on which God will carry you through this world and safely to heaven? Lay down those things that are hurting you, and take up those other things that will help you, and you will have His help in time and in eternity.

(Samuel Jones.)

I. WHAT IS TO RE CRUCIFIED?

1. What the "flesh" is may be known by its works (verses 19-21).

2. But it is not the works, but the worker that is to be crucified. From whence, then, do these evils proceed?(1) From the depravity of the heart, says one; which is perfectly true, but somewhat vague, and does not wholly meet the case.(2) From the devil, says another; but while he fosters evil works, he is not the worker.(3) From within, out of the heart, says Christ, out of man's true inmost self. From which we learn that sin must not be referred to defective legislation, pernicious training, the force of evil custom and bad example. But you say, "There are many sins of which I am not guilty:" You need not break all the laws of England to be a law breaker. So one sin evinces the agency of the evil heart.

II. WHAT IS MEANT BY CRUCIFYING IT? In physical crucifixion there are three stages. So in moral.

1. The old Adam is arraigned, found guilty, sentenced, and visited with all the marks of hatred and contempt, But this is not enough (Romans 7:14, 21-24).

2. The old Adam is actually nailed to the cross, and dying — but this is only "being crucified"; the flesh still lives and pleads hard.

3. The old Adam dies. When this stage is reached, a glorious power is acquired over self and sin.

(Luke H. Wiseman, M. A.)

Correspondent with Christ's.

I.PAINFUL.

II.IGNOMINIOUS.

III.LINGERING.

IV.SURELY FATAL.

(J. Hughes.)

I. THE FLESH is generally the old man which regeneration does not kill, that must be treated as an interior enemy, having a spiritual body of sin, that must be pierced through without remorse, and Christian men must use every sacred effort to hasten its death.

II. IT MUST BE DENIED EVERY GRATIFICATION. "If thine enemy thirst, feed him," etc. must not hold good here. "Make no provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof." If it hunger and thirst for old solaces, we must not gratify it. The least favour gives the dying enemy strength; and if it be habitually nourished, it will gather power to wrench its members from the cross, and come down and save itself, to the loss of the soul that was unfaithful to its trust.

III. IT MUST BE AFFLICTED, SMITTEN, AND OPPOSED in its every movement. "Mortify, therefore, your members."

1. The affection that passively waits for the solicitations of sin, always ready to be courted by temptation, must be bound to the cross, that it may weaken and languish and die; more or less slowly, but with a certain decline, sinking towards the torpor and death which the voice of no charmer can awaken.

2. The lusts which actually go out in quest of sinful indulgence must be kept firm to the Cross that they may not seek their prey.

(W. B. Pope, D. D.)

I. THE RECEPTION OF JESUS CHRIST BY FAITH IS, IN ITSELF, AN AVOWAL THAT WE HAVE CRUCIFIED THAT FLESH, etc.

II. AS A MATTER OF FACT THE RECEPTION OF CHRIST IS ATTENDED WITH THE CRUCIFIXION OF SIN.

III. THE RECEPTION OF CHRIST INTO THE HEART BY SIMPLE FAITH IS CALCULATED TO CRUCIFY THE FLESH. The man who has received Christ —

1. Has seen the evil of sin.

2. Has seen the death of Christ. An amazing instance of the grace and justice of God.

3. Has seen the infinite love of Jesus; and, therefore, he has been led to hate, renounce, and pursue sin to the death.

IV. THE HOLY GHOST IS WITH THE GOSPEL, AND WHERE HE IS HOLINESS MUST BE PROMOTED.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Five persons were studying what were the best means to mortify sin; one said, to meditate on death; the second, to meditate on judgment; the third, to meditate on the joys of heaven; the fourth, on the torments of hell: the fifth, on the blood and sufferings of Jesus; and certainly the last is the choicest and strongest motive of all.

(T. Brooks.)

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