What is Mortification?

Romans 8:13 tells us to put sin to death. This is what mortification is and this is the theme of Owen’s book called Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers. Part 1 is an exposition of this one verse.

How many sermons have you heard on mortification? Not many I guess. I don’t think this is a popular topic. We may have heard a lot about victory and even sung about it. “O victory in Jesus!” you know? This is certainly true and praise God for it! Without Christ defeating sin and death on the Cross, we have no hope and we have no redemption.

But we still have this enemy. Because we still live in these mortal bodies, we still battle the remaining sin in us. Many different passages in the New Testament command believers to battle sin.

We are told to put off the old self (Eph. 4:22), to cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light (Rom. 13:12), to put to death what is earthly in us (Col. 3:5) and to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against our souls (1 Pet. 2:11).

Put off, cast off, put to death these practices, this sin, that wages war against our souls.

Owen says, “The mortification of indwelling sin remaining in our mortal bodies, that it may not have life and power to bring forth the works or deeds of the flesh, is the constant duty of believers.”

Mortification is a duty of believers. We must fight.

Are you aware of this battle? Do you care? Do you know how to wage war?

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