Gospel Mortification, by Ralph Erskine

http://www.puritansermons.com/erskine/erskine4.htm

1. Gospel mortification is from gospel principles, viz. the Spirit of God [Rom. 8. 13], ‘If ye through the Spirit mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live’; Faith in Christ [Acts 15. 9], ‘Purifying their hearts by faith’; The love of Christ constraining [2 Cor. 5. 14], ‘The love of Christ constraineth us.’ But legal mortification is from legal principles such as, from the applause and praise of men, as in the Pharisees; from pride of self-righteousness, as in Paul before his conversion; from the fear of destruction; from a natural conscience; from the example of others; and many times from the power of sin itself, while one sin is set up to wrestle with another, as when sensuality and self-righteousness wrestle with one another. The man, perhaps, will not drink and swear. Why? Because he is setting up and establishing a righteousness of his own, whereby to obtain the favor of God here is but one sin wrestling with another.

2. They differ in their weapons with which they fight against sin. The gospel believer fights with grace’s weapons, namely, the blood of Christ, the word of God, the promises of the gospel, and the virtue of Christ’s death and cross [Galatians 6. 14] ‘God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, by whom (whereby) the world is crucified to me, and I to the world.’ But now the man under the law fights against sin by the promises and threatenings of the law; by its promises, saying, I will obtain life, I hope, if I do so and so; by its threatenings, saying, I will be damned, if I do not so and so. Sometimes he fights with the weapons of his own vows and resolutions, which are his strong tower, to which he runs and thinks himself safe.

3. The believer will not serve sin, because he is alive to God, and dead to sin [Romans 6. 6]. The legalist forsakes sin, not because he is alive, but so that he may live. The believer mortifies sin, because God loves him; but the legalist, that God may love him. The believer mortifies, because God is pacified towards him; the legalist mortifies, that he may pacify God by his mortification. He may go a great length, but it is still that he may have whereof to glory, making his own doing at least some of the foundation of his hope and comfort.

Advertisements
Explore posts in the same categories: faith

Tags: , ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

4 Comments on “Gospel Mortification, by Ralph Erskine”

  1. markmcculley Says:

    http://doulogos.blogspot.com/2010/06/sanctification-done-right.html

    The Difference Between Legal & Gospel Mortification[1]

    by Ralph Erskine

    1. Gospel and legal mortification differ in their principles from which they proceed. Gospel mortification is from gospel principles, viz. the Spirit of God [Rom. 8. 13], ‘If ye through the Spirit mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live’; Faith in Christ [Acts 15. 9], ‘Purifying their hearts by faith’; The love of Christ constraining [2 Cor. 5. 14], ‘The love of Christ constraineth us.’ But legal mortification is from legal principles such as, from the applause and praise of men, as in the Pharisees; from pride of self-righteousness, as in Paul before his conversion; from the fear of hell; from a natural conscience; from the example of others; from some common motions of the Spirit; and many times from the power of sin itself, while one sin is set up to wrestle with another, as when sensuality and self-righteousness wrestle with one another. The man, perhaps, will not drink and swear. Why? Because he is setting up and establishing a righteousness of his own, whereby to obtain the favour of God; here is but one sin wrestling with another.

    2. They differ in their weapons with which they fight against sin. The gospel believer fights with grace’s weapons, namely, the blood of Christ, the word of God, the promises of the covenant, and the virtue of Christ’s death and cross [Gal. 6. 14]: ‘God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, by whom [or, as it may be read, ‘whereby,’ viz. by the cross of Christ,] the world is crucified to me, and I to the world.’ But now the man under the law fights against sin by the promises and threatenings of the law; by its promises, saying, I will obtain life; and win to heaven, I hope, if I do so and so; by its threatenings, saying, I will go to hell and be damned, if I do not so and so. Sometimes he fights with the weapons of his own vows and resolutions, which are his strong tower, to which he runs and thinks himself safe.

    3. They differ in the object of their mortification. They both, indeed, seek to mortify sin, but the legalist’s quarrel is more especially with the sins of his conversation [i.e., behaviour], whereas the true believer should desire to fight as the Syrians got orders [1 Kings 22:31], that is, neither against great nor small, so much as against the King himself, even against original corruption. A body of sin and death troubles him more than any other sin in the world; ‘O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from this body of death?’ [Rom. 7. 24]. His great exercise is to have the seed of the woman to bruise this head of the serpent.

    4. They differ in the reasons of the contest. The believer, whom grace teaches to deny all ungodliness, he fights against sin because it dishonours God, opposes Christ, grieves the Spirit, and separates between his Lord and him; but the legalist fights against sin, because it breaks his peace, and troubles his conscience, and hurts him, by bringing wrath and judgment on him. As children will not play in the dust, not because it sullies their clothes, but flies into their eyes, and hurts them, so the legalist will not meddle with sin, not because it sullies the perfections of God, and defiles their souls, but only because it hurts them. I deny not, but there is too much of this legal temper even amongst the godly.

    5. They differ in their motives and ends. The believer will not serve sin, because he is alive to God, and dead to sin [Rom. 6. 6]. The legalist forsakes sin, not because he is alive, but that he may live. The believer mortifies sin, because God loves him; but the legalist, that God may love him. The believer mortifies, because God is pacified towards him; the legalist mortifies, that he may pacify God by his mortification. He may go a great length, but it is still that he may have whereof to glory, making his own doing all the foundation of his hope and comfort.

    6. They differ in the nature of their mortification. The legalist does not oppose sin violently, seeking the utter destruction of it. If he can get sin put down, he does not seek it to be thrust out; but the believer, having a nature and principle contrary to sin, he seeks not only to have it weakened, but extirpated. The quarrel is irreconcileable; no terms of accommodation or agreement; no league with sin is allowed, as it is with hypocrites.

    7. They differ in the extent of the warfare, not only objectively, the believer hating every false way; but also subjectively, all the faculties of the believer’s soul, the whole regenerate part being against sin. It is not so with the hypocrite or legalist; for as he spares some sin or other, so his opposition to sin is only seated in his conscience; his light and conscience oppose such a thing, while his heart approves of it. There is an extent also as to time; the legalist’s opposition to sin is of a short duration, but in the believer it is to the end; grace and corruption still opposing one another.

    8. They differ in the success. There is no believer, but as he fights against sin, so first or last he prevails, though not always to his discerning; and though he lose many battles, yet he gains the war. But the legalist, for all the work he makes, yet he never truly comes speed [i.e., is never truly successful]; though he cut off some actual sin, yet the corrupt nature is never changed; he never gets a new heart; the iron sinew in his neck, which opposes God, is never broken; and when he gets one sin mortified, sometimes another and more dangerous sin lifts up the head. Hence all the sins and pollutions that ever the Pharisees forsook, and all the good duties that ever they performed, made them but more proud, and strengthened their unbelieving prejudices against Christ, which was the greater and more dangerous sin.

    Thus you may see the difference between legal and gospel mortification, and try yourselves thereby.

    http://www.covenantofgrace.com/r_erskine_legal_and_gospel_mortification.htm

  2. markmcculley Says:

    http://pastormattrichard.webs.com/Forde_Sanctifcation.pdf

    SANCTIFICATION, IF IT IS TO BE SPOKEN OF AS SOMETHING other than justification is perhaps best defined as the art of getting used to the unconditional justification wrought by the grace of God for Jesus‟ sake. It is what happens when we are grasped by the fact that God alone justifies. It is being made holy, and
    as such, it is not our work. It is the work of the Spirit who is called Holy. The fact that it is not our work puts the old Adam/Eve (our old self) to death and calls forth a new being in Christ. It is being saved from the sickness unto death and being called to new life.
    In German there is a nice play on words which is hard to reproduce in English. Salvation is “Das Heilâ” which gives the sense both of being healed and of being saved. Sanctification is “Die Heiligungâ” which would perhaps best be translated as “being salvationed.” Sanctification is “being salvationed,” the new life
    arising from the catastrophe suffered by the old upon hearing that God alone saves. It is the pure flower that
    blossoms in the desert, watered by the unconditional grace of God.
    Sanctification is thus simply the art of getting used to justification. It is not something added to justification. It is not the final defense against a justification too liberally granted. It is the justified life. It is what happens when the old being comes up against the end of its self-justifying and self-gratifying ways, however pious. It is life lived in anticipation of the resurrection. As such, sanctification is likely not the kind of life that we (old beings!) would wish, much as we might prattle piously about it and protest about how necessary it is. For the most part we make the mistake of equating
    sanctification with what we might call the moral life. As old beings we get nervous when we hear about
    justification by grace alone, faith alone, and worry that it will lead to moral laxity. So we say we have to “add” sanctification too, or we have to get on to what is really important, living the “sanctified life.” And by that we usually mean living morally.
    Now, living morally is indeed an important, wise and good thing. There is no need to knock it. But it should
    not be equated with sanctification, being made holy. The moral life is the business of the old being in this
    world. The Reformers called it “civil righteousness.” Sanctification is the result of the dying of the old and the
    rising of the new. The moral life is the result of the old being‟s struggle to climb to the heights of the law.
    Sanctification has to do with the descent of the new being into humanity, becoming a neighbor, freely,
    spontaneously, giving of the self in self-forgetful and uncalculating ways. “But when you give to the needy,
    do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your
    Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Mt 6:3-4). Sanctification is God‟s secret, hidden
    (perhaps especially!) even from the “sanctified.” The last thing the sanctified would do would be to talk about
    it or make claims about achieving it. One would be more likely, with Paul, to talk about one‟s weaknesses.
    No, sanctification is not the kind of thing we would seek. I expect we don‟t really want it, and perhaps rarely know when it is happening to us. It is the work of the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life. It is given to us in the buffeting about, the sorrows, the joys, the sufferings and the tasks of daily life. As Ernest Becker rightly put it in his classic work (that ought to be read by everyone interested in the question of “salvationing” today)
    The Denial of Death, the hardest thing is not even the death, but the rebirth, because it means that for the\ first time we shall have to be reborn not as gods but as human beings, shorn of all our defenses, projects and claims.1 Can flowers bloom in this desert? Can we survive and get used to justification? Can we live as though it were true? That is the question.
    The Argument
    Talk about sanctification is dangerous. It is too seductive for the old being. What seems to have happened in the tradition is that sanctification has been sharply distinguished from justification, and thus separated out as the part of the “salvationing” we are to do. God alone does the justifying simply by declaring the ungodly to
    be so, for Jesus‟ sake. Most everyone is willing to concede that, at least in some fashion. But, of course, then comes the question: what happens next? Must not the justified live properly? Must not justification be safeguarded so it will not be abused? So sanctification enters the picture supposedly to rescue the good
    ship Salvation from shipwreck on the rocks of Grace Alone. Sanctification, it seems, is our part of the
    bargain. But, of course, once it is looked on that way, we must be careful not to undo God‟s justifying act in
    Christ. So sanctification must be absolutely separated from justification. God, it seems, does his part, and
    then we do ours.
    The result of this kind of thinking is generally disastrous. We are driven to make an entirely false distinction between justification and sanctification in order to save the investment the old being has in the moral system. Justification is a kind of obligatory religious preliminary which is rendered largely ineffective while we talk about getting on with the truly “serious” business of becoming “sanctified” according to some moral scheme or other. We become the actors in sanctification. This is entirely false. According to Scripture, God
    is always the acting subject, even in sanctification. The distinction serves only to leave the old being in control of things under the guise of pious talk. On the level of human understanding, the problem is we attempt to combine the unconditional grace of God
    with our notions of continuously existing and acting under the law. In other words, the old being does not
    come up against its death, but goes on pursuing its projects, perhaps a little more morally or piously.
    Unconditional grace calls forth a new being in Christ. But the old being sees such unconditional grace as
    dangerous and so protects its continuity by “adding sanctification.” It seeks to stave off the death involved by becoming “moral.”
    Sanctification thus becomes merely another part of its self-defense against grace. Justification is rendered more or less harmless. Talk about sanctification can be dangerous in that it misleads and seduces the old being into thinking it is still in control. We may grudgingly admit we cannot justify ourselves, but then we attempt to make up for that by getting serious about sanctification. Even under the best of conditions, talk about sanctification in any way apart from justification is dangerous. It
    has a tendency to become a strictly verbal exercise in which one says obligatory things to show one is “serious about it” but little comes of the discussion. Perhaps one feels sanctified just by talking impressively about it. The result of such talk is what I like to call “the magnificent hot-air balloon syndrome.” One talks impressively about sanctification, and we all get beguiled by the rhetoric and agree. “Yes, of course, we all ought to do that,” and the balloon begins to rise into the religious stratosphere solely on the strength of its own hot air. It is something like bragging about prowess in love and sex. It is mostly hot air and rarely accomplishes anything more for the hearers than arousing anxiety or creating the illusion that they somehow can participate vicariously. We got started in that direction even in the above exercise in this thesis when we talked about how sanctification is “spontaneous,” “free,” “self-forgetful,” “self-giving,” “uncalculating” and all those nice things. Dangerous talk. Dangerous because, like love, none of those things can actually be produced by us in any way. Theology indeed obligates us to talk about them, to attempt accurate description, but unless we know the dangers and limitations of such descriptions, it leads only to presumption or despair

  3. markmcculley Says:

    Repentance From Dead Works Before We Take the First Step, by Bill Parker
    A godly change of mind and conduct which is called repentance can come only in light of the Gospel wherein Christ and His righteousness is revealed as the only ground of salvation . This godly repentance is a change of mind concerning the character of God (Who He is) and concerning the only ground upon which God justifies the ungodly.

    It is a change of mind concerning Christ (Who He is and what He accomplished) and the value of His obedience unto death (His righteousness) as being the only ground of salvation. It is a change of mind concerning ourselves (who we are) as being guilty, defiled sinners who owe a debt to God’s justice we cannot pay.

    It is a change of mind concerning our best efforts to remove the guilt and defilement of sin, our best efforts to recommend ourselves to God, our best deeds aimed at attaining, maintaining, and entitling us to salvation.

    The Apostle Paul illustrates this clearly in Philippians 3:3-10. In true Gospel faith and repentance a sinner comes to see and trust that Christ’s righteousness alone entitles him to all of salvation, including the subjective work of the Spirit, BEFORE HE TAKES THE FIRST STEP, before he makes any efforts to obey God and persevere.

    In this specific light, he comes to see that before faith, his best efforts at obedience, all that he highly esteemed and thought was profitable in recommending him unto God, is now “loss,” no more than “dung” (Philippians 3:7-8) in light of Christ’s obedience to death.

    What he before thought was pleasing unto God and works of the Spirit, he now sees as “flesh” (Philippians 3:3-4). What he once highly esteemed, he is now ashamed of it (Romans 6:21) and now, in light of the Gospel, counts it as fruit unto death, DEAD WORKS, and evil deeds.

    He now sees that before faith, before believing that Christ’s righteousness alone entitled him to all of salvation, his thoughts of God were all wrong. In repentance, he turns from that idol to serve the true and living God (1 Thessalonians 1:9).

    This kind of true godly repentance can only come in light of the Gospel as it takes this specific truth, this light, to expose the sin that deceives us all by nature (John 3:19-20). Before we hear and believe the Gospel we are all deceived by sin (Romans 7:11). The sin that deceives us all by nature is not immorality


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: