The Fortification of Sin

I have found that my natural bent is to excuse my sins, not confess them. Rather than mortifying them, I spend my best efforts fortifying them. They appear to me as precious darlings, to be protected from the harsh looks of my Father. “He just doesn’t understand, you see. He doesn’t want you to have that freedom which He enjoys!” Thus was the first temptation of the Destroyer in the garden! And who, in my natural estate, am I inclined to hear the louder? Rather than crying out to the Father to take away these leaches that suck the life out of me, drag me down to their slimy pit, I manipulatively replace His law with laws of my own making, seeking to take the limelight off of my darling sins. I can –by strong delusion and hardening of my heart- assuage my guilty conscience of my transgression of God’s Law. Thereby, the fortification of sin is ensured, and the mortification ruled out.

What a grievous thought it is that I would ever detract from the protection of my Creator Who knows what is best for me, Who has adopted me into His family, and Who seeks only my good. Why would I ever seek to throw off the reins of His benevolence and, instead, embrace the cruel blades which are covered by the deceptive velvet paws of sin? This is our natural bent. This is why we must not seek to evade guilt, conviction, rebuke, or sound preaching. We need these things to remind us of our sins and our absolute need to mortify them, and these are the means God has appointed to do so. The goal is –at the very least- twofold:

1. To be shut up to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His righteousness alone.
2. To endeavor toward new obedience, with a new commitment to identify, confess, forsake, and mortify our sins.

This is also why we need to attend on the ordinances of worship. The Gospel is not meant merely for the unregenerate to hear. All of God’s people need to hear and make use of such on a regular basis. There is no room for stagnation or shrinking back. We must not be those who shrink back in unbelief, but those who press forward, clinging to the Lord Jesus Christ and God’s promise to save to the uttermost all of those who come to Him by faith in Christ alone! Let us be guilty no more in the fortification of sin, but vigorously active in the mortification of sin, not trusting in that mortification, but in the Lord Who is pleased to make means effectual as He so chooses. Our hope, our trust, and our rest must be in Christ’s work, and that alone, but may it not be said of us that we are not working out our salvation with fear and trembling. We are the people of means, and God is the God of results.

3 thoughts on “The Fortification of Sin

  1. Thanks for this…. I would say preaching should be focused on conviction of God’s people – we need it…. conviction of sin, and confessing it. Not just confessing to the Lord, which is easy, but to each other. I would love to see the church living in such a way to show our weaknesses with each other, our sins, our faults – do we think Jesus doesn’t see our hearts and we’re fooling him? Lord, please deliver us from “doing” the Christian life, and help us to “live” in vital, day-by-day relationship with you, in total dependence on you!

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  2. “Be killing sin, or it be killing you!” -John Owen

    “John Owen is the prince of the Puritans” -Charles Haddon Spurgeon (the same Spurgeon, to whom a great many have called the prince of preachers)

    I highly recommend John Owen. He wrote a library of works. But to specifically address your blog entry for today I recommend a specific work
    “Overcoming Sin and Temptation” Edited by Kelly Kapic, and Justin Taylor with a forward by John Piper, published by Crossway Publications.
    This single book contains three related works of Owen.

    Mortification of Sin,

    Of Temptation,

    Indwelling Sin in Believers,

    ISBN-10: 1581346492
    ISBN-13: 978-1581346497

    Also if you have not read it I highly recommend “The Christian in Complete Armour” by William Gurnall.
    It was first published in three volumes, dated 1655, 1658 and 1662

    John Newton, converted slave trader and author of the timeless hymn “Amazing Grace” said this:
    “If he was confined to one book beside the Bible, he’d choose the Christian in Complete Armour”

    The writing style is akin to that of the King James Bible.
    1988 [Banner of Truth Trust] did a revised and abridged version in contemporary English.

    The Christian in Complete Armour, Diggory Press, ISBN 978-1-84685-795-9
    Gurnall, William. The Christian in Complete Armour. Banner of Truth Trust. ISBN 0-85151-196-1.

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