[Papercut Press Publishing] 1999-05-04 - M: Mortification

The Holy Alphabet Series

John 15:2 He purges it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

"Mortification is that grace whereby our natural corruption is subdued; and vivification (or quickening) is that grace too, wherby inherent holiness is renewed in us, Ephe. 4:22,23, Rom. 6:4,11,13, Col. 2:12." -- Robert Port

The two great doctrines of mortification and vivification--two friends. Mortification is the process of putting to death our deeds and habits of sin and Vivification is the process of putting on Christ and living for Him.

Those who mortify themselves understand that their sins are not worth keeping. Scripture says that if we mortify ourselves we shall live. "For if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live." Romans 8:13

We are all very clever, it seems, and those sins that we like, we like to keep. We find ways to have our selfishness, or lust, or greed, or sloth and yet not appear "sinful" to the world around us. But we know our hearts, and more importantly, God knows our hearts. "Therefore reckon the members of your earthly body as dead to illicit sex, filthiness, passion, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry. For it is on account of these things that the wrath of God will come." Colossians 3:5, 6 May God give us the grace to mortify and practice mortification.

Vivification is a great, neglected doctrine of our faith. The English word comes from the Latin vividus, which means, "full of life", or "lively". It belongs to the same word family as words like, revive, survive, vitamin, or vivacious. If you think for a moment about these words they give the connotation of life, living, and existence. The theological term, vivification, has the use of life that is centered and found living in Christ.

Hosea chapter 14 relates some of the future blessings for those who are in Christ. The chapter takes a sort of biological approach. Speaking of the believer, "… He will blossom like the lily, and he will strike his roots like (the cedars of) Lebanon. His young shoots will go, and his splendor will be like the olive (tree), and fragrance like (the cedars of) Lebanon." Hosea 14:5, 6 These verses are fulfilled by growing in and living unto Christ. They are fulfilled by vivifying ourselves. They are fulfilled when the splendor of Christ is seen in us.

When we mortify ourselves we must, in turn, vivify ourselves also. It is as the verse first quoted above says. We purge ourselves from evil that we might in turn fill ourselves with righteousness. It is then that, from us, there can flow that which is pure.

"The way of self-mortification is irksome to flesh and blood, but it is the only safe way." Maurice Roberts

"If you do not die to sin, you shall die for sin." C. H. Spurgeon

Soli Deo Gloria,


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