Sinclair Ferguson: How to Mortify Sin

The aftermath of a conversation can change the way we later think of its significance.

My friend — a younger minister — sat down with me at the end of a conference in his church and said: “Before we retire tonight, just take me through the steps that are involved in helping someone mortify sin.” We sat talking about this for a little longer and then went to bed, hopefully he was feeling as blessed as I did by our conversation. I still wonder whether he was asking his question as a pastor or simply for himself — or both.

How would you best answer his question? The first thing to do is: Turn to the Scriptures. Yes, turn to John Owen (never a bad idea!), or to some other counselor dead or alive. But remember that we have not been left only to good human resources in this area. We need to be taught from “the mouth of God” so that the principles we are learning to apply carry with them both the authority of God and the promise of God to make them work.

Several passages come to mind for study: Romans 8:13; Romans 13:8–14 (Augustine’s text); 2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1; Ephesians 4:17–5:21; Colossians 3:1–17; 1 Peter 4:1–11; 1 John 2:28–3:11. Significantly, only two of these passages contain the verb “mortify” (“put to death”). Equally significantly, the context of each of these passages is broader than the single exhortation to put sin to death. As we shall see, this is an observation that turns out to be of considerable importance.

Of these passages, Colossians 3:1–17 is probably the best place for us to begin.

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R. C. Sproul: Question and Answer Session

Questions:

01:50 In Psalm 18, David said, “The Lord dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me.” Was David there making the case for salvation by works?

02:30 I heard you take exception to the bumper sticker saying, “God says it, I believe it, that settles it.” Can you explain what is wrong with this?

02:54 What does God want most from us?

03:09 Are faith and belief the same thing?

03:35 Since God is omnipresent, does He manifest His presence in Hell or does He keep His presence from there?

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Mohler, Nichols, Sproul, and Thomas: Questions & Answers

A questions and answers session with Drs. Albert Mohler, Stephen Nichols, R.C. Sproul, and Derek Thomas.

Questions:

“No man knows the day or the hour concerning the second coming, not even the Son of man.” Does Jesus know now? (01:01)
What does it mean when we say that Christ had a “reasonable” soul? (06:01)
“Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” Why does it take blood and not some other substance? (06:53)
Why was Jesus in the grave for only three days? (09:38)
Since the Reformers were fallible sinners, can we trust their view of sola Scriptura? (11:13)
Should church discipline be considered a mark of a true church? (20:31)
Was the Reformation part of the Renaissance and if so, how did it relate to the Enlightenment? (22:55)
When was the church born? (30:45)
Are we experiencing a new kind of reformation in the evangelical church worldwide? (32:18)
There is concern for the millennial generation not embracing biblical Christianity. What is the root cause of this and how should the church respond? (36:07)
What role does our holiness and personal sanctification have in our witness to this darkened world? (41:53)

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