Thursday, March 21, 2013

Dodson on mortification

In blogging through Jonathan K. Dodson's book on discipleship entitled Gospel Centered Discipleship, I have arrived at the section of the book which concerns itself with practical application of what it expounded and explained in earlier chapters. As the book discusses applying the Gospel, it engages with mortification in the Christian life. I love how Dodson defines mortification writing, "Mortification is that tenacious disposition of the heart that longs to defeat sin out of love for Jesus" (128, emphasis mine).

The motivation for mortification which the author notes in this definition is incredibly important. Over the ages many people have tried, both Christian and non-Chritian, to conform their actions and change their habits from a desire to meet some perceived standard, to "be all that you can be." But ultimately, being moral for morality's sake, or good for goodness' sake, gets you no further ahead than were you to remain as you were.

God is not looking for us to conform to some set of rules whether they be encoded or arbitrary. He is looking for us to be conformed to his Son. And thus, our motivation for conformity and mortification of those areas in our life which are not conformed, needs to be found in Christ.

Dodson continues with an encouraging passage on fighting sin in our life:
Sin is no lighthearted matter. It is crouching at our door and we must master it (Gen. 4:7). It is dangerous not to fight sin.It is a sobering fight we must not cease. Fight your sin means a habitual weakening of the flesh through constant fighting and contending in the Spirit for sweet victory over sin. It should be regular and progressive, not occasional and instant. Fighting is not an end in itself or a way to make us more presentable to God. We fight because we have been made presentable in Christ. We fight for belief in his gospel, the truest and best news on earth-that Jesus defeated our sin, death, and evil through his own death and resurrection, and he is making all things new, even us. Until all things are new, we will continue to fight the good fight of faith. (128-9)
Keep fighting!

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