—1 Corinthians 5:5
Took a hard step in my inner life, harder than it should have been. When sin grabs hold, when I've yielded myself to it as my lord and master, its grip is tight, interlaced with everything I think of as myself, akin to the roots of grass but far, far deeper.
"The mortification of the flesh," as the Puritans and others saw it, is a complex, rich, essential component of a Christian's sanctification. Oversimplified, it leads to joyless living and a false hierarchy of physical and spiritual humanness. Rightly understood— perhaps as much a journey as a destination— it is a part of learning to live fully, truly, in the joy of God.
Even satan's agenda is subject to the purposes of the sovereign God. What he intends for evil, God works for good. By His Spirit, God uses sin's own destructiveness to convince me of my need of Him. Like the prodigal, I turn toward home out of hunger rather than righteousness. Like that wayward son, I make my plans to grovel for a position lesser than my true sonship because I am so very fixated on the supremacy of my awfulness. And like the Abba He is, He meets me in an embrace that purifies my self-centered motives and ignores my self-centered debasement. He calls me "son," reminding me that He alone, by His grace, has made me so. I could not make myself His son, and neither can I undo any thing He has done.
Mortification of the flesh, rightly understood, always comes hand in glove with "the vivification of the spirit." Dying to my flesh and coming alive in the Spirit are both His works of grace and glory. Participation and mystery are included in beautiful tension— I'm offered the joy of joining Him in His work, of apprenticing with the Master.
...But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
—1 Corninthians 6:11