I. What mortification is.
Charnock begins with a definition of “mortification” (killing). He lists four aspects of mortification, breaking with sin, a declaration of hostility toward sin, resistance to sin, killing sin.
Breaking with sin. Charnock notes the strength which sin is said to hold over the human being. Sin is likened to a king with subjects, “Sin is therefore said to have dominion, to make laws, whence we read of the law of the members.” Sin is as close to the human being as flesh is to bone. Therefore, there can be no end of sin’s work until one divorces sin. There must be “a stopping the ears against the importunities of it, and refusing all commerce and cohabitation with it.”
Hostility. We cannot merely say that we are done and then be done with sin. If we break with sin we merely move to a state of war. Sin will either have its way with us, or we will need to be at war with sin:
And here behold that irreconcileable and tedious war, without a possibility of renewing the ancient friendship, and which ends not but with a total conquest of sin. This hostility begins in a bridling corrupt affections, laying a yoke upon anything that would take part with the enemy. It cuts off all the supplies of sin, stops all the avenues to it; which the apostle expresseth by ‘making provision for the flesh,’ Rom. 13:14, &c.; a turning the stream which fed sin another way
Resistance: “A strong and powerful resistance, by using all the spiritual weapons against sin which the Christian armoury will afford.” Charnock makes an interesting observation by resting sin and movement to sin in disordered affections, “a bringing the affections into order, that they may not contradict and disobey the motions of the Spirit and sanctified reason.”
Killing: This comes from the meaning of the language of Paul. For instance, in Colossians 3:5, Paul uses the verb nekrosate: you put to death, kill, “to reduce to a carcase.”
Every day there is to be a driving a new nail into the body of death, a breaking some limb or other of it, till it doth expire.