1 Timothy, 1 Timothy 4, 2 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians 5, Biblical Counseling, Bunyan, Christopher Love, John Bunyan, mortificaiton, Mortification, Pilgrim's Progress, Sin, The Mortified Christian
Love provides some more false motives for mortification. One may seek to lay off a sin, not because sin is a wrong against a holy God. Rather, one may seek mortification to ease the conscience or to look good before others. In both instances, one may cease from a certain sin because it is too much for their conscience or too much for their company. One man may not sin because he cannot sleep well, another because he wants no bad press.
I knew a man once who committed serial acts of sexual immorality, which required him to lie to another woman on a consistent basis. I asked him whether this troubled his conscience. He stated that it “used to” but after awhile, he got used to it. Conscience is a door keeper, but conscience cannot bar the door. Given enough trouble, conscience will fold turn the heart over to its desires. Given enough trouble, conscience will eventually keep quiet. First Timothy 4:2 refers to such as those who “consciences are seared”.
The one who refuses to sin merely on the ground politics will end up like politicians, who are famous for being found out. No man or woman is perfect, and thus we should not be surprised to find error in another’s life. Moreover, such a discovery is a time for sorrow — not gloating. Yet, we must realize that even people with tremendous standing, people whose lives are under constant scrutiny, cannot restrain from sin even under the fear of exposure.
The only sure stay for sin is a life which seeks to glory God — who sees at all time, who knows all things, and who gives change from the heart outward. Only a life constrained by the love of Christ has a hope of mortifying sin (2 Cor. 5:14).
Love also proposes a final means of false opposition to sin: those who mortify sin “faintly and slowly”. These are people who truly do not want to be rid of their sin. Such a person is one who has not aimed for true mortification, and thus wants only the appearance of mortification. These are the children who are given a task against which they rebel. They may set off to clean their room or weed the garden, but as soon as they turn the corner their heals dig in and their pace slows.
These various false mortifiers will be found in counseling: They will come in all aflush because their husband will leave them or their conscience is troubled. You will speak with them, encourage them, pray for them, ease their conscience and seek to reconcile their marriage. Then when the trouble subsides, they will drift and then run to their former sin. They are like Pliable in Pilgrim’s Progress who very much want the Celestial City and yet have no sure sense of sin upon their back. They dislike the trouble of sin but do not hate the stain of sin. They want their sin — only without consequence.
When counseling look to see how diligently the counselee responds to spurs to mortification. If he responds slowly, then consider whether he is a false professor.