Rearranging the Flesh

Posted: October 20, 2009 in Sin

One of the pitfalls that can happen as a Christian fights sin is rearranging the flesh. It simply means that you exchange one sin for another and declare your previous sin conquered. Even though it may look like you’ve made growth or progress, you really haven’t mortified (put to death) any sin because it just manifests itself differently.  You haven’t begun the process of putting to death the deeds of the flesh because only the behavior has been addressed and not the heart issue. John Owen describes this well in his book, Of The Mortification of Sin in Believers:

A sin is not mortified when it is only diverted… A man may be sensible of a lust, set himself against the eruptions of it, take care that it shall not break forth as it has done, but in the meantime suffer the same corrupted habit to vent itself some other way… Men in [old] age do not usually persist in the pursuit of youthful lusts, although they have never mortified any one of them. And the same is the case of bartering of lusts, and leaving to serve one that a man may serve another. He that changes pride for worldliness, sensuality for Pharisaism, vanity in himself to the contempt of others, let him not think that he has mortified the sin that he seems to have left. He has changed his master, but is a servant still.”

True growth over the power of sin comes progressively by gospel mortification, and this can only happen by the Spirit.


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