For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long. Psalm 32:3
As we walk with our God we desire his strength, comfort, power and peace. The realization of these, and thus the joy of our spiritual life, depends greatly upon the mortification of sin. The immediate cause of these privileges is our adoption at the hand of the Spirit. However, in our ordinary walking with God, the vigour and comfort of our spiritual lives depend much on our mortification. Mortification bears a cause and effect relationship to our joy. The vigour of our spiritual lives is not possible apart from mortification. Mortification keeps sin from depriving us of our healthy spiritual life. Every unmortified sin will certainly do two things: (I.) It will weaken the soul, and deprive it of its vigour. When David had for a while harboured lust in his heart, it broke all his bones, and left him no spiritual strength. An unmortified lust will drink up the spirit, and all the vigour of our soul, and weaken it for all duties. Sin untunes the heart by entangling its affections. It diverts the heart from the spiritual frame that is required for communion with God. Sin fills the thoughts with its enticements. It captures the thoughts, and if unmortified it seeks to make provision to fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Sin breaks out and hinders duty. (2.) Sin will darken the soul, and deprive it of its comfort and peace. Sin is a cloud that spreads itself over the face of the soul, and interprets the beams of God’s love and favour. It takes away all sense o the privilege of our adoption. If the soul begins to gather up thoughts of consolation, sin quickly scatters them. But now, let the heart be cleansed by mortification, and let the weeds f lust be daily rooted up, and there will be room for grace to thrive and flourish, and be ready for every use and purpose.
In this classic devotional, John Calvin urges readers to apply the Christian life in a balanced way to mind, heart, and hand. Rather than focusing on contemplative otherworldliness, the book stresses the importance of a devotedly active Christian life. In style and spirit, this book is much like Augustine’s Confessions, Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, or Thomas à Kempis’s Imitation of Christ. However, its intense practicality sets it apart, making it easily accessible for any reader seeking to carry out Christian values in everyday life. Chapter themes include obedience, self-denial, the significance of the cross, and how we should live our lives today.