“Sanctify them through your truth: your word is truth.” John 17:17
“HOW may I know,” is the anxious inquiry of many, “that sin is being mortified in me?” We reply—by a weakening of its power. When Christ subdues our iniquities, He does not eradicate them, but weakens the strength of their root. The principle of sin remains, but it is impaired. See it in the case of Peter. Before he fell, his easily besetting sin was self-confidence: “Although all shall be offended, yet will not I.” Behold him after his recovery, taking the low place at the feet of Jesus, and at the feet of the disciples too, meekly saying, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” No more self-vaunting, no more self-confidence: his sin was mortified through the Spirit, and he became as another man. Thus often the very outbreak of our sins may become the occasion of their deeper discovery and their more thorough subjection. Nor let us overlook the power of the truth, by the instrumentality of which the Spirit mortifies sin in us: “Sanctify them through Your truth.” The truth as it is in Jesus, revealed more clearly to the mind, and impressed more deeply on the heart, transforms the soul into its own divine and holy nature. Our spiritual and experimental acquaintance, therefore, with the truth—with Him who is essential truth—will be the measure of the Spirit’s mortification of sin in our hearts. Is the Lord Jesus becoming increasingly precious to your soul? Are you growing in poverty of spirit, in a deeper sense of your vileness, weakness, and unworthiness? Is pride more abased, and self more crucified, and God’s glory more simply sought? Does the heart more quickly shrink from sin, and is the conscience more sensitive to the touch of guilt, and do confession and cleansing become a more frequent habit? Are you growing in more love to all the saints—to those, who, though they adopt not your entire creed, yet love and serve your Lord and Master? If so, then you may be assured the Spirit is mortifying sin in you. But oh, look from everything to Christ. Look not within for sanctification; look up for it from Christ. He is as much our “sanctification” as He is our “righteousness.” Your evidences, your comfort, your hope, do not spring from your fruitfulness, your mortification, or anything within you; but solely and entirely from the Lord Jesus Christ. “Looking unto Jesus” by faith, is like removing the covering and opening the windows of a conservatory, to admit more freely the sun, beneath whose light and warmth the flowers and fruits expand and mature. Withdraw the veil that conceals the Sun of Righteousness, and let Him shine in upon your soul, and the mortification of all sin will follow, and the fruits of all holiness will abound.