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Presbyterians/Theological question on mortification of flesh


Romans 8:13 says our flesh must be mortified by the Spirit of God and Col. 3:5 says "Put to death therefore what is earthly in you...".

My question is a theological one:

Why mortify sins if we are already dead (Col.3:3) and raised (Col. 3:1)?


Paul is the consummate pastoral theologian. He presents cosmic truths and then brings particular application; he presents the eternal perspective and then tells us how we are to live right now in light of eternity.

In ch. 2:9-15 of Colossians, St. Paul has been extolling the reality of our death with Christ in baptism. That means that no one can hold us to the ceremonial or civic law of Israel. But some might interpret that to mean that, since we are under grace, 'anything goes.' Nothing could be further from the truth. We are saved unto good works (Eph. 2:10). Having been brought into God's family through baptism, we are expected to take on a family resemblance. And so the Apostle tells us how we can do that. We do it by, first, setting our minds on things above. (Philippians was written at the same time and gives specifics in ch. 4.) Then we won't want the tawdry and cheap pleasures of this world...which bring death.


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Chris Larimer


Reformed / Systematic Theology, Biblical Theology, New Testament, Church History, Philosophical Theology, Apologetics, Preaching/Homiletics, Sacraments, and Liturgy are all specialties in which I have some expertise. I've been told I have a "knack" for Practical/Pastoral Theology as well.


I have been a Presbyterian church worker since 1996 and am about to be ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacrament. I served a year long internship in our denomination's Office of Theology and Worship.

Presbyterian Church (USA)

Call to Worship. ReNEWS. The Presbyterian Outlook (online edition).

Undergraduate study at King College and East Tennessee State University leading to BA in English, with minors in Sociology and in Humanities (emphasis Classical Studies). Master of Divinity, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Additional study, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Awards and Honors
Patterson Scholar in Greek and Latin, LPTS (2003-2006). J. K. Patterson Graduate Fellow in Church History, LPTS. PC(USA) Ordination Exams: Bible Content 98%; Greek Exegesis 5/5; Reformed Theology 5/5.

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