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The Body of Sin Destroyed 


An extract from Hugh Martin's sermon, 'Those that are Christ's: A Pre-Communion Address'


GALATIANS 5:24, Romans 6:6

. . . And because the body and blood of Christ are really and truly, though spiritually, present in the supper by Christ's word of institution and promise, very near to be received and fed upon by the faith of believers, and very near to be with special guilt dishonoured and rejected by those who, uncleansed and in their sin and unbelief, discern not the Lord's body, we warn them that their presuming to come to the table of the Lord will be the occasion of their eating and drinking the wrath of God and judgment unto themselves.

On the other hand, in the name of Christ, who spreads this table and presides over all its feast and fellowship, we invite those that are Christ's, those who have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts. You are to come to the table of the Lord for special communion in him and in his death, 'knowing this, that your old man is crucified with Christ, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth you should not serve sin.'

1. I remark then, in the first place, that if you are Christ's you will feel deeply interested in 'knowing this'.

It is an arrangement on God's part that will commend itself to your lively study and attention. It is an arrangement in which you are most vitally concerned. You cannot be Christ's without having come to know in some measure the exceeding sinfulness and the exceeding strength of sin. And here is God's method of ultimately freeing you from sin's presence, and enabling you in the meantime and henceforth to rise superior to sin's power. Surely it is a very marvellous scheme, coming forth from him who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in working. It is worthy of your deepest regard. Nor is anything more precious in it, to those that are Christ's and the subjects of this privilege, than the perfection of its unity and its freedom from all perplexity. It provides for all details, but it goes directly and completely to the root of the evil. It lops not off branch after branch. Alas! this principle and root of sin within is of wondrous vigour, vitality and fertility, and all mere dealing with branches in detail leaves the evil in its strength and reign as before. But, while dealing with the various members of the body of sin, this arrangement on God's part grapples with the old man himself – with the vigorous principle of our corruption, the old man in his unity and principle of evil life – and nails him to the cross to be destroyed. The Holy Spirit, coming for the sake of the cross, to fulfil its purpose, to realise its purchase, to wield its power, dethrones, dishonours, condemns, breaks and crucifies our old man with Christ. Is it possible that sin can be your burden, that sin can be your chiefest affliction, that the plague of your own heart can be really a plague to you, that you are convinced that in you, that is, in your flesh, dwelleth no good thing – nothing but enmity to God, subjection to worldly lusts, uncharitableness towards man, selfishness, self-will, insubordination to the authority of God and disinclination and disability for his fellowship and service – is it possible that you can be awakened to all this without taking an interest in knowing this also, that your old man is crucified with him?



"Christ for Us - Sermons of Hugh Martin". Banner of Truth, 1998. pp172-174.



Hugh Martin (1822-1885) was a Scottish Presbyterian minister renowned for his preaching and literary works and for his defence of the truth of Scripture in a time of decline in the Church. Some of his ageless works include The Atonement, The Shadow of Calvary, Christ's Presence in the Gospel History and a commentary on the book of Jonah.