Meanderings of a Minister


10 Ways to Kill Sin, Part 1
March 16, 2011, 9:17 pm
Filed under: Articles

10 Ways to Kill Sin[1], Part 1

 

I have been writing this article for almost three years now and I believe this is the first time that I have been so impacted by an article from someone else that I felt compelled to pass it along.  This is not a cop out, but is simply to say how much this article has impacted me.  I am hoping it will have the same effect on you.

In this Lenten season, it is easy for people to forget why they are setting themselves aside from whatever it is that they are struggling to stay away from.  As we think about this struggle to spend more time with God, it reminds us of the daily struggle to say no to the sinful nature that resides in each of us.  Ever since Adam and Eve sinned, we have had a sin nature passed on to us and; thus, we sin because we are sinners.  This struggle does not magically disappear, when we accept Christ.  Instead, it often intensifies.

Brian G. Hedges, in his article of the same title, gives a good battle plan for growing in holiness and conquering and putting sin to death.  Briefly, here are his points.

  1. Yield yourself to God.  While you might think this should be automatic for Christians, it is not always the case.  Paul said one of the first steps to fighting sin is surrendering to God.  (See Romans 6:12-13)  This is very similar to Jesus’ instructions in Mark 8:34 to deny self.
  2. Accept the battle.  Killing sin is a constant activity and lifelong battle.  Puritan pastor, John Owen, said it this way, “You must always be at it while you live; do not take a day off from this work; always be killing sin or it will be killing you.”  Romans 7:21 reminds us of this truth when it says that evil is close by whenever I am desiring to do good.
  3. Take God’s side.  Again, one might think this need not be stated, but the reality is that we often attempt to justify our sin, when we ought to be mortifying our sin.  We excuse anger away as our personality.  We excuse gluttony by saying I just have big bones.  (My excuse at times.)  John Stott said the problem is that, “having nailed our old nature to the cross, we keep wistfully returning to the scene of the execution.  We begin to fondle it, to caress it, to long for its release, even to try to take it down again from the cross.  We need to learn to leave it there.”
  4. Make no provision.  Romans 13:14 tells us to put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh.  This means we need to get radical about how we fight temptation.  We need to remove it from our lives.  If we continue to hang around it, we will quickly find out why Paul told Timothy to flee temptation.  Instead of trying to find the line that marks sin, and saddling up to see how close we can get to it, we need to turn around and run the other direction instead.  To get an idea of how radical and important this is, consider Jesus’ words in Mark 9:43-48.
  5. Use your sword.  Hedges said, “Many believers sadly fail to defeat temptation because they lack sufficient skill with their spiritual weapon, the word of God.”  How did Jesus fight Satan’s temptation?  He replied three different times, “For it is written…”  If Jesus found this tool effective in fighting Satan’s lures, how much more so should we?

Which of the first five of ten ways to kill sin do you need to address to keep you from the pornography, food, alcohol, drugs, gossip, slander, sleep, image obsession, gambling, lying, lust, excessive speed or other sin that is so easily besetting you?


[1] Adapted from Brian G. Hedges, 10 Ways to Kill Sin, Revive:  A Publication of Life Action Ministries, Winter 2011, pages 10-13.

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