Use sin as it will use you; spare it not, for it will not spare you; it is your murderer, and the murderer of the world: use it, therefore as a murderer should be used. Kill it before it kills you; and though it bring you to the grave, as it did your Head, it shall not be able to keep you there.
While God most often appeals to our wills through our reason, sin and Satan usually appeal to us through our desires.
What then is the killing of sin? It is the constant battle against sin which we fight daily-the refusal to allow the eye to wander, the mind to contemplate, the affections to run after anything which will draw us away from Christ. It is the deliberate rejection of any sinful thought, suggestion, desire, aspiration, deed, circumstance or provocation at the moment we become conscience of its existence.
It is easier to cry against one-thousand sins of others than to kill one of your own.
Only those who resist temptation to the end know the full force of temptation.
If God has done a work in our hearts, we should want to battle the sin of our hearts.
The secret to freedom from enslaving patterns of sin is worship. You need worship. You need great worship. You need weeping worship. You need glorious worship. You need to sense God’s greatness and to be moved by it — moved to tears and moved to laughter — moved by who God is and what He has done for you. And this needs to be happening all the time.
Conflict with sin is one of the best evidences that someone has been given spiritual life.
The choicest believers, who are assuredly freed from the condemning power of sin, ought yet to make it their business all their days to [put to death] the indwelling power of sin.
If, then, sin will be always acting, if we be not always mortifying, we are lost creatures… If sin be subtle, watchful, strong, and always at work in the business of killing our souls, and we be slothful, negligent, foolish in proceeding to the ruin thereof, can we expect a comfortable event? There is not a day but sin foils or is foiled, prevails or is prevailed on; and it will be so while we live in this world.
Men look upon it as an easy task and as that which will be carried on with a little diligence and ordinary attendance. But do we think it is for nothing that the Holy Spirit expresses the duty of opposing sin and weakening its power by mortification, killing or putting to death? Is there not something special in this, beyond any other act or duty of our lives?… Everything will do its utmost to preserve its life and being. So will sin too; and if it is not constantly pursued with diligence and holy violence, it will escape our assaults. Let no man think he can kill sin with few, easy or gentle strokes.
When it comes to killing my sin I don’t wait for the miracle, I act the miracle.
We are too apt to forget that temptation to sin will rarely present itself to us in its true colors, saying, “I am your deadly enemy, and I want to ruin you forever in hell.” Oh no! Sin comes to us like Judas, with a kiss; like Joab, with outstretched hand and flattering words. The forbidden fruit seemed good and desirable to Eve; yet it cast her out of Eden. Walking idly on his palace roof seemed harmless enough to David; yet it ended in adultery and murder. Sin rarely seems (like) sin at first beginnings. Let us then watch and pray, lest we fall into temptation.
So deeply planted are the roots of human corruption, that even after we are born again, renewed, “washed, sanctified, justified,” and made living members of Christ, these roots remain alive in the bottom of our hearts, and, like the leprosy in the walls of the house, we never get rid of them until the earthly house of this tabernacle is dissolved. Sin, no doubt, in the believer’s heart, has no longer dominion. It is checked, controlled, mortified, and crucified by the expulsive power of the new principle of grace. The life of a believer is a life of victory, and not of failure. But the very struggles which go on within his bosom, the fight that he finds it needful to fight daily, the watchful jealousy which he is obliged to exercise over his inner man, the contest between the flesh and the spirit, the inward “groanings” which no one knows but he who has experienced them – all, all testify to the same great truth, all show the enormous power and vitality of sin. Mighty indeed must that foe be who even when crucified is still alive!
Sure, people can counsel us on some strategies to overcome sin such as Bible memorization, prayer, accountability partners and providing no opportunity for the flesh, but our primary hope to be victorious is not faith in a technique but rather, 2 Corinthians 3:3, faith in a promise that we have power through “the Spirit of the living God.” Never shall a sin again, if we are truly saved, be able to dominate, enslave or defeat us. By God’s grace through the New Covenant provision of the Holy Spirit, we can rise out of the gutter of sin and stand joyously with the freedom we now have in Christ. We are as Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:17 completely new creatures!
Through prayer, are you asking the Lord to reveal sin in your heart? Is God showing you sin as you study the Bible? Are you grieved over your sin? Are you more grieved over your sin than angered over the sins of others around you? Do you hate your sin? Do you hate your sin not primarily because of the consequences, but because you love God? Are you confessing your sin? Are you turning from your sin with the sufficient grace God provides?
I like the way John Piper once put this along the lines of fearing God and perseverance. “Fearing the Lord means fearing to run away from Him. It means fearing to seek refuge and joy and hope anywhere but in God. It means keeping before our eyes what a fearful prospect it is to stop trusting and depending on God to meet our needs.” He who does not fear God has called a peace treaty with sin. But he who does fear God, battles sin and fervently continues in the daily quest for holiness. So fearing God enables us to obey Him, mature spiritually and faithfully persevere until the end.
The goal of our Christian life is to find so much beauty in Jesus Christ, happiness in Jesus Christ that the Sirens of sin don’t stand a chance. We are created for pleasure. Sin holds out for us a promise of pleasure. So we must fight its promise with a greater promise. We must understand the superior happiness that comes from doing it God’s way and not pursuing the temporary and toxic pleasures of sin.
If Christ has died for me – ungodly as I am, without strength as I am – then I can no longer live in sin, but must arouse myself to love and serve Him who has redeemed me. I cannot trifle with the evil that killed my best Friend. I must be holy for his sake. How can I live in sin when He has died to save me from it?
Look to the cross, and hate your sin, for sin nailed your Well Beloved to the tree. Look up to the cross, and you will kill sin, for the strength of Jesus’ love will make you strong to put down your tendencies to sin.
Sin comes to us, taps us on the shoulder or tugs at our shirttail and whispers in our ear: “You deserve better than what God has provided. He’s holding out on you. You deserve to feel good about yourself. I’ll affirm you in a way no one else can. Why live in misery any longer? Come to me. I’ll give you a sense of power you’ve never known before. I’ll expand your influence. I’ll fill your heart with a sense of accomplishment. I’ll nourish your soul. You’ve never had a physical rush like the one I’ve got in store for you. Obeying God is boring. It’s a pain. He’s always telling you to do stuff that’s difficult and burdensome and inconvenient or ordering you to forsake the few things that really bring you happiness. Come on. You’ve only got one life. Obedience is ugly. My way is fun. My way feels good.”