On Wednesday we looked at the first three steps in the process of slaying sin: (1) Knowing that we have been crucified with Christ; (2) Cultivating a hatred for sin; and (3) Confessing our sins. Today we will delve into the final three steps.
Step #4 – Cultivate the spirit of fighting against sin
In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. (Hebrews 12:4)
The writer of Hebrews acknowledged the persecution his readers were facing, but he made it clear that it did not rise to the level of what Jesus faced when nailed to the cross. We must fight against sin, therefore, knowing that Jesus fought the ultimate battle for us on the cross. In his classic work, The Mortification of Sin, Puritan pastor John Owen wrote, “Be killing sin, or sin will be killing you.” Owen’s language is as strong as it is true! We must cultivate the spirit of fighting against sin every moment of every day.
Step #5 – Cultivate the spirit of fleeing from sin
She caught [Joseph] by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house. (Genesis 39:12)
Sometimes the best defense against sin is simply to run away from it! It worked beautifully for Joseph. Joseph had been sold into slavery in Egypt by his brothers and was serving in the house of Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials. Potiphar’s wife was trying to get Joseph to commit adultery, but Joseph refused, saying “How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9). Day after day, she tried to seduce Joseph. When sin was quite literally clutching at Joseph, he chose to flee from this dread temptation. Joseph left his cloak but kept his character.
Step #6 – Carry Scripture in your heart
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:11)
When Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into His wilderness experience, He overcame the temptations of the devil by quoting Scripture. “It is written,” He said. And again . . . “It is written” . . . And again . . . “It is written!” Satan finally gave up and left Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11). What a powerful picture of the protection that the Bible provides against the Evil One! We must carry Scripture in our hearts because we will not always have a Bible with us, much less the time to look up a passage. We must marinate in Scripture and meditate on it; the more we do, the more we will have “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17) ready at hand to fight against sin.
So . . . how are you doing in your daily struggle against sin? Remember, keep the cross of Christ in view, and you will experience more and more victory over sin. Greater is the power that is in you than any power that can come against you!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!