Sunday, April 21, 2013

Killing Sin, Part 2

Mortification of Sin

Mortification = put to death, kill.
Sin = to miss the standards of the way of righteousness.

“If by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live (Romans 8:13).”

Reference: John Owen: The Mortification of Sin: "Suffice it so say," Packer recalls, "that without Owen I might well have gone off my head or got bogged down in mystical fanaticism.”

It is reported that that Packer thought about taking his life during this period he was so overcome with confusion on how to deal with the pressure of perfectionism.
1. No perfectionism

Believers have died to sin (Romans 6:1ff) because they are united to the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Also, we have been transformed – we have a new heart – desires to love and obey God (Ex. 36:26). However, believers still have to battle sin. Sin ‘dwells in our members (Romans 7:24).’ The flesh lusts against the Spirit so that we cannot do the things we should (Gal. 5:17).’ ‘Sin clings closely (Hebrews 12:1).’ It is always hanging on, right by us; when we want to do good, evil lies close at hand (Romans 7:21).

“From the days of Job and David to the present day, the holiest men have been the most ready to acknowledge and deplore the existence and power of indwelling sin (Charles Hodge).”

Thus, a mark of spiritual insight and maturity is recognizing the reality and fierceness of this battle, i.e., not trifling with sin. A truly spiritually mature man can say: “I am sold under sin (Romans 7:14).”

The believer, though a new person in Christ, deals with these realities concerning sin:
1) Sin dwells in our members. We carry around with us a ‘deadly companion (Lundgaard).’
2) At times, we are unable to do the good we should.
3) Sin is close at hand whenever we want to do good.
4) There is an internal war. Maturity recognizes we are in a battle. Rather, the battle is within us.

Sin = a living, personal enemy in the book of Romans; an evil in our members waiting to pounce. See verses in Romans on back. Members: limb: a member of the human body: arms, legs. Unique component of a body.
We have met the enemy and he is us (Pogo); we have met the enemy and he is within us.

1) Don’t despair: the hatred of sin is a work of God’s grace! The battle is a sign of life.
Illus: Elizabeth Prentiss despairing in later life over the influence of perfection teaching, i.e. you can come to a point where you no longer sin in this life.
2) Take sin seriously. Keep fighting as long as you live; because as long as you live sin will put up a fight. 
3) Show forbearance to other Christians: just as God shows forbearance to you.

2. Christians are called to kill (mortify) sin.

Romans 6:1-4: What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
Romans 6:10-11: For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. NOTE: The message of Romans 6: This is who you are – now live like who you are.

“I recall many conversations with Joe Hallett who came out of the homosexual life and lived among us with AIDS for 10 years and died a few years ago. He never tired of saying: Do not say "I am a homosexual." Say rather, "I struggle with homosexual desires." That was not a superficial mind over matter trick. It was a profound Biblical insight into Romans 6 and 7: In Christ our old selves have died – whatever their distortion and corruption – and we are decisively and irrevocably new. In Christ Jesus homosexual, fornicator, adulterer, covetous, thief, alcoholic, are not who we truly are. Affirm that by faith in Christ. Trust him as your all-satisfying treasure and look to him for the help to become (as much as possible in this life) who you truly are in Christ (John Piper).”

Colossians 3:5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

2 Corinthians 7:1: Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of flesh and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.

Understanding our Enemy:
Romans 7:7
What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” The law makes us aware of sin.
Romans 7:8 But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. The law and sin: fatal combination.
Romans 7:9
I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. Sin comes alive.
Romans 7:11
For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. Sin is a deceiver and a killer.
Romans 7:13
Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure.
Romans 7:14
For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. Wow! Amazing words from Apostle Paul.
Romans 7:17
So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. When we sin as believers we do what we don’t want to. Sin dwells within. Sin is the mischievous culprit.
Romans 7:20
Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
Romans 7:23
but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Sin is not only active, but conquering, imprisoning. The Christian is a miserable captive at times. “The strength of sin is increased with every voluntary  evil act (Hodge).”
Romans 7:25
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
Sin is a ‘law’
Law = power, constraint, control, authority (Lundgaard); Paul has been writing earlier about the law of God which should rule over our lives; instead – often the law of sin seems to have sway.

Sin is deceitful: Hebrews 3:13; Titus 3:3; Ephesians 4:22; thus we need to watch out for sin’s treachery; not take things at face value: THINK before we act; how many times, in the flurry of a moment been certain that an action was absolutely right, that we had no choice but to make a certain comment, for example, and then later said: How could I have been so silly? We were deceived! Sin is like a hook with a worm on it; we are the fish; we are deceived into biting into the worm only to realize the consequences and reality later. So, one of the key ways to battle sin is to be thoughtful Christians. For example, sins of speech should be combatted by taking time to think about what we say: “The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil (Proverbs 15:28).”

So, to sum up: the Christian must believe and think if we are to mortify sin and live to God!!!

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