04 December 2014

Sin: Kill or Be Killed

by Dan Phillips

From 2006 to 2012, PyroManiacs turned out almost-daily updates from the Post-Evangelical wasteland -- usually to the fear and loathing of more-polite and more-irenic bloggers and readers. The results lurk in the archives of this blog in spite of the hope of many that Google will "accidentally" swallow these words and pictures whole.

This feature enters the murky depths of the archives to fish out the classic hits from the golden age of internet drubbings.

The following excerpt was written by Dan back in October 2010. Dan reminded us that we are at war with Sin.

As usual, the comments are closed.
Let's suppose that at least some Biblical reality has come to bear on us. Perhaps we fled for a time, jumping at shadows,  knowing no real peace of mind (Proverbs 28:1a). Perhaps we tried blame-shifting (1 Kings 18:17), or lashing out (1 Samuel 20:30) or vain, nauseating shows of religion (Proverbs 28:9Isaiah 1:12-20). But now the Holy Spirit has arrested us. The Holy Spirit has brought days and nights of misery (Psalm 32:3-4). He has used the word, spoken His "Thou art the man" (2 Samuel 12:7), and His word struck home to our heart.

But what now? We begin to see the sin as God sees it. We admit to God that it is sin, agreeing with Him.


The element I have in mind is mortification. It is dealing absolute, final, howling death to that specific sin, from its root to its branches. It is seeing it dead, dealing death to it, killing it, depriving it of all means of life and burying it.

Our objective must not be to wound sin, nor to weaken sin, nor to hamper nor cripple sin — but to kill it, to put it to deathIt is we who are commanded to do it, and so we must do it. To give it no thought, or to shrug it off on God, is to thumb our nose in God's face. Yet...

We cannot do it unaided, but can only do it by the Holy Spirit's aid.

This is the Christian life.  It is characteristic of being a Christian. The many, many folks who isolate Rom 8:14 and try to fabricate some mythology of living by semi-revelation do great violence to the context. Let me set it out like this:
  1. To be a son of God is, definitionally, to be led by the Spirit. Being Spirit-led is not a subset among Christians. The two sets (sons-of-God and Spirit-led) are co-extensive.
  2. To be led by the Spirit is to put to death the deeds of the body.
  3. To put to death the deeds of the body is to live according to the Spirit, rather than the flesh.
At least a few of you are shouting "Owen! Owen!" at your monitors. So here indeed is the great man, on this passage, in words of gold that might well be written on the front page of anyone's Bible:
Do you mortify;
do you make it your daily work;
be always at it while you live;
cease not a day from this work;
be killing sin or it will be killing you (p. 47, Overcoming Sin and Temptation; Crossway Books: 2006, Kelly M. Kapic and Justin Taylor [emphases added])
So dash all rationalizations and equivocations and evasions and minimalizations. Burn all bridges. Disown! Flee! Kill! Ask God to help you to hate that sin as He hates sin. Would you be content to share your bed with just a few potato-bugs, or have just a little dog dung on your ice cream? Ask God to help you see what you did to your spouse, your friend, your parents, your children, your neighbor — ask Him to help you see it as He sees it. Find the root of it in your heart. Pour spiritual Round-up on it, kill it dead, all of it, roots to branches. Don't rest, don't think it's done, until it's gone, and all traces renounced, disowned, dead by your own hand.

This is part of what it means to "put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires" (Romans 13:14).