“Be killing sin, or sin will be killing you.”
John Owen, 1656
Though penned centuries ago, Owen’s words still ring as true today as they did in the aftermath of the Reformation. His words speak of a spiritual discipline that is often excluded from the common Christian vernacular. His words are strong, but entirely aligned to Paul’s use of language when regarding sin.
Romans 8:13 says, “for if you live according to the flesh, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”
Colossians 3:5 adds, “Therefore, put to death what belongs to your worldly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry.”
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 pushes the point further by saying, “Don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be deceived: No sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, or anyone practicing homosexuality, no thieves, greedy people, drunkards, verbally abusive people, or swindlers will inherit God’s kingdom.”
These are but three examples of literature that Paul and other New Testament writers use frequently.
The point? Sin is serious.
Paul uses strong language here. He says that those who live according to the flesh will die. Those who practice immoral things will not inherit God’s kingdom. And the Christian ought to put to death all things that are worldly.
Be killing sin, or it will be killing you.
I do not wish that sin would replace conversations about Christ, but only enhance them. For the cross will only be as glorious as sin is serious.
Our view of sin totally informs our view of the cross. If we see sin as offensive, ugly, the ultimate rebellion against God, then the cross can only drive us to our knees in audacious wonder of the grace of God.
However, if sin is something that is not that big of a deal, then the cross, consequently, is not such a big deal either.
The cross can only be as glorious as your view of sin is serious.
So just how serious is sin?
Consider this, sin is the reason we live in a fallen world. All the wars, the cancer, the natural disasters, the broken families – all this is a result of sin. But not just sin in general, but the result of one sin.
In the garden of Eden, it only took one bite of the forbidden fruit to sin against God and initiate the fall from grace. Consider that! Only one bite – one measly little bite – changed the entire course of the world from one totally united to God to one totally under the effect of sin.
Only one bite did that, and yet how many thousands of bites would it take to equal the sin we have committed! Do you follow me? Do you see the seriousness of sin? This is why the cross is so beautiful! Sin is more serious than our minds can comprehend, and yet God is willing to forgive us for our sins as we repent and place our faith in Jesus and His atoning work on the cross.
Yet, our view of sin cannot stop at the cross. It must go beyond that to understand that the Christian is called to kill sin – to utterly destroy it. If not, sin will destroy you, your family, your career; every good thing that God has given you can be destroyed by sin.
My prayer is that upon understanding the extreme seriousness of sin, you see the extreme graciousness of God, and begin a pursuit of killing sin in your own life. God has called us to be holy, so let us be holy in destroying all unholy things in our life.
Ricky is a writer and speaker with an urgent passion to help others learn how to live obedient lives before God. When he is not working, he spends his time reading, long boarding, and watching Netflix with Stephanie, the woman he somehow convinced to marry him.