Sin is an extremely dangerous foe. I think there is a good chance that Christians underestimate the power and influence of sin. Yes, we mention it in our churches and talk about the final consequences of a life given over to sin. But what measures are we taking to not only distance ourselves from sin but eradicate it from our lives? How are we encouraging one another as a body of believers to desire Christ more than we desire sin? How are we protecting one another as a community from the temptations and traps of sin? These questions are worth asking. These tasks are worth pursuing.
Sin is deceptive. It is a cold blooded killer seeking to destroy everything you love and cherish. It should not be taken lightly. I believe that serious thinking toward sin would bear good fruit in our lives. John Owen certainly believed so. In his book The Mortification of Sin, Owen seeks to expose sin for what it truly is and encourage Christians to take up the task of killing it. He bases this exhortation on Romans 8:13. “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” The desire of the flesh is sin. To live according to the flesh is to live in submission to sin. “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God” and remain separated from Him (Romans 8:1-8). Separation leads to despair and eternal death. It is a serious matter. This is especially true considering that we have been set free from sin as children of God (Romans 6:17).
What makes sin even more dangerous is its ability to work in any situation. It capitalizes on a moment of weakness. It can sour a good act by twisting motives. It is like a drug in that it numbs us to the very thing that ends up destroying us. While doing all of these things, sin makes it convenient for us to forget about the goodness of God and his grace. Owen sums it up nicely.
As sin weakens, so it darkens the soul. It is a cloud, a thick cloud, that spreads itself over the face of the soul, and intercepts all the beams of God’s love and favor. It takes away all sense of the privilege of our adoption; and if the soul begins to gather up thoughts of consolation, sin quickly scatters them: of which afterward.
And sin does not just place a dark rain cloud over our light filled souls. It replaces our desire for God with a desire for sin. It convinces us that our affections are better suited for everything else besides God.
It untunes and unframes the heart itself by entangling its affections. It diverts the heart from the spiritual frame that is required for vigorous communion with God; it lays hold on the affections, rendering its object beloved and desirable, so expelling the love of the Father (1 John 2:15; 3:17); so that the soul cannot say uprightly and truly to God, “You are my portion,” having something else that it loves.
I hope that you will understand the purpose of this post. I want to encourage you to turn away from sin and toward the Savior, Jesus Christ. Owen’s book has been instrumental in opening my eyes to the concept of actively killing my sin. Sin is serious. The stakes can not be higher. If you do not kill sin in your life, it will kill you. I pray that your affections will be given to Christ alone. I pray that you will see God’s grace and love as your most precious possession. When all things pass away, it is only thing you will have left.