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Killing Sin

John Piper’s mother wrote this in his Bible when he was fifteen years old, “This book will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from this book.” John Owen had a similar axiom, based on Romans 8:13, “Be killing sin or [sin] will be killing you.” Piper’s own words on these two statements are instructive, “We… see that these two mottos are very closely connected, because Romans 8:13 says that we are to be putting sin to death by the Spirit: “If by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live” — and what is the instrument of death wielded by the Spirit? The answer is given in Ephesians 6:1: “the sword of the Spirit, the word of God.” This book (The Bible) will keep you from sin — this book will kill sin.”


Our society interprets these axioms with an ironic twist. What was intended to bring peace to Jesus' followers, as they put to death the deeds of the flesh, is thought to breed doubt. There is an insistence that such mentalities about sin only make people feel bad. Modern consensus would have people doing good and being good, but let’s not talk about sin, it makes you feel guilty. 


This isn’t the only view our society has on sin, there are many colors in this spectrum. Some professing Christians would love to hate sin. But it isn’t their own sin they hate. Making another person's sin the issue, while ignoring their own is a problem. It is evident when judges with evil thoughts wag their heads in religious pretense. 


Significantly, for the genuine believer, is the reality of hating one’s own sin.  Like Paul, we must recognize ourselves as a chief among sinners 1 Tim 1:15. The biblical pattern for such a thought leads us to faith-filled rejoicing in His forgiveness 1 Tim 1:16, 17. 


Inevitably this leads us to humble adoration and a large measure of humility in Christ. Christians reckon they’ve been forgiven, rejoicing in the gift of God in Christ Jesus. By faith the follower of Christ calls others away from their sin without a sneering judgment. This plea is with a broken heart for the lost, and a call to turn from the pit of destruction into the arms of a merciful Savior. 

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