In a conversation with a friend we began to discuss what a church needed. Of course numerous items were discussed and many dogmatic statements made. Among the list of things named, one I found interesting was the need for personal holiness in the pastor and the leadership. View a brief history of the current condition of the church and witness the need for godly men to lead the church. An obvious and blaring discrepancy is evident in the proclamation to walk by faith, as pastors and leaders raise to stardom and fall to immoral behavior, among other ill deeds of ungodliness. Preachers of grace must understand that grace is not a license for wickedness, but a call to holiness.

My journey since that conversation has been difficult, as I have taken that challenge my friend issued to me with great zeal. My zeal has been lesser or greater at times. I have felt like a puritan at times, only to reject my own legalistic tendencies, while at other times taking drastic measure to be holy as the one who called me is holy. Apart from Christ I stand as a dismal failure. In Christ I am being sanctified by the Spirit, putting to death the deeds of the body, as I’m led by the Spirit of God.

Recently a young man in our church asked me to read a book with him. The book is John Owen’s The Mortification of Sin. Reading this book brought to mind a sermon I had preached a few years ago titled 14 Ways to Kill Sin. That message was affected by John Piper’s sermons on how to kill sin, yet it still remains my labor in the Word of God seeking to find out ways to actually be holy in Christ, that I might walk in a manner worthy of the gospel call. In reading John Owen’s book I am beginning to realize how much my sermon, and habit to mortify sin, has also been affected by Owen.

So, in finding these points helpful for the mortification of the flesh, I hope that you might find them the same.

14 Ways To Kill Sin

Trust in the promises of God

  • By trusting in the promises of God, Christians are exercising faith. By faith in Jesus they have been brought into union with him, having been redeemed and justified by God. Believers have the Spirit of God in them giving them the ability to wage war against sin by means of the indwelling Spirit. (Rom 8:5-13)

Recognize the old man is dead (Rom 6:11)

  • By faith believers are in union with Christ. By faith they are dead to sin and alive to God. The old man is dead and those in Christ are alive to God, by his spirit able to do revealed will.

Recognize sin’s presence (Rom 7:21)

  • Christians are dead to sin and alive to God, (Rom 8:10) but they are still in the body, which is dead because of sin. They are no longer debtors to the flesh but retain contact and relationship with the flesh.
  • Identifying the enemy so that one can eliminate the enemy is crucial. One cannot kill what they do not recognize.
  • Christians don’t ignore sin or justify it—as humans excel in this area—but recognize sin and deal with it.

Cultivate a hatred for sin (Rom 7:25)

  • One will not kill what one loves or kill one’s friend. Hate evil and love what is good, (Amos 5:15)

Cultivate a desire for God (Ps 37:4; 73:25-26)

  • A heart fixed upon God is going to love the things of God and hate things contrary to God. A heart that desires God, longs for God, and thirsts for God will put to death the deeds of the flesh.

Cultivate obedience to God (Ps 119:5-6)

  • By seeking to obey the commandments of the Lord by the power of the Spirit, a child of God will kill sin.

Cultivate the mind of Christ

  • Believers are told to have this mind among them (Phil 2:5-8). Jesus became obedient to the point of death on the cross, condemned sin in the flesh (Rom 8:3). His followers are also to cultivate this mind, becoming obedient to the point of killing the deeds of the flesh.
  • To cultivate the mind of Christ is to develop mental habits such as mind renewal (Rom 12:2), and meditation upon the things of God (Phil 4:8). Both lead one to kill sin by the power of the Spirit.

Commune with God daily (1 Thess 5:16-18; Heb 4:16)

  • Children of God are commanded to pray without ceasing, in all places continuously communing with God in prayer. The discipline of praying involves confession and petitioning the Spirit for the power to kill sin.

Meditate upon God’s Word daily (Ps 119:11; Ps 1:1-3)

  • Faith comes from hearing the Word of God, and anything done without faith is sin (Rom 10:17; 14:23). Sin is killed when God’s Word feeds faith’s appetite for God. Walking daily by faith comes through daily hearing the Word of God.

Fellowship with the saints daily

  • Hebrew 3:13 teaches that believers are to, “…exhort one another everyday, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” Fellowship is a sharpening process, which is a sin-killing process. As Christians confess sins one to another, they help restore those who have fallen into transgression, (Gal 6:1-3; James 5:16).

Run the race to win, fight the good fight of faith

  • 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 portrays the life of a Christian as running a race; 1 Timothy 4:8 portrays it is as a fight. Christians battle sin, wage war against sin, fight the good fight against sin, running the good race against sin.

Long for future glory (Rom 5:2)

  • 1 John 3:3 proclaims that though Christians do not know what they will become, as children of God, they are assured they will take on a family resemblance. In this they have hope that when he appears, they shall be like him because they shall see him as he is. Children of God purify themselves in this hope, as their father is pure.

Depend upon the Spirit (Rom 8:13; Eph 6:17)

  • Putting on the armor of God is part of killing sin. Part of that armor is the sword of the Spirit, on which a believer must depend. Swords are meant to kill things; the sword of the Spirit is to be wielded against the enemies of darkness. The sword of the Spirit is the Word.

Wage a violent war against sin

  • Matt 18:8, 9—“And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.” Kill it! Cut it off! Throw it away! KILL SIN!

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