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Thursday, February 24, 2011 | Comments (5)

Let’s take a look at step three in slaying sin: Fill your mind with Scripture.

John Bunyan, author of the classic Pilgrim’s Progress, wrote in the cover of his Bible, “Either this book will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from this book.” Bunyan understood what many in the war against sin don’t—the Word of God is the weapon you simply cannot neglect.

Have you ever considered some of the symbols the Bible uses to describe itself? Scripture is called a light, hammer, fire, rock, mirror, milk, seed and water. Each highlights a unique characteristic of God’s Word, but by far the most memorable metaphor of the Bible is a sword (Ephesians 6:17). Any idea why?

God’s Word is sharp and able to penetrate effectively through thick layers of sin and hypocrisy. It can effortlessly slice through soul and spirit, laying bare the thoughts and intentions of your heart (Hebrews 4:12). It serves dual purposes in battle—deflecting blows from the enemy and inflicting wounds of its own (Matthew 4:1-11). As you handle God’s Word and experience more of its power, both your skill and confidence will increase (Hebrews 5:14). See the parallels?

Here’s one more you may not have considered. In the Bible, a sword often symbolizes execution (Matthew 26:52; Romans 13:4,). It’s an instrument of death—a killing device. Before the electric chair, the gas chamber, or lethal injection, governments would use a sword to carry out the death sentence. The imagery is powerful.

If you want to carry out the death sentence on your sin, you need God’s help. Lay aside your puny, inadequate human weapons (2 Corinthians 10:4) and take up God’s mighty sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17). Remember, this battle is spiritual and you can kill sin only “by the Spirit” (Romans 8:13). You’re no match for sin, but sin is no match for the Holy Spirit. God’s Word is sufficient to the task. It’s the greatest spiritual resource you have, Christian, and it boasts of an utterly unique identity. The Holy Spirit authors it (2 Peter 1:21), empowers it (1 Thessalonians 1:5), and interprets it (2 Peter 1:20). Scripture is your quintessential spiritual weapon, forged by God Himself.

Since God’s Word is the single most powerful weapon you possess, to neglect or ignore it is absurd:

A pilot without his chart, a scholar without his book, and a soldier without his sword, are alike ridiculous. But, above all these, it is absurd for one to think of being a Christian, without knowledge of the word of God and some skill to use this weapon. - William Gurnall, The Christian in Complete Armour

Consider the central role God’s Word must play in a life of the godly: The psalmist began his book on worship by contrasting the godly man with the ungodly. What set them apart? Consider the godly man. “His delight is in the Law of the LORD, and in His Law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water” (Psalm 1:2-3). Here are some other familiar verses from the Psalms, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it, according to Your Word” (Psalm 119:9); “Your Word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You” (Psalm 119:11).

Does that describe your life? Are you firmly planted; is your way pure? Delighting in, meditating upon, treasuring up, and keeping God’s Word are what separate those who are killing sin from those who are being killed by it.

John MacArthur has said:

No believer has excuse for not knowing and understanding God’s Word. Every believer has God’s own Holy Spirit within Him as his own divine teacher of God’s divine Word. Our only task is to submit to His instruction by studying the Word with sincerity and commitment. We cannot plead ignorance or inability, only disinterest and neglect. -Ephesians, MacArthur New Testament Commentary, 372.

You can’t escape the New Testament’s various charges to be saturating your mind with the Word of God: “Let the Word of Christ dwell richly within you” (Col. 3:16). “Like newborn babes, long for the milk of the Word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation” (1 Peter 2:2). “Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21). “Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” (Ephesians 5:18-19).

Only Scripture is said to be profitable for “reproof, correction, and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). It’s the hammer that smashes rocky hearts; the fire that purifies tainted motives. Unleash Scripture on your sin, Christian. It knows exactly what to do—search and destroy (Psalm 139:23-24).

Filling your mind with Scripture is the most powerful measure you can take against indwelling sin. It will help you:

  • Anchor your hope in the gospel (1 John 1:9; 2:1)
  • Behold the beauties of Christ (Philippians 2:5-11)
  • Consider the horrors of hell (Matthew 5:29-30)
  • Set your sights on heaven (2 Timothy 4:8)
  • Cultivate a hatred for sin (Hebrews 3:12-13)
  • Understand the will of God (Ephesians 5:17)
  • Recall God’s promises of deliverance (Psalm 46:1)

So, let God’s Word fill, enrich, renew and control your thinking—or let sin. Either Scripture will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from Scripture.

Tommy Clayton
Content Developer and Broadcast Editor


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#1  Posted by Brian Jonson  |  Thursday, February 24, 2011 at 5:54 AM

Very well written, Tommy. I look forward to each new article. These principles are exactly what God has prescribed for our sanctification.

#2  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Thursday, February 24, 2011 at 4:52 PM

It's a blessing that we have a forgiving Creator. One God!! Thank

you, Jesus.

Awesome God!

I read the whole book of Psalms in one week and it inspires me.

I appreciate the blog.

When I do yard work in the summer. I have to pull the tares up for

they grow like crazy. They damage the siding of the house and good plants. Jesus is right that we must not have sin growing inside of us for sin would damage us. He is also right that we must not love two masters.

God bless.

#3  Posted by Eugen Olsen  |  Friday, February 25, 2011 at 3:35 AM

I have that saying by Bunyan in my Bible cover as well - and it is so true... When saturating the mind and heart with the Word, be it the example of history, the exhortation of the epistles, the prayers of the Psalms - each strike decisive blows to indwelling sin. Profound conviction, commanding repentance, assurance of forgiveness. Keep the Word close!

#4  Posted by Greg Corron  |  Friday, February 25, 2011 at 4:19 PM

Beautiful post. When I think of the years it took for me to realize the Bible is more than just a reference book or how-to manual for Christians, I cringe. By reading Prov. 1:21-33 daily, I finally understood that I needed God's knowledge in my mind with clarity and certainty, and I needed to love that knowledge. It will allow you to "dwell secure and be at ease, without dread of disaster."

#6  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Sunday, February 27, 2011 at 12:43 PM

Great topic Tommy Clayton, and very difficult to answer in few words.

Why did God cast Satan down on earth?

Why not the moon?

Was it a mistake?

No – God must stand alone as perfect in all, the one and only true God, and all to His glory, and for Salvation.

Man hates God because the Creator also is the judge, and some see God as a cosmic killjoy, as John MacArthur articulates it, but the Apostle Paul gives a fundamental insight, when he says, that in Christ we have all.

That is maybe the greatest truth given to the follower of Christ. I have been a Christian for so long, that I sometimes forget what a blessing it is to have the truth. I was reminded during the “Battle for the beginning” blog series, when an old colleague of mine was killed by gunshot. It was so tragic, but also the kind of story we read about almost every day in the newspaper: Family father killed at his new young lover by jealous ex-husband.

Sin kills. That has been the message from the beginning. Godless people have no protection from deadly errors. That is so fundamental to understand. God is not a killjoy, but a loving father, who tells His children how to live, and avoid deadly mistakes. Sure it involves avoiding things we not easily gives up. But realize that if you stubbornly walk your own way, the danger is that God gives you up, and gives you over to your own sinful lusts.

I saw an Atheist website, and that is exactly what happens without God. Everyone have his own opinion, no hope, no universal truth, no standards, and no rules.

When Christ no longer is all, then there is nothing.