Your session will end in  seconds due to inactivity. Click here to continue using this web page.

How to Slay Sin, Part 1

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

If you’ve been with us the last couple of posts, you know sin is your enemy. You understand it lurks deep within your members, warring against your soul, seeking to ambush you at your most vulnerable moment. You’ve experienced its power and treachery many times.

You would agree with Paul when he says you’re under obligation to put all remaining sin to death—to kill it (Rom. 8:13; Col. 3:5). You know that too.

But what you may not know is…how. How do you slay sin?

These remaining posts address that question. This is how you slay sin.

First, understand your true position as a Christian. This is a call to think biblically about the way you relate to sin. Miss this vital first step, and the rest will be nothing but a self-improvement exercise.

Study the Bible carefully and you’ll notice Scripture rarely calls you to practice a specific behavior without first laying down some kind of theological foundation or framework. That was especially clear in Paul’s epistles, the transition from doctrine to duty, belief to behavior (cf. Rom. 12:1; Gal. 5:1; Eph. 4:1; Phil. 2:1; Col. 3:5; 1 Thess. 4:1). Practice follows position, application flows out of sound theology.

That’s what you see as Paul develops the doctrine of mortification in the book of Romans. Before you learn anything about the struggle you face as a Christian, before you hear the call to put that sin to death, you first learn how you should view sin. Here’s how that section begins in chapter 6:

Our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves of sin; for he who has died is freed from sin (vv. 6-7).

Notice the syllogism in that verse, Paul’s argument. Major premise: all those who die with Christ are free from sin. Minor premise: you died with Christ. Conclusion: you are free from sin.

Free. From. Sin.

Let that truth settle in your mind, Christian. Christ triumphed over your sin, and because of your union with Him, His victory becomes your victory. That’s the reason you see the phrase “with Christ” throughout that entire section. You’ve been crucified with Christ, buried with Christ, and raised with Christ. With Christ means you are united with Him and in Christ you have participated in everything He accomplished.

The extent of your freedom becomes clear in Romans 6:11: “Consider yourself dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Don’t miss the powerful point in that verse. It has huge implications for how you fight against sin. You are free from sin (v. 7); you are dead to sin (vv. 7, 11); you are alive to God in Christ.

Let me ask you this question: What difference does that perspective make when sin ambushes you? Do you think it would be to your advantage, at the moment of temptation, to see yourself as free from sin? What power does a dead, defeated enemy have over you?

I hope you see how that makes all the difference in the world. That’s why Paul continues in verse 12, saying, “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts.” Sin is a conquered foe. Don’t let it return to power in your life.

That’s the vital first step to slaying sin in your life—don’t give sin any power. By God’s grace, by the power of the Spirit who indwells you, you call the shots in your life, you choose what you will and will not think about. You’re not a victim here. You’re not the defeated enemy here, sin is. Treat it like the cowering, quivering captive it is.

But you say, “Why does sin seem so strong?” Because you’ve been accustomed to thinking like a captive rather than a victor. You’ve been used to thinking like a slave of sin rather than a slave of Christ and righteousness. If you understand who you really are in Christ, you undermine sin’s ability to deceive you and gain a foothold in your life.

You were once enslaved to sin. It owned and controlled you. But now, because of Christ you’re free from it and dead to it. He purchased you out of the slave market of sin and made you His slave. You are now in Christ.

That’s your position as a Christian. Understand and enjoy it. That’s step one in slaying sin. Step two, coming soon…

Tommy Clayton
Content Developer and Broadcast Editor


#2  Posted by Paul Dresvyannikov  |  Tuesday, February 15, 2011at 7:44 PM

Very, very true. Wonderful post Mr.Clayton! I enjoyed reading this and refreshing myself with that amazing truth.

#3  Posted by Eugen Olsen  |  Tuesday, February 15, 2011at 11:59 PM

Thanks Tommy, a great post...

Clear, sound, solid theology under-girds the Christian life. If that is shaky, muddled, uncertain - if we are not sure what we believe - then we are 'tossed to and fro' and lose sight of our strength and salvation. Christ.

#4  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Wednesday, February 16, 2011at 5:16 AM

Jesus is our sin slayer. We no longer need of sacrifice of bulls and

lambs. I hadn't thought of it until this post help me understand clearly. Thanks.

But we still are in our flesh which has the fallen nature. Paul

mention that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

#5  Posted by Elmarie Swart  |  Wednesday, February 16, 2011at 12:43 PM

Wonderful reading the blog in the last couple of weeks. Thank you for the sound Biblical teachings, that is getting as scarce as "hens teeth" or seems to be like "finding a needle in a haystack" now a days.

blessings

#6  Posted by Douglas Grogg  |  Wednesday, February 16, 2011at 9:15 PM

As a youth, I used to trap animals. On one occasion I found a house cat in one of my traps. It was cowering and crouching as if it knew it had wandered too far from home. It probably didn’t understand how it got there, it just wanted out so that it might return home. Because it did not resist it was released unharmed. Whenever I read Galatians 6:1, that incident always comes to mind. On another occasion, when I was walking by a set that had never produced any results, a feral cat that was caught in my trap nearly tore my leg to shreds. They possessed two different natures.

Tommy begins this blog by addressing those who “know” sin as their enemy having “experienced its power and treachery many times”. He addresses them as those “who would agree with Paul when he says you’re under obligation to put all remaining sin to death—to kill it (Rom. 8:13; Col. 3:5). You know that too”. I would go on to describe an inward principal which is at work within them. I quote from the puritan Thomas Boston in his book “Repentance”.

“The man leaves his sin, not for the inferior motives only of danger to himself by it, but from the higher motives, namely, because it is offensive to God, dishonors his Son, grieves his Spirit, transgresses his law, and defaces his image. If your turning from sin proceeds not from these motives, God will never regard it as acceptable in his sight. It is done for self not for God; and God will never be the reward of that work of which he is not the end.” Biblical repentance is a gift, a grace, granted by God (2 Timothy 2:25). It possesses characteristics which can never be duplicated by the flesh. If these principals are at work within you, even though you may be “caught” in a trespass or transgression, you have reason to be encouraged. It is the work of God. He is the originator of that work and to the praise of the glory of His grace, He will complete that work.

There are others, however, who possess a different nature, they would “name and claim” promises which do not belong to them. Perhaps they want to be free from one sin which causes them much grief that they might take hold of yet another, whose pleasures are fresh and the consequences are yet future. They want to be free from wrath but want the pleasures of sin also. Again, I quote from Thomas Boston “…to whom Christ will be a Savior from wrath, he will be first a Savior from sin (Matthew 1:21). He will first give repentance, before he gives access to heaven; for Christ’s blood was never shed to bring dogs and swine into his Father’s house, but shed, ‘that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify to himself a peculiar people zealous of good works’ (Titus 2:4)”. “You must be born again”. –His Unworthy Slave

#7  Posted by Jane Wilson  |  Wednesday, February 16, 2011at 10:40 PM

Our position. Yes. I remember a dream I once had. I was running terrified away from a giant alligator type thing... up some steps, truly running for my life. When at the top of the steps, as the monster was fast approaching behind, I realized for the first time that I had on armor. For some reason I was not aware of it before. I reached down and pulled out the sword, and with a meager bit of faith, turned and faced the creature, holding my sword up and toward it. (I knew he was going to get to me anyway, as he was pursuing faster than I could run.) What happened next startled me more than anything. That hideous thing not only stopped, but turned and fled away so instantly (around a driveway of my childhood home) that I could not with my mortal eye capture it. I only saw the dust at his lightening retreat. And it was gone. I could not slay it, because it was no longer there! I remember the sigh of relief, and the new realization- looking at the sword, and at the sheild I was wearing, and being puzzled that I had not known they were there all the time. I could stand in my POSITION in Christ, WITH the tools enabling me to do the needful battle.

I don't think dreams are necessary to live a life of freedom in Christ. But this one REMINDED me of the truth already plain in God's Word. I needed to grasp it then, and I need reminded of it today. It is so true that if we do not know our position, and our tools IN CHRIST for the battle against sin and temptation, we either run in fear, or fall prey to sin. But if we understand, and with a mustard seed of faith, turn and face our enemy with that Sword... the Word of God, we can stand in His sufficiency for the battle. Then even as in this dream, the enemy actually acted far MORE terrified at that sight than I felt when I was running for my life. God give us grace to stand in our position in Christ for His glory.

#8  Posted by James Ross  |  Thursday, February 17, 2011at 2:07 AM

for me the victory over sin is a daily exercise for something that the Cross set us free
#9  Posted by Douglas Grogg  |  Thursday, February 17, 2011at 10:24 PM

Here is a quote that I hope will help give a greater understanding of the significance of a believer’s union with Christ. -His Unworthy Slave

“Union with Christ is the foundation of all spiritual blessings, so that if there had been no connection with Him, there could be no regeneration, no justification, no sanctification, no glorification …As it is for Christ’s sake that God bestows upon His people all the blessings of salvation, so according to His eternal constitution those blessings could only be enjoyed in a state of communion with Him…But the foundation of that vital, spiritual, and experimental union that the saints have with their Beloved in a time state and that they will enjoy forever in Heaven was laid by God in that mystical union that He established between the Mediator and His elect before the foundation of the world, when He appointed Him to be the Head and they the members of His Body--when God gave Christ to them and gave them to Christ in everlasting marriage.” A. W. Pink

#10  Posted by Kim M Dejong  |  Sunday, February 20, 2011at 8:58 AM

I really like the blog but just wondering how the scripture Phil. 2:1 tries in to this? My eyes aren't opened to that yet. Thank you.

#11  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Sunday, February 20, 2011at 2:39 PM

Kim:

Philippians 2:1 was simply a cross-reference in the article. I was listing examples of where Paul moved from doctrine to practice in his epistles. That’s all. Many others could have been included.

That particular verse says, Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.

Whenever you see the word “therefore” in a Pauline epistle, take note. It usually means he’s telling his readers how to apply the doctrine he just set forth.

That’s especially true in Romans 6:12, where Paul says, Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body. Without the previous 11 verses, we'd have no foundation to obey Paul instructions in verse 12.

I hope that helps.