Killing your Sin

When a person becomes a Christian the dominion (power; control; authority) of sin has been broken. However, sin’s presence and influence can never be totally abolished in this life. While the nature of sin does not change in salvation, its status in us is radically altered. Sin no longer controls the believer. However, we must be ever on our guard in fighting our sin with the daily goal of killing our sin with every fiber of our mind, emotions and will. What does it mean to be killing our sin and why are we do it?

What does “Killing your Sin mean? Mortification. Putting to death. To separate yourself (soul and body) from sin. To mortify. To bring the body and its passions in subjection to self-denial or discipline.

Killing. This means to deprive of life or vitality; to put to death; to cause the death of. The word “killing” is carefully chosen. It is a present active participle. By definition, this word form indicates a present, ongoing activity of killing. It is something the subject is to do and to continually do upon the object. The subject is you and me. The object is sin. The action is killing.

Your. Personal possessive pronoun. What is being constantly killed by the subject belongs to the subject. The sin(s) in question belongs to you.

Sin. What is sin? Sin means wickedness, iniquity, depravity, immorality and evil against God and other people. Other defining words include committing a crime, a transgression, a wrong of an offense. The Word of God, the Bible, defines sin as a transgression. Sin is not only doing what is wrong, but it is also failing to do what is right.

How do we know if we are failing to daily kill our sin? What are some symptoms indicating that we are not doing our part? The great Puritan John Owen set forth these diagnostic observations:

  • When sin possesses our imagination and thought process. In short, when we think about sinning and want to fulfill it, we are not killing our sin. Rather than a temptation that afflicts us, it is a temptation that thrills us.
  • When our greatest affection is a love for the world rather than a love for God. I John 2:15-17 describes the love of the world as a lust of the flesh, a lust of the eyes and a boastful pride of life.  
  • When prayer, worship, fellowship with other believers, reading and meditating upon God’s Word are all but ignored.
  • When we compartmentalize our sin. We may acknowledge a sin, but ignore other sins in our life.
  • Having a hardened heart. This is a loss of tenderness in response to the Word of God, no sense of power from the Holy Spirit, and a loss of being displeased with their sin against God and others.
  • When one is satisfied with an empty profession of faith, while at the same time justifying all manner of sin.
  • When the only restraint against sinning are the potential consequences of sin rather than God’s displeasure with sin.

Why should Christians be concerned with killing their sin on a daily basis? We will explore this issue tomorrow. Until then, Soli deo Gloria!