Be Killing Sin, or It Will Be Killing Us

Name and Place for Tuesday, December 2 (’14)

In The Mortification of Sin, John Owen addresses the consequences of a professed believer neglecting to mortify their sin.  He says two groups are damaged by such neglect.

First, the individual who chooses peace with their sin. Namely, the abuse of the grace of God leads a person into lawlessness and they gradually becomeSunset-630x472 hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. All the while the believer is convinced that they are doing just fine. This willful ignorance leads to their demise (Hebrews 3:12-13 says this, too).

Second, the victims are our fellow believers around us. Owen explains:

To others. It hath an evil influence on them on a twofold account.

(1) It hardens them, by begetting in them a persuasion that they are in as good condition as the best professors. Whatever they see in them is so stained for want of this mortification that it is of no value with them. They have a zeal for religion; but it is accompanied with want of forbearance and universal righteousness. They deny prodigality, but with worldliness; they separate from the world, but live wholly to themselves, taking no care to exercise loving-kindness in the earth; or they talk spiritually, and live vainly; mention communion with God, and are every way conformed to the world; boasting of forgiveness of sin, and never forgiving others. And with such considerations do poor creatures harden their hearts in their unregeneracy.

(2) They deceive them,  in making them believe that if they can come up to their condition it shall be well with them; and so it grows an easy thing to have the great temptation of repute in religion to wrestle withal, when they may go far beyond them as to what appears in them, and yet come short of eternal life. But of these things and all the evils of unmortified walking, afterward (9).

When we surrender in the battle against the flesh, we forget that this is a battle we are fighting together as a church. By allowing ourselves to be deceived, to be seduced by sin, we make it easier for those around us to suffer a similar fate. We become blind guides, leading those who follow us into the ditch. We become like the pharisees, who crossed land and sea to make a single proselyte, to teach them the deadly external appearance of religion that has no internal spiritual effect (Matthew 23:15). The next time we hear the subtle whisper of our old self, eager to lead us into compromise, let us remember that we are not alone in the fight. Be killing sin, or it will be killing us.


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