“Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God’s grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God’s grace.” – Jerry Bridges
When was the last time you told someone you fell into that one sin you have been trying to overcome?
Didn’t you feel ashamed to admit that? What was their response? “Try harder.” “Do you have enough blocks up?” “Reach out to me if you need help.” “How are you keeping your mind on Christ and his Word?” The list could go on and on.
Isn’t it the worst when you have an amazing time reading God’s Word and praying; only to fall to sin within the next three hours? We struggle all the time and we determine to finally kill that sin in our lives. Our determination is to tattoo on ourselves John Owens’ famous quote: “Be killing sin or sin will be killing you.”
However, have we forgotten something? In our mission to kill sin, have we ended up killing grace?
Colossians 3:5-10 is our battle cry as we march head on into killing the sin in our lives.
When you take aim, what appears in the scope? Lying, pornography, stealing, alcoholism, lust? What is that enemy you wish would bleed out and leave you alone?
We hear God’s Word telling us to put to death sin. Yet, how do we do that? Internet blockers? Accountability partners? Scripture memory? These are all good things.
When thinking of how we look at killing sin I came across this scene from Family Guy (watch here). This is how the world portrays people fighting “vices/evil/sins” in their lives. We may not do this whole musical number, but don’t we hear sermons about the evils of this certain sin or that certain sin? Is it wrong to preach on sins? No. However, what are the applications? Example: when we hear sermons on pornography, isn’t accountability partners and internet filters and Bible memory always mentioned?
However, are these things found in Ephesians 6:10-18? Are we really fighting against Jack Daniels, Porn Hub, crack dealers, and others? Our battle is with powers unseen. Therefore, since our battle is with the evil powers unseen, then we need weapons to fight with. An internet filter can help block inappropriate content, but can it truly defeat the sin in our lives? We cannot use the armor of man’s inventions. We need God’s armor. God’s armor does not originate from us or in things we can create. Instead, it is from him. We need to put on his way to fight sin in our lives. Our fight begins with realizing where the battle really lies – in the spiritual realm.
Killing sin is commanded in Scripture, but when taken too far we end up relying on our own methods and ultimately killing God’s greatest gift to us…
Why did Jesus come to earth, die a horrific death, and rise again from the grave?
Was it to give you a certificate of authentic heavenly real estate?
Hebrews 2:14-15 tells us Jesus became one of us to destroy the power of sin and Satan for us to be set free from the fear and punishment of death. He set us free from the oppressive slavery of sin.
Mark 2:17 demonstrates Jesus’ own words claiming he came to bring repentance and healing to sinners. John 12:46 gives Jesus’s purpose of coming to bring people out of darkness into his marvelous light.
When we look at our own salvation, we need to start here. Jesus did not come for you to obtain a heavenly mansion just over the hilltop. Jesus came to set you free and to be with him forever. He came to give you grace. Ephesians 2:8-9 calmly teaches us grace is how we are saved. It is not of our own doing. Salvation is of grace. Amen? But, how do we live finishing out the context of Ephesians 2:8-9 as seen in verse 10? It is not only God’s grace that saves us, but God’s grace prepares the good for us to do.
God knows our hearts are more wicked and sinful than we could ever know. There is not one medical scan that could reveal all of it. He saw you for the thousandth time falling into sin, and he provided a way for you to be free: Jesus. He promised this in 1 John 2:1-2. Jesus is our advocate. This is why we can freely confess sins and come boldly to the throne of grace – not the throne of trying harder (I John 1:9; Hebrews 4:16)
When we try to kill sin without relying on the grace of God, we end up killing his work in our lives. Our sanctification becomes our boasting; not boasting in the grace of Jesus. If we can, honestly, kill sin in our lives by ourselves, then why did Jesus come?
Fighting Sin Through Grace
Fighting sin is never easy. It is a struggle everyday. We are tempted to use our own methods to fight. Yet, God tells us in Titus 2:11-12 his grace is what teaches us to resist sin. If we want to truly fight sin, then we need to learn God’s grace. It is not a grace of standards, rules, and trying harder. God’s grace is lovingly dying in our place so we can be truly forgiven. When we understand that the hold of sin on our lives begins to slip.
It’s easy to beat ourselves up when we fall into sin. But, that isn’t living in God’s grace. Living each day in God’s grace is learning to think what God thinks about you, seeing his redeeming riches in your life, and fully seeing that he has set you free. When we truly learn that, we live in a way that does not abuse grace, but honors the grace bestowed on us through Christ.
Yes, we are commanded to kill sin in our lives. We need to put sin to death. Yet, we cannot do it in our own determination. We need Jesus and we need his grace each step of the way. We will not stop sinning till we see Jesus face to face.
This is why John Newton wrote in “Amazing Grace”:
‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far
And grace will lead me home.
One thought on “Killing Sin Killing Grace”
Interesting. I recently read a book about unwanted sexual behaviors (“Unwanted” by Jay Stringer). He’s a pastor and counselor. His basic tenet is the same: it’s useless to fight an unwanted behavior without also looking into the root causes behind it, and it’s futile to only aim at stopping a behavior without filling the hole, so to speak, with a good, healthy counterpart behavior. You can only kill forgiven sins. We start with grace.
May we always find the way of Grace.