Raised With Christ, Part III: Put to What is Earthly in You
John Owen said, “Be sin, or sin will be you.” That idea is exactly what we discussed in the third session, when we focused on Colossians 3:5-11.
Those of us who are in Christ have become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). When God looks at us, all He sees is Christ (more on that in my next post, Lord-willing). But there is a problem. Believers who have been covered in the righteousness of Christ do not tend to reflect that reality in their flesh. Many believers don’t look much different to the world. This is because of the power that sin still holds in our lives. Paul maintains that insofar as we kill the sin in our lives, we will be transformed to the likeness of Christ. We will become in our flesh what we already are because of Christ.
What does it mean to kill sin? The Bible gives us some ideas. We find a very violent story in Judges 4, about a woman who killed a man out of righteous anger, by driving a tent peg through his skull as he slept. Thomas (the speaker) said that in much the same way, we ought to be passionate about sin in our lives. Jesus said in Matthew 5:29, “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. The Bible is serious about sin, and we should be too. One of the signs that we are in Christ is that we want to kill sin in our lives. This is a very counter-cultural perspective. The world says sin doesn’t matter. The world says sin makes life more interesting. The world says sin will give you joy. God says, through Paul: PUT IT TO ! God says, through Paul: SIN WILL KILL YOU IF YOU DO NOT KILL IT FIRST. God wants to warn us of the danger of sin because He loves us.
One of the ways we kill sin is to not put ourselves in tempting situations. Some people think that to kill sin is to let the temptation come at us full-force and master it. But the Bible says that one of the best ways to kill sin is to “flee temptation.” If you know you have an addictive personality, stay away from alcohol. If you struggle with gambling, stay out of the casino. What is it that really tempts you? Flee from it!
But the encouraging truth is “that he who began a good work in [us] will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). The encouraging truth is that “no temptation has overtaken [us] that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let [us] be tempted beyond [our] ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that [we] may be able to endure it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry (1 Corinthians 10:13-14). God WILL provide the way of escape, but WE must FLEE from sin.
So what’s next, after we put off sin? In my 4th and final post about the winter retreat sessions, Lord-willing, I’ll look at Colossians 3:12-17, where Paul answers that question for us.