Though sin no longer separates the believer from God in the ultimate sense, we know both from Scripture and an honest assessment of our daily lives that it is still a force very much active within us. When left unchecked, sin will kill the joy not only in our human relationships, but in our relationship with God. Thus, be killing sin – or sin will be killing you.
If you’d like to further equip the mind in regards to killing sin, I’d recommend the books below – all excellent reads on the subject. You can check at the RBC Bookstore between Sunday services for availability of any of these.
In The Mortification of Sin, Puritan pastor-theologian John Owen provides vital teaching in a neglected aspect of Christianity – killing sin. In this book, Owen effectively dismisses various excuses for not engaging in self-scrutiny and yet avoids the current trend of self-absorption. In so doing, he provides principles to help believers live lives of holiness before God. You can go for the original unabridged version, but for a quicker read, I’d recommend Richard Rushing’s abridged version.
In The Enemy Within: Straight Talk About the Power and Defeat of Sin, Kris Lundgaard draws on two works by the aforementioned Puritan in writing this modern-English distillation of two of Owen’s most renowned works – Indwelling Sin and The Mortification of Sin. Lundgaard offers insight, encouragement, and hope for overcoming the enemy within.
Cornelius Plantinga Jr.’s Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin revives in modern terms the ancient awareness of sin that has slipped in recent decades. Plantinga uses clear language and draws upon myriad books, films and other cultural resources to drive home our need to simultaneously hate sin and love the grace of Christ.
In Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate, Jerry Bridges asserts that we have become so preoccupied with the “major” sins of our society, Christians have ceased to heed the dangers of more subtle sins in our lives. We the Church must not act as though sin were only something out “in the world” and so tolerate jealousy, anger, pride and ungodliness within our own hearts. Bridges humbly points his readers again and again to the profound mercy of the grace of Jesus.
You can check out the audio/video of the weekend teaching here. Below are a few Scriptures (ESV) for study & reflection regarding sin, the mind as watchman to the soul, and others referenced during the teaching.
Romans 7:21-23 – So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.
James 4:17 – So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
Psalm 51:5 – Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Psalm 58:3 – Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward and speak lies.
Galatians 5:17 – For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
Romans 8:12-13 – So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
Colossians 3:5-6 – Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.On account of these the wrath of God is coming.
1 Corinthians 9:26-27 – So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
Paul Grows in His Knowledge of Sin
1 Corinthians 15:9 (written approximately AD 55) – For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
Ephesians 3:8 (written approximately AD 60 ) – To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ…
1 Timothy 1:15 (written approximately AD 64) – The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.
*Note that if you study the surrounding context of each reference above, you’ll see that as Paul grows in the knowledge of his own sin nature, he likewise expresses growth in his knowledge of grace, redemption, and forgiveness. He grows in his love and appreciation for Christ as he realizes more and more what he has been saved from.
1 Corinthians 15:10 – But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. (In this section, you’ll see Paul mainly reflecting on the work God did in/through him by grace, despite his sin as an individual.)
Ephesians 3:9-10 – ...and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. (You’ll see Paul expanding upon the mystery of God’s eternal purposes “unsearchable riches of Christ” and the “manifold wisdom of God” being revealed beyond himself to the Gentiles through the church.)
1 Timothy 1: – To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (Paul reflects on being “the foremost of sinners” in light of also being one who is entrusted with “the gospel of the glory of the blessed God” through the great majesty, mercy, grace, patience and strength of Christ.)
On the Mind
1 Pet. 1:13 – Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Luke 24:45 – Then [Jesus] opened their minds to understand the Scriptures…
Romans 8:6 – For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
Romans 12:2 – Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
James 1:8 – …he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
2 Corinthians 4:4 – In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
2 Corinthians 11:3 – But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
*Joseph is a great example of the mind being prepared. When he is tempted by Potiphar’s wife in Genesis 39:6-10, he says, “How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9). I believe this indicates he was holding a two-fold truth at the forefront of his thinking – sin is evil and God is holy. Thus, “as she spoke to Joseph day after day, he would not listen to her, to lie beside her or to be with her.”
Hebrews 10:14 – For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
Ephesians 6:17 – … take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…
Ephesians 2:8-9 – For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Philippians 1:6 – And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.