I read this morning about killing sin. Killing. Sin. Hm. Seems only fair since sin is in the business of killing us. Promising the world and delivering the grave.
I had to question whether or not that is really possible. As a pastor and follower of Christ, I know that He has overcome sin, but does God expect that I should really kill (mortify) all sin in my life? After all, I’m only human!
The more I thought about that, the more I realized that, yes, I’m only human, but is that the problem? Is it that I’m only human or that I’m not human enough? Let me unpack that just a little bit:
In Genesis 1 and 2, God created all that is, including man and woman. In that creation, there was no sin at all. In essence, there was an ideal Man. That is, humanity the way God designed it was without sin. THAT is what it is to be “human.” Complete and without sin. OK, so then Genesis 3 hits and all chaos breaks loose. Sin enters the world and Man falls…becoming, essentially, less than human. From that point on, then, it was not that we sin because we were “only” human, but that we weren’t human enough.
When Christ came, He lived a perfect life, not because He was God, but because through perfect obedience to the Holy Spirit (Philippians 2), He was a perfect HUMAN. He was what we were designed to be, and because of His work on the cross, made it possible that we no longer needed to be overwhelmed by sin again.
Look at this:
“…our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.” Romans 6:6
Done away with. That’s pretty strong. Sounds pretty definite. Not managed or minimized…done away with. Does that mean I no longer have to sin? Well, sounds like it. I think as I meditate on this, it means that as improbable as it is that I will no longer sin at all (because I still have the residual sin nature that was left in me because of Genesis 3), I cannot say that it is impossible. Scripture seems pretty clear that Jesus has made it so.
So, then, what’s the take away? I stop giving myself a pass. I stop using the excuse that, because I’m only human, I’m going to sin. Instead, I need to decide that sin WILL NOT reign in me. I will no longer allow myself excuses as to why I still fall to the same old vices. I have to “consider myself dead to sin” (Romans 6:11) which means that it is no longer an option for me. As Oswald Chambers said, “You cannot [do this] until you have radically dealt with the issue of your will before God.” That’s really it: Is it going to be my will or God’s will? Who is the sovereign in my life? If I’m honest, I have to say that it depends on when you ask me and what the subject is. Sometimes, it’s God (at least in the easy parts of my life), but sometimes, when I’m dealing with my favorite flavor of evil, it’s me.
The only thing left for me to do is to realize the truth in the power of Christ in me to “consider myself dead to sin,” to be in constant prayer for that power to be manifest in me, and to be vigilant to daily make the mortification of sin in my life my aim.
“Lord, identify me with your death until I know that sin is dead in me.”
That’s a tough one to pray.