Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Kill your sins...
"In April, 1983, Robert Vierling of Winchester, Missouri, was found on his bed, crushed to death by his sixteen-foot, one-hundred-pound, per Burmese python. Vierling's wife said he had complete trust in the snake and often played with it on the bed. Each of us lives with many unseen snakes, all more deadly than a Burmese python. These snakes, which are constantly with us, are called 'sins' in the Bible. The process of killing them is called mortification. The doctrine of mortification is seldom heard today, partly because the word mortify is a King James term that's rendered 'put to death' in modern translations. But mortification is absolutely critical, for the Bible says that even though killing the snakes of sin in our lives won't get us to Heaven - only the life and death of Jesus Christ can do that - unless we bring deadly violence against them all our lives, we've never experienced the saving work of Christ.
God's Word teaches this in Romans 8:12-13: "Therefore, brethren, 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." In other words, if we complacently live by the deeds and desires God calls sinful, we will suffer certain spiritual death and its eternal consequences. But if, by the Holy Spirit, we constantly struggle to kill these sinful deeds and desires, we show that we really possess and will forever enjoy eternal life through Jesus Christ.
Mortification of sin is extremely important, but why mention it in a book on simplifying our spirituality? It's here because mortification does simplify the spiritual life by telling us clearly what we must do with the single most complicating factor in our lives - sin - and why. The Bible says we must kill our sins, not tolerate or expose them in the name of grace, or they will kill us.
In our ongoing war with our sins, we should also remember other Bible truths that complement our understanding and practice of mortification. These include the eternal forgiveness of all the sins of all believers through the cross of Jesus, the grace of God preserving His people to the end, and the truth that in this life we'll never experience the permanent removal of all sin or the desire to sin. Consistent with them all is this teaching in Romans 8:12-13 that, regardless of our professed beliefs, one evidence that Christ has truly saved us is a lethal, lifelong fight against every sin we commit.
In January, 2001, the Reuters news network reported the story of South African Lucas Sibanda, who was attacked by a python. Trapped in the snake's constricting coil, Sibanda bit the reptile below the head and kicked and punched until it released its grip. Then he killed the python with a stick.
Pythons of sin will attack and fight against us all our lives. Unless by the Holy Spirit we fight back like Lucas Sibanda, we show that there is spiritual life in us.
Get deadly with your sins."
Donald S. Whitney, Simplify Your Spiritual Life, pg. 128-19