One of the consummate verses that we hear around Christmas serves as our Fighter Verse for the week: “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). The word/name “Jesus” means Savior–and his name foundationally reminds us that both we are sinners in need of a Savior, but also that there is a Savior who saves from sin. And after we become Christians, what then? Should sin never affect us, never tempt us, never bother us?
I have never been hunting. Fishing? Yes. Hunting for deer or elk? No. Dad would always enjoying, but I never picked it up and he never pressured. The closest I ever came was a scenario that involved a BB gun, a squirrel, and a bird feeder. Out my back window, I would shoot with my BB gun to knock that squirrel off the birdfeeder. After about a week of shooting (and missing, mind you), my mom asked a question, and just one question: How would you feel if you hit it and killed it? After she asked that, I set that gun aside. I’m pro-2nd Amendment. I have no qualms about anyone else hunting–but it’s not for me.
But when it comes to killing, every single Christian must be willing to do whatever it takes to kill sin. Reinhold Niebuhr rightly said, “The doctrine of original sin is the only empirically verifiable doctrine of the Christian faith.” He’s right. It is apparent that our world is a mess, and that we cannot live up to their individual standards, much less God’s standard as outlined in Scripture. Peggy DuCharme spoke last week about ‘postmodernism’–a belief that individuals answer to their own truth, and that no authoritative, absolute truth exists outside of an individual. When that took place and dug in to our society, then no one could tell someone else that something was ‘wrong.’ The only ‘wrong’ was saying something someone else did was wrong. It was intolerant.
Therefore, adultery is an affair. Homosexuality and sodomy is gay. Drunkenness and gluttony are defined as ‘diseases’ or ‘illnesses’ rather than vices. With this transition in thinking, there’s no killing of sin, because there’s really no sin to kill except saying that there is ‘sin.’ No acknowledgment of sin, then there’s no need for a Savior from sin. There’s no need for a cross as an instrument to absorb the punishment of sin. Christ only came to serve as an example. He came to provide a better life, your best life now. He came to make every day a Friday. Shots over the bow aside, Satan and the culture have been fairly successful redefining Christianity as simply a self-help method to make life better.
I’m not interesting in what the culture says about this, primarily, but what God tells us. Clearly by saying there’s no sin does not mean there’s no sin. That’s not reality–it’s a wish. Let’s read Romans 6:5-14. Would you stand?
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
After reading this, we know that John Owen is right: “Be killing sin, or sin will be killing you.”
(More next time.)