As I explained in part one of this, I will be expounding upon my ‘Resolutions’ that I wrote a long while back. I will now start on the second resolution, which is this;
“Resolved, in this life to fight indwelling sin and all of its partners to the death, even to the point of bloodshed, for the glory of the God who has ransomed me from it.”
I want to firstly stress that I am not saying I am perfect, or that the Lord has completely and perfectly sanctified me to the point where I no longer sin. I sin every day in thought, word and deed. However, this statement comes from Hebrews 12:4 where it says ‘In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.’ (ESV) It is also partly inspired by John Owen’s poignant words; ‘Be killing sin, or it will be killing you.’ With that in the back of the mind, let us move to the first part;
“. . . to fight indwelling sin and all of its partners to the death, even to the point of bloodshed . . .”
By this I intend not the point that I believe it necessarily possible to fully kill all sin in this life, but that my fight against it is not over until it is dead. There are three primary ways which I see the Lord working in regards to sanctification and the mortification of sin;
1. Instantaneous death.
By this I mean that sometimes God in His mercy will instantly relieve us of the temptation to certain sin or sins, or kill it quickly. I find this to be a rare thing, but I have seen it happen before to many people in regards to some particularly life-threatening struggles they have had. I see it fit to pray for this, however I find it is more common for the Lord to use…
2. Lengthy struggles/fights until a particular demise.
I see it more common and normative that God the Holy Spirit works in my heart over long, sometimes very lengthy periods of time to help me repent, fight, repeat, until He has fully killed a particular sin in my life. This is a very, very tiring struggle filled with times of victory and times of temporary defeat. The Lord has to win these fights, because I cannot do it in my own strength; but sometimes He purposes long, tiring struggles to grow us and make us more like Jesus.
3. The true end.
The way that the Lord fully and finally kills sin in our hearts and lives is at the end; our death. When we go to be fully in His presence, we will be glorified and will no longer have any sin in our lives. This is amazing and incomprehensible due to the fact that I can not recall even one day that I did not struggle. Every day I have to repent, and I still don’t even see many of the sins I commit; but one day I will know the perfect beauty of the presence of our Triune God, and what it feels like to not have sin in the way of my enjoyment of the person and work of Christ. This will indeed be glorious.
Now I turn to the second half of this particular resolution; “. . . for the glory of the God who has ransomed me from it.”
The end of this may seem like a usual ‘christianized’ addition or ending of a sentence, but in reality I actually intend something very amazing to myself in it; ‘…who has ransomed me from it.’ The point of this is to portray the truth that while I struggle to die to sin daily, to repent and continually remind myself of the Gospel, ultimately Jesus Himself has conquered sin and death! So even though we struggle constantly, Christ has ultimately won this war and we are just waiting for His final act; fully destroying all presence of sin in us.
Oh how I love that this is true. I cannot even lift a finger to kill sin, but the Spirit fights my battles for me to sanctify me, and Christ has won this war. I am weak, and His victory on my behalf is as good as won. I must continue to fight and struggle, but I find ultimate comfort that my King has taken my sin, past, present and future, upon Himself and will one day completely rid me of this deadly cancer that eats at my soul.
“The vigor and power and comfort of our spiritual life depends on our mortification of deeds of the flesh.” – John Owen
Soli Deo Gloria