Thoughts on Walking With God, Part 5
You should know the drill by now. What we’re doing. How we’re doing it. If not, scroll down and grab the idea from the first 4 parts. It may take a little time, but you obviously have time to kill or you wouldn’t be loitering at The Diner now, would you?
Today, we’re talking about those things we should die to. Those things we have within us that we need to kill off…or as theologians call it, “mortification.” It’s a part of the spiritual life few books talk about. The things we talked about yesterday tend to get a lot of coverage in Christian publishing, and these things we’re going to talk about today & tomorrow are often left out of the discussions. They’re difficult questions. They’re hard to measure. They don’t make us feel better. I’m especially glad Dr. Hannah touched on them, too.
And, as usual, Dr. Hannah’s comments are in italics, mine in regular font.
“What does it mean that the dominion of sin has been crushed for the believer? The Bible says you and I have died to sin. If we have died to sin, why is there so much in Scripture about dealing with sin?” The bottom line is that once you become a believer, you now have a choice to avoid sin. Before you were saved, you didn’t struggle with sin itself. Maybe you had to deal with the consequences of your sins, but not the nature of it. Now that you are saved, you struggle with sin. In short, that’s progress in the battle.
Where those of us who were saved as young children especially have issues with this is that there’s little palpable difference in how we lived our lives “pre-salvation” and how we lived afterward. In other words, I don’t remember a life where I didn’t have a renewed mind. I’ve always struggled with sin. I don’t remember a time in my life where living without struggle so I don’t experience much difference. However, many I know who were saved in adulthood have told me there is an appreciable & tangible difference. I’ll defer to their experience.
I also appreciate Dr. Hannah’s recognition that many unbelievers have morals and common grace. A powerful statement, “We [believers] don’t have a stake to higher morality, though we should.” Ouch.
“We don’t sin with great glee. It hurts us. That’s a proof we’re saved.” When you think about it, this is actually a very encouraging statement.
“In what sense have we not died to sin?” In other words, the remnants of that universal grip sin once had on us still stick around in us. There’s still gross stuff.
“We think sin is bad, but my sin isn’t. We enjoy secret sins while glorifying God in other ways. Isn’t it interesting that we can sing ‘Oh, How I Love Jesus” and simultaneously think the guy sitting next to us is a creep.”
“What is my responsibility to the sin to which I have not died?” Our role is to recognize when the gross stuff pops up and to deal with it. To take responsibility for it.
Too often, I think this is where we stop short. It requires us to think and analyze. It requires us to think about those things that give us temporary pleasure (crucial word there being “temporary”) and have them reproved. No one likes this. It’s unpleasant. It’s ugly. And it’s better to find a way to deny that we’re doing it. To attack others when they point them out rather than deal with it. To minimize it. To rationalize it. And we’re all better at this than we care to admit.
Folks this is serious work. And I’m guilty of being lax in it. We all cling to things that aren’t worth clinging to. They are fierce. I often can’t understand why I do this…but I do. I mean, ultimately, it only hurts me.
So, that’s the nature of how we’ve died to sin, but still have to deal with the remnants of it…and tomorrow we’ll talk about the specifics on dealing with these little remnants.
Have at it, patrons!