Be Killing Sin? But How?

One frequently hears “Be killing sin or it will be killing you…” I know that it is attributed to John Owen, but I don’t know the context.

Without anything else, it is pretty despairing, isn’t it. How does one go about killing sin?

What knife to you use to circumcise the foreskin of the heart?

Do you cut off the arm that offends? Pluck out the eye that offends?

Where do you stop cutting?

Do we kill sin by amputation?

Do we exercise more will-power? How do we do that when our will is also fallen?

Do we offer expensive sacrifices like Cain?

Ten- thousand rivers of oil? Our firstborn children?

I’m being genuine here. As Christians and as humans we all want to do better. We all long for the day that we will be free from sin. I truly want to kill sin in me…most of the time…

I know that sin is deadly and an offence against a holy God.

I know the hurt that I have caused in others.

And I try to kill it. I have many decades of resolve. And many decades of broken resolve.

Kill sin? Will someone tell me how?

Or do I follow what Paul said –

” O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Rom. 7:24-8:1)

I don’t know how to kill the sin in me. Crush it out, Lord Jesus. I kill sin by bringing my heart to you. It is safe in your hands.

I will wait on the watchtower, longing for your return.


Filed under sanctification

3 responses to “Be Killing Sin? But How?

  1. Jocelyne

    Wow…. I really didn’t even guess what you were going to come up with as an answer. I didn’t take the time to think it through, I just wanted to read to the end! lol… what a beautiful surprise when I read… “I can’t”. So so true. Only Jesus can do for me what I can’t do for myself. Beautiful reminder to stay close to Him and send up spontaneous prayers as the need arises, and TRUST HIM to answer. Thank you for the fun ride, and the solution.

  2. Charles

    Although it’s impossible to kill ALL sin, it is possible to kill PARTICULAR sins. The level of difficulty in that lies in timing. One pastor whom we had the privilege of hearing speak on this years ago said this: “How do you kill a dinosaur? You smash the EGG.” For the greatest effectiveness, particular sins have to be killed in their embryonic stage; the sooner we can identify them the sooner we can crush them. If they mature, it becomes a matter of spiritual warfare + perseverance – with a level of difficulty many times greater than that of smashing the egg.

  3. John

    Good post. Christ has mortified our sin in his body on the cursed tree. Yes and amen! We are free from sin’s penalty and from its dominion, now alive in Christ, freed to be killing sin. To keep everyone happy with Owen, here is the context from his 1656 work: “Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers: The Necessity, Nature and Means of It” – “Be killing sin or it will be killing you. He who doth not kill sin takes no steps towards his journey’s end. There is no safety against sin but in constant warfare. Cease not a day from this work.” Owen spends much time explaining how sin can only be killed by the Spirit.

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