Sin which Clings.

August 31, 2007

It’d been a while since I’ve prayed that He’d do whatever it took to keep me humble, pure in heart, & nearer to Him. It’d been way too long since I’d mourned over the sin in my heart. The priority of being pleasing to Him in the inner person of my heart was replaced by the priority of pleasing myself.

Sin clings so closely. It’s so deceptive; the more sin I have in my heart, the less I actually see it or recognize it.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [the hall of faith mentioned in Ch. 11], let us also lay aside every weight, & sin which clings so closely, & let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder & perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, & is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

It clings so closely that sometimes I resign myself to thinking that it’s just who I am, an irreversible part of my person. & lately, the little sins (i.e., “little” only in my faulty estimation) that I left unchecked spread like gangrene within me. What were some of the sins I reckoned as so “little”? Justifying my poor attitude when tired, being abrupt when feeling stressed, grumbling along with others about this & that, or returning unkindness for unkindness . . . I could go on. But soon, what I thought were small, shallow sins began to corrupt all other areas of my heart & life. It only took a small spark to generate a raging wildfire.

I forgot to fear Him who sees & knows everything, even the sins that I try to conceal from others. I forgot that no sin is justifiable, whatever the circumstance. I forgot that my God demands absolute holiness, not just the appearance of conformity to His standards. I forgot that I need to continually put off sin & continually pursue His ways. I forgot God Most High.

It’s true – the most miserable person is a sinning Christian. Some say that with more knowledge comes more grief. In this case, I agree: [truly] knowing God, knowingly sinning against Him, knowingly grieving Him, knowingly setting His Word at naught . . . knowingly doing all these things cause tremendous more grief than unknowingly doing the same. “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24)

Sin clings so closely. Yes, God says that once I am in Christ, “sin will have no dominion over [me]” (Romans 6:14). But this former master refuses to let me so quickly forget my former enslavement. Though it no longer reigns over me, it still “dwells within me” (Romans 7:17); & it doesn’t dwell in a dormant, passive state in the far corner of my heart. No, it continually weaves itself throughout all my understanding, affections, & inclinations. When I hack it away, cringing under the pain of hacking something that clings so closely, it immediately begins to grow back. It wants me to wrestle with it continually so that I will eventually give up & give in to its desires. It is a continuous battle.

But what does He say? Look to Jesus. Consider Him. Remember: “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, & the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful & just to forgive us our sins & to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:8-9)

Weary brother, weary sister, let’s press on. The victory is His.

“Consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against Himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood . . . He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness . . . Therefore lift your drooping hands & strengthen your weak knees, & make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, & for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:3-4, 10, 12-14).


Some excerpts from How to Kill Sin in Your Life (read Part 1 & Part 2):

“John Owens was right, he says of sin: ‘It has no doors to open. It needs no engine by which to work. It lies in the mind & in the understanding. It is found in the will. It is in the inclinations of the affections. It has such intimacy in the soul.'”

“Your sin is there, & it is wretched & it spurts forth between the cracks of your supposed righteousness. It comes out in anger & bitter words, unkind thoughts, criticisms, self-conceit, lack of understanding, impatience, weak prayers, immoral thoughts, & even overt sins.”

“In order to gain victory over sin, you must have a heart fixed on God. You must love Him more than you love your sin.”

“The way to kill sin in your life is to feed it Scripture. Scripture is a spiritual weed-killer. It will poison sin.”

“True prayer gives the heart a sense of its own vile character & renews the hatred of sin . . . Prayer exposes secret sins. Prayer weakens prevailing sins. Prayer finds strength in fellowship with the Holy God to kill sin in our lives.”


4 Responses to “Sin which Clings.”

  1. cathie Says:

    thanks tia.
    for the message & the post.!

  2. stephanie Says:

    im comin to norcal [tentatively] next friday! if i do, hopefully i can see you & finally chat in person =)

  3. jennifer l. Says:

    ok. thought i’d give you snippets of john owen’s the mortification of sin

    chapter 1:
    “Mortification from a self-strength, carried on by ways of self-invention, unto the end of a self-righteousness, is the soul and substance of all false religion in the world.”

    “Now, though the outward deeds are here only expressed, yet the inward and next causes, from whence they spring. The apostle calls them deeds, as that which every lust tends unto; though it do but conceive and prove abortive, it aims to bring forth a perfect sin.”

    “To kill a man, or any other living thing, is to take away the principle of all his strength, vigour, and power, so that he cannot act or exert, or put forth any proper actings of his own; so it is in this case. Indwelling sin is compared to a person, a living pwerson, called “the old man,” with his faculties and properties, his wisdom, craft, subtlety, strength; this says the apostle, must be killed, put to death, mortified, — that is, have its power, life, vigour, and strength, to produce it effects, taken away by the Spirit.”

    Chapter 2:
    (there is sooo much in such a short chapter, so i will leave you with my favorite part… it is the most tiring part too, but still.)

    “Sin doth not only still abide in us, but is still acting, still labouring to bring forth the deeds of the flesch. When sin lets us alone we may let sin alone; but as sin is never less quiet than when it seems to be most quiet, and its waters are for the most part deep when they are still, so ought our contrivances against it be vigorous at all times and in all conditions, even where there is least suspicion. Sin doth not only abide in us, but “the law of the members is still rebelling against the law of the mind,” Rom. 7:23

    ok… me here… this is going to be way long and i’ll just leave it for you to read for yourself and skip to the last bit…

    “If, then, sin will be always acting, if we be not always mortifying, we are lost creatures. He that stands still and suffers his enemies to double blows upon him without resistance, will undoubtedly be conquered in the issue. If sin be subtle, watchful, strong, and always at wordk in the business of killing our souls, and we be slothful, negligent, foolish, in proceeding to the ruin thereof, can we expect a comfortable event? There is not a day but sin foils or is foied, prevails or is prevailed on; and it will be so whilst we live in this world…”

    but it feels good. like the pain that comes from working out.

  4. tia Says:

    ah, jenn. thanks for the quotes! i’m going to have to get that book . . . :]

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