“And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for
you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell,
to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to
sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with
two feet to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you
to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom
of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into
hell, ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not
quenched.’” Mark 9:44-48
The most important aspect in the life of a disciple is
to see the reality of Jesus in a comprehensive and
clear fashion by the power of the Holy Spirit under the
authority of the Word of God.
“When methods (for growth in Christ) promise a great deal
more than they actually deliver, the net result is not victory
over sin, but an ever-greater sense of guilt and heightened
awareness of personal failure. THEORIES THAT DO NOT TAKE
INTO ACCOUNT THE EVER-PRESENT POWER OF SIN SIMPLY
CANNOT DELIVER WHAT THEY PROMISE.”
John D. Hannah, John Owen and the “Normal” Christian
Life: Or Sanctification in the Era of Confusion
“Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without
which no one will see the Lord.” Hebrews 12:14
1. Growth in grace is to be pursued and the
corresponding realized joy and usefulness in the life
of a believer is worthy of the most costly sacrifice.
“and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in
accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed
God with which I have been entrusted.”
1 Timothy 1:10b-11
2. Mortification (putting sin to death) is a lifelong process
in the life of the believer and it is his joyful duty.
“Make it your daily work to put sin to death; be always at
it while you live; cease not a day from this work. Be killing
sin or it will be killing you.” John Owen, Mortification of
Sin, p. 50
“This sanctification works in the whole person, but not
completely or perfectly in this life. The old sinful nature
retains some of its control in body, mind, and spirit. And
so a continual and irreconcilable war goes on in every
believer. The old nature tries to get its way in opposition
to the Spirit, and the Spirit fights to assert its authority
over the flesh.
Although the old nature temporarily wins battles in this
warfare, the continual strengthening of the sanctifying
Spirit of Christ enables the regenerate nature in each
believer to overcome. And so the saints grow in grace,
perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
Westminster Confession of Faith
(Chapter 13 - Justification), Article 2 & 3
“Therefore, I think he has profited greatly who has learned
to be very much displeased with himself, not so as to stick
fast in this mire and progress no farther, but rather to
hasten to God and yearn for him in order that, having
been engrafted into the life and death of Christ, he may
give attention to continual repentance. Truly, they who are
held by a real loathing of sin cannot do otherwise. For no
one ever hates sin unless he has previously been seized
with a love of righteousness.”
Calvin, The Institutes of Christian Religion, p. 615
3. Jesus uses these startling metaphors to underscore the
urgency of the message.
Unconfessed and unforsaken sin weakens, darkens,
saps energy, brings sorrow, and limits the usefulness
of the child of God. (Psalm 6:1-7, 32:3-4)
4. Put sin to death by the Holy Spirit.
"For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by
the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will
live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of
God." Romans 8:13-14
How do we, by the Spirit, put to death the deeds of the
body? We plead with God for the power of the Holy
Spirit, pursue him by the means of grace (Galatians 3:2)
and endeavor to put sin to death.
5. We must know ourselves. This knowledge includes our
inclinations and points of potential failure/sin.
6. Eternity is at stake. The honoring of Christ and the
blessing of others is in the balance.
We put sin to death not to earn our standing in Christ;
but fleeing from dishonoring behavior is a sign of our
justification by faith alone in Christ alone.