What am I going to do
about my sins?
Always read the
question through carefully first. How many times
we have all been given that advice when approaching an examination!
Good advice it is, too. So be sure to follow it regarding the question
at the head of this pastoral letter. It does not
‘What must I do about my sin?’ That is a very valid
question, but not the one posed here. Had it been, the biblical answer
is clear. The Lord Jesus Christ supplies it himself: ‘repent
and believe the gospel’ (Mark 1:15). That is the call of
grace to the unconverted. It is absolutely urgent. Yet it is not our
question just now. We have an extra ‘s’ in the
‘sins’, not ‘sin’. And that
question is for the Christian. It belongs to the realm of daily
Christian experience. The apostle Paul, as a believer, knew all about
it. He expressed himself famously: ‘For the good that I would
do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do’. And
‘For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I
another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind
…’ (Romans 7:19, 22-23). It is the agony of
to which he testifies. It is true, surely, to every
experience. It rings bells.
I going to do about my sins? The
complete answer has many facets,
but one of the most important of them is what we call ‘the
mortification of sin’. It used to be taken much more
than it is these days. To mortify means to put to death. No one sets
forth this truth with greater force than the Lord Jesus Christ himself
in his imagery of cutting off our offending hand or foot, or plucking
out our offending eye. Of course, the counsel here is not to literal
self-mutilation. It is not mutilation
But how do
we go about it? Here are a few directions to get us thinking (and
Know yourself. There will be
no profitable mortification without self-examination.
Seek aid. The aid must be
heavenly, from the Holy Spirit, for in this, as in everything, we can
do nothing in our own strength.
Be specific. We must not be
satisfied with some general sense that we still sin. What is required
is specific conviction regarding particular sins or areas of weakness.
Half-heartedness will get us nowhere. The work of mortification is
unrelenting and lifelong. We must kill sin, for it is seeking
Keep focussed. On what?
Rather, on who? It’s all about Christ being formed in us,
purified even as Christ is pure, being fitted for heaven. It may be the
hardest work that we face as Christians, but the purposes of God for us
are sure and the future is breathtaking!