To really pursue holiness requires that we take action.
Any action we take must be taken in the power of and under the direction
of the Holy Spirit. We cannot rely
on our own strength. Mortification
is one action we are called to take. It
is the painful and effective discipline of rooting out and putting to death sin.
"So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to
live according to the flesh - for if you are living according to the flesh, you
must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the flesh,
you will live." Romans 8: 12 -
"Put to death, therefore, whatever remains of your earthly nature:
sexual immorality, impurity, lust evil desires and greed, which is
idolatry." Colossians 3: 5
First we need to know our enemy. Sin
is deeply rooted in our nature. Galatians
5: 17 & Romans 7: 19 - 20 & I Peter 2: 11.
Sin is at war with us, it seeks our ruin; and the only way to preserve
ourselves is to fight back. Our
objective is to put sin to death. We
are called to take the initiative against sin.
This is a lifelong process. Sin
never completely dies in this world no matter how weak it grows.
We need to know that our position in Christ is one of superiority.
We can win. We have been
united with the risen and living Christ. We
have been given a new life, a new heart, a new nature.
It is no longer our nature to sin. Our
inner nature delights in God's laws. The
Spirit dealt a death blow to sin. God
tells us that sin no longer has dominion over us.
No matter how stubborn or deeply entrenched our sinful habits, sin's
reign has ended and sustained pressure cannot fail to uproot it.
Sin's power is broken. Sin's
final destruction is guaranteed. The
Holy Spirit now indwells the believer. He
is 'at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.'
When the Christian fights sin he opposes a dethroned and debilitated foe.
He goes into battle in the power and strength of the Holy Spirit of God.
Read Romans 6.
1. Pursue and grow in
your relationship with God. The more we nourish and feed our new nature, the less we will
be focused on the lusts of the flesh and the more we will be able to stop sin's
attempts at regaining control of our hearts.
We feed the new nature with the Word, prayer, worship, witnessing, and
obedience. We can also practice and
develop the qualities that are the most opposite of the sin we want to rid
ourselves of and destroy. What will
you do to feed your new man?
2. We need to be
ruthless in starving sin of all that feeds it.
To expect God to kill the lust in us while we still expose ourselves to
temptation is crazy. We have a disturbing tendency to flirt with temptation, even
trying to gratify our sinful desires without sinning. What we need to do is to do everything possible to not feed
our lustful desires. We need to
value self-control above self-gratification.
How have you been feeding your sinful nature? What steps do you need to take to starve your old sinful
3. Confession and
repentance. We need to
remain sensitive to our sin by disciplining ourselves to confess and repent of
sin as soon as we sin. True
repentance involves a resolve not to sin again. It means going in the opposite direction and practicing the
virtues most directly opposed to the sin you are turning from.
See Psalm 51 for a model of true repentance by David.
Incomplete repentance is characterized by remorse, self-reproach or
sorrow for sin generated by fear of punishment or guilt without a desire or
resolve to forsake sinning. Have
you truly repented or are you satisfied with just feeling a little better
getting your sin out in the open?
4. Pray. "you do not have, because you do not ask." James 4: 2. Jesus told the disciples to "watch and pray" so they would not enter into temptation. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.
We cannot improve the sinful nature (our flesh). We cannot manage our sinful nature. We are called to put it to death (kill it). “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Being true to ourselves (our heart/our flesh) is not an option. Believers are called to die to self and be faithful and true to our Savior, Jesus Christ. We are to die to self and be alive to the Lord Jesus Christ. We are commanded to put on Christ Jesus and make no provision for the flesh.
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2: 20).
Memorize Colossians 3: 1 -
Permission is granted to use this Bible Study outline for personal study and small groups only.
Study written by Bob Krepps © 1994 & 2010 all rights reserved
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