God’s Word is filled with very direct instruction to put the sin in your life to death. A huge part of putting sin to death has to do with your commitment to live out the good character and His virtues and values of Jesus in your life. A second part of putting sin to death in your life has to do with reading God’s Word and living it out in your daily life. This produces great spiritual growth.
Not only does this Christian grow deeper and wider in Jesus, but they become more and more able to deal with the sinful temptations that assault them continually. They gain the spiritual will, strength and moral courage that comes from the Spirit of God to kill the desire for sin in them.
How so? What are the practical elements of “putting sin to death?”
Let’s consider some teaching from God’s Word that give us more insight into the preparation and process of “putting sin to death” in you.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your heart on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Colossians 3:1
In this verse we are told that, “You have been raised with Christ.” Jesus went to the cross to take care of sin once and for all. He was crucified, buried and was raised from the dead by God the Father. Jesus paid the price for the sins of every man and woman who ever lived by offering Himself as the ultimate sacrifice for all the sins that ever were committed by mankind.
The Son of God paid the price for your sins with His life so that sin would no longer be a barrier between you and God or have any power over you. That’s how much God loves you. He sacrificed the life of His Perfect and holy Son for your very imperfect and corrupted life. The sacrifice of Jesus made salvation possible. What were people saved from? The power of sin.
Consider how you got saved. You heard the message of the gospel and you could feel God tugging at your heart and drawing you to Him. You knew God was reaching out to you. You felt guilty in the presence of the Holy Spirit because you knew you were filed with sin, yet this conviction confirmed that there was a God and He was speaking to you. You believed that Jesus died for your sins and then by faith you accepted what Jesus did on the cross on your behalf and He forgave you of your sins, taking away your sin and guilt. In that moment, you were saved from the death grip that sin had on you. Jesus set you free from the power and domination of sin.
Consider what you did not see, hear or feel. As you confessed your sins to Jesus and repented of them and asked for forgiveness for them, in that moment of salvation, your spirit joined Jesus on the cross. You were crucified with Jesus, buried with Him and were raised to life with Him. You were cleansed by His blood and your sins washed away forever, and your sins were left in the grave.
You were born-again, made alive spiritually, born into God’s family. Baptism is a symbol of all this. Baptism celebrates being on the cross with Jesus and going to the grave with Him and being raised with Him to a new life.
Baptism is about being completely cleansed of your sins through the shed blood of Jesus. It is about being born of the Spirit and becoming a child of the King of Kings! All this happened to you because of the endless, forever love of God that has for you personally. God did all this for YOU!
God’s love for you cannot be measured because it is endless. It is eternal.
Such undeserved love for such unworthy and unlovely people (such as ourselves) should bring the greatest joy and gratefulness possible, and continual praise, thanks and expressions of love to God for what He did for us. We express our love for God by living out our great joy and appreciation of what Jesus did on the cross for each of us.
Salvation changes our perspective on life. It changes our world view. Suddenly, the things of God become far more important that the things found in this world. God tells us to no longer focus on what this world has to offer, but to focus on the things from above. This becomes our new focus that expresses our love to God.
Back in the time of the Apostle Paul the Christians in Rome did not understand this. They had the idea that if they continued to sin that God would respond with more grace, and therefore sinning was a good thing.
We can read Paul’s response in Romans 6:1-6.
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? We too live a new life. Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Romans 6:1-3
This sounds like a ridiculous argument for us today, and it is. But, nonetheless, this is what many in the church in Rome believed. Paul reminded these Christians that “they had died to sin”, meaning that they had gone to the grave with Jesus and died with Him, and the price for their sins had been paid.
Sin no longer had any power over them, nor were their sins any longer an issue that separated man from God. They born spiritually and were raised from spiritual death and became alive in Christ to a new life.
However, sin is not dead. And it is still a problem. What Jesus did on the cross gave Christians the power to control their sinful desires and resist and reject the pull of sin. In doing this Jesus crushed the power of sin in them. This is celebrated in baptism.
Baptism is a symbolic display of joining Jesus on the cross and going into the grave with Him and being resurrected with Him and made clean of sin and free from the power of sin and a new life.
Christians have the power of the cross in them that makes resisting and rejecting the temptation to sin a reality.
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. Because of what Jesus did on the cross you are raised from spiritual death and raised to a new life. Romans 6:4 NIV
You are no longer are shackled to the old ways and habits of your old life. You are now free to NOT live like you did in your sinful past. You have been freed from the grip of sin and now are able to live a new kind of life that brings glory to God.
If we have been raised with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin. Romans 6:5 NIV
Every Christian has been crucified with Jesus on the cross, and one day will be resurrected with Him and reunited with Him upon His return. This is because your old self has been crucified and the sin in your body has been put to death. The power of sin was left in the grave.
Colossians 3:2-4 NIV Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Now that you are new (being born of the Spirit) think and act differently.
As a new spiritual creation, you are to think about the things that are from above. You are to set your minds on the good things that come from God’s Spirit and nature) not the sinful things that come from your sinful human nature.
Don’t think about sinful things that appeal to your human nature. Put them out of your mind.
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these the wrath of God is coming. Colossians 3:4-5 NIV
Jesus put sin to death on the cross. When we joined Jesus on the cross our own sins were put to death. You are told to put to death the moral filth that is in you. Things like sexual immorality in every form, impurity and all moral filth like lust, evil desires, and greed for more of the things in this world that decay, the deifying of humanity and self and other created things like this earth which is idolatry.
Why does God react to sin with wrath?
God sent His Son Jesus into this world to suffer and die the worst death possible to cover every single sin ever committed mankind with the shed blood of Jesus. This was the greatest expression of love ever, period.
Jesus died to put the power of sin to death in His people. Know this: Each time a you sin it is a great offense to God. Your sin insults, disrespects and dishonors and shows great irreverence for Jesus and His death on the cross. When you sin with no thought of what Jesus did for you, you are trampling underfoot the greatest act of love ever, and insults Almighty God for the sacrifice He made for you.
Is it any wonder that when we sin as a matter of routine and habit stir up the wrath of God?
Be careful. God means what He says.
What Jesus did for you on the cross has empowered you with the ability and put sin to death in you.
So, how do you put sin to death?
2 Peter 1:3 NIV His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
When you are born spiritually something spectacular happens. God places His Holy Spirit in you. The Holy Spirit is the source of the grace that provides you with God’s divine influence and power needed to live a life of godliness and remain pure from sin.
2 Peter 1:4 NIV Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world cause by evil desires.
Because you are a born-again believer and because God is who He is, He makes two critical promises that you need to live an upright and godly life. First, when the Holy Spirit enters into your being upon salvation, God’s nature also enters you. God’s intention is for you to live out His nature. He wants you to be a participant in His nature. In other words, God wants you to live out His nature of divine goodness.
So, at the moment of salvation you are equipped to live out the nature of God which is the source of all good things. In this way, you become a partner and participant with God and can be used to achieve His purposes and do the good works of God’s grace in your life. God’s nature and grace make it possible for you to do the good things of God.
Second, God promises that because His Holy Spirit and nature and grace are in you, you can “escape the corruption that is caused by your sinful human nature.”
How does this work?
When faced with a temptation to sin the Holy Spirit goes into action. He immediately gets your attention. He alerts you and warns you about what is happening the moment you are tempted.
However, many Christian ignore the Holy Spirit’s warnings and sin anyway. This is what was happening in Rome in the early church. When Christians fail to heed the Holy Spirit’s conviction a process that leads to committing the sin begins.
James 1:14-15 AMPL But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust and passions).
How does sin develop?
In these verses James lays out the complete process of sin, from beginning to end.
When you are tempted by evil and you do not resist the temptation to sin and immediately reject it, the process begins. It begins by not heeding the Holy Spirit’s warnings and urgings and stop the process by refusing to follow through on the temptation.
As the Christian “entertains” it in his mind, the temptation it is conceived and a sin is birthed.
When a child is “conceived” in a mother, we know that a seed has been planted her and in time this seed will grow into a baby and it will be born.
In the same way, the seed of sin is placed in you comes when you are tempted. The word “conceived” used in this verse means to “clasp, seize, arrest, capture, catch, take, conceive.”
When the seed of sin has “conceived”, the thought of doing the sin “seizes and captures you and takes control of you” and the desire for the sin quickly grows into action and the sin is birthed.
In this way you are raising sin from the dead in you and giving it life.
In sinning, you are undoing the power of the cross.
In sinning, you dishonor what Jesus did for you on the cross.
In sinning, you raise sin from the dead that Jesus died to put to death.
In sinning, you trample on God’s love and sacrifice for you.
Is it any wonder that this stirs up the wrath of God? There is no excuse for this.
God has promised to help you “escape the corruption in the world cause by evil desires.”
God has given you the power to not fall to temptation and not to sin. God has given you have the ability to say “NO!” to your sinful desires. You have been given the power of the cross that enables you to “put sin to death in you.”
So, what is the way to put sin to death?
It’s really simple. Resisting temptation requires spiritual strength and resolve. You get this by committing yourself to live out the goodness of Jesus, along with reading God’s word and practicing it daily.
This produces the spiritual strength and resolve necessary to put a stop temptation immediately.
Even Jesus had to pray and fast for forty days before He went into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. When you are tempted, that is the time to put a stop to the process of sin.
Respond to the temptation with a big, “NO!” God says that if “you resist the devil he will flee from you.” Your serious “no!” means “no!” and you can defeat the temptation. This will bring glory to God. This will bring blessing from God. This will bring spiritual growth. This will maintain purity. This will keep your sin in the grave!