Monday, June 27, 2005

Why God Might Let Sin Defeat You

Yesterday morning I attended a systematic theology class for adults on the topic of sin—depravity, the problem of evil, etc. The teacher closed with a discussion of how to mortify (kill/defeat) sin in our lives. He said it is possible that God might allow us to be defeated by sin because our motives for defeating it are wrong. We need to fight the fight against sin for God, not just to eliminate the fruits of sin in our lives that we do not like.

The speaker referred in the broader context to John Owen's On the Mortification of Sin in Believers. I do not know if Owen discusses this particular concept, and I failed to find out from the speaker before I returned home. What's more, no biblical text comes to my mind that specifically proves the point.

What I do know is that he made me think about something. Are my efforts towards sanctification in themselves a demonstration of self-centeredness, or they an act of worship? Even the plowing of the wicked is sin. What about my own?


Bob Bixby said...

John Owen did say something like this:

How knowest thou but that God hath suffered the lust wherewith thou hast been perplexed to get strength in thee, and power over thee, to chasten thee for thy other negligences and lukewarmness in walking before him; at least to awaken thee to the consideration of thy ways, that thou mayest make a thorough work and change in thy couse of walking with him ("Mortification of Sin in Believers", Ch.9).

In other words, our desire for freedom from one sin may actually be a manifestation of another sin!

Ben said...

That may well be the source of the teacher's comment. Thanks, Bob.

Bob Bixby said...

Another suggestion that sin becomes the punishment of sin:

The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin (Proverbs 2:22 ESV).

And, of course, Romans 1:26

For this reason (sin) God gave them up to dishonorable passions (sin).

Anonymous said...

I have felt that God let sin defeat us so that we would be humbled and made to run to the Lord Jesus for cleansing and forgiveness. It is a humbling thing and keeps one from self-righteousness. It also causes us to realize that whether we want to admit it or not we are and remain totally dependent upon Jesus Christ, not just for salvation, but to live the Christian life daily. The Christian life is not easy; it is a supernatural life and cannot be done in human strength.