Thursday, May 28, 2015

Be Killing Sin

I love dandelions. Or at least I should love dandelions. Their beautiful, eager yellow heads are the first flowers to appear in my yard each spring, even before the grass has a chance to turn green, and I didn't even have to work to get them to grow! Excited little fingers pluck them and come running to bless their momma with flower bouquets. For a time, this is precious. I thank the bearer, give hugs and kisses, and find a cup of water to place the gift for display.

But I know what is coming.

The reality is they aren't just beautiful flowers. They are aggressive breeders.

We mow the flowers down and within hours (it seems) their ugly heads are full inches above the grass line.

Busy insects have done their job of pollinating, and the flower heads give way to seeds.

Knowing that the plants spread rapidly, I at first encourage my little children to pick as many yellow flowers as they can. But it doesn't even stem the tide. Once the plants have taken root they multiply quickly, starving and choking out other plants. Their roots are thick and stubborn. They are firmly planted. The problem here is I like my green grass, and the dandelion is an enemy of grass.

There is an allusion to sin here that you probably saw coming. At first sin may even seem beautiful like the yellow heads bobbing in the breeze, promising the return of something good. But the roots grow deep and the sin spreads. What I thought was good (because it felt good or seemed to present good results on the outside), proves to be mortal. My sin makes me an enemy of God. Romans 8:12-13 instructs us to "put to death the deeds of the body." John Owen explained the verses, "Be killing sin, or it will be killing you."

What do we do?

We treat the whole lawn. We kill all the weeds. Plucking off the yellow flowers do not kill the root. It may prevent the spread of the weed (assuming we successfully prevent *all* the seeds from being formed), but the root remains to keep sucking nutrients from the soil. And our methods will fail. At some point it will take deliberate intervention to get rid of the plants. Further, if you want a decent lawn, you will not kill some of the dandelion plants in your yard while leaving others and say, "That is good enough. I got most of them." No!

Similarly, our sin has deep roots. It is beyond our ability to eradicate sin, but sin that remains keeps us at enmity with God. John Piper says to make war on our sin. The power comes from faith in Christ. The eradication of sin is evidence of our justification.

 "If we died to sin by being united with Jesus in his death, we can't stay married to sin. The faith that unites us to Christ disunites from his competitors. The faith that makes peace with God makes war on our sin. If you are not at odds with sin, you are not at home with Jesus, not because being at odds with sin makes you at home with Jesus, but because being at home with Jesus makes you at odds with sin...
"Therefore, I call you and urge you, for the sake of being God-centered, Christ-exalting, soul-winning, justice-pursuing, passion-planting, coronary Christians, don't live according to the flesh but 'by the Spirit put to death the deeds of the body.' Be killing sin, or sin will be killing you." ~John Piper

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