DYING TO SIN

“[B]aptism. Going under the water was a burial of your old life; coming up out of it was a resurrection, God raising you from the dead as he did Christ. When you were stuck in your old sin-dead life, you were incapable of responding to God. God brought you alive—right along with Christ! All sins forgiven, the slate wiped clean, that old arrest warrant canceled and nailed to Christ’s cross” (Col 2:11-15 MSG).

“[O]ur dying to sin is the result of our union with Christ. Because He died to sin, we died to sin. Therefore, it is apparent that our dying to sin is not something we do, but something Christ has done” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p52).

“The life of the renewed soul, springing from the indwelling of Christ by the Spirit, includes the crucifixion of self (Gal 2:20). We do not plead for its utter annihilation in this life; that would be looking for something the Word of God never warrants. But we do insist upon its mortification: we plead for its subjection to Christ” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Mar 16th).

“We are to consider—ourselves dead to sin, but our reckoning does not make it true. Because we are dead to sin through our union with Christ, we are not to let sin reign in our mortal bodies. Our daily experience with regard to sin is determined—not by our reckoning, but by our will—by whether we allow sin to reign in our bodies” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p53).

“The more we say no to sin, the more we are inclined to say no. Therefore, in dependence on the Holy Spirit, we must systematically work at acquiring the habit of saying no to the sins that so easily entangle us” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p133).

“[T]he sweep of New Testament teaching is that it is the sun of Christ’s heart, not the clouds of my sins, that now defines me” Dane Ortland (ref#382, p187).

MAGNITUDE OF FORGIVENESS

“Such an awareness of my sinfulness does not drag me down, but actually serves to lift me up by magnifying my appreciation of God’s forgiving grace in my life. And the more I appreciate the magnitude of God’s forgiveness of my sins, the more I love Him and delight to show Him love through heart-felt expressions of worship” Milton Vincent (ref#60, p33).

“It is when we come to the end of self and are utterly undone and then realise what God has done for us that we begin to realise that the love of God is in us. In other words, mere abstract thoughts upon God as love will never do it” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p524-525).

“Repentance is one of the Christian’s highest privileges. A repentant Christian focuses on God’s mercy and God’s grace. Any moment in our lives when we bask in God’s mercy and grace is our highest moment” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p27).

“He isn’t like you. Even the most intense of human love is but the faintest echo of heaven’s cascading abundance. His heartful thoughts for you outstrip what you can conceive. He intends to restore you into the radiant resplendence for which you were created. And that is dependent not on you keeping yourself clean but on you taking your mess to him” Dane Ortland (ref#382, p160).

“[S]ince we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Rom 5:1-2 ESV).

“The gospel encourages me to rest in my righteous standing with God, a standing which Christ Himself has accomplished and always maintains for me. I never have to do a moment’s labor to gain or maintain my justified status before God! Freed from the burden of such a task, I now can put my energies into enjoying God, pursuing holiness, and ministering God’s amazing grace to others” Milton Vincent (ref#60, p20).

“For the love which Christ has [for me] presses on me from all sides, holding me to one end and prohibiting me from considering any other, wrapping itself around me in tenderness, giving me an impelling motive” (2 Cor 5:14 Wuest).

CHRISTIAN SELF-DENIAL

“’As sure as ever a Christian carves for himself, he’ll cut his own fingers’” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Feb 9th AM).

“It is an ancient and true observation that there is a world of vices hidden in the soul of man, but Christian self-denial is the remedy of them all” John Owen (ref#313, p24).

“The great enemy of the life of faith in God is not sin, but the good which is not good enough. The good is always the enemy of the best. Many of us do not go on spiritually because we prefer to choose what is right instead of relying on God to choose for us” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, May 25th).

“[A]lthough we have offended our King many times, yet our hearts are loyal to Him after all. ‘Oh precious Jesus, we would obey You and yield submission to every one of Your laws; our sins are not willful or beloved sins. Although we fall, we can truly say that we want to be holy as You are holy, our hearts are true toward Your statutes. Lord, help us to ‘run the way of thy commandments’ (Psalm 119:32)” Charles Spurgeon (ref#320, p26).

“[T]hough we can fall of ourselves, we cannot rise without his help. Indeed every sin, in its own nature, has a tendency toward a final apostasy; but there is a provision in the covenant of grace, and the Lord, in his own time, returns to convince, humble, pardon, comfort, and renew the soul. [W]e begin at length to learn that we are nothing, have nothing, can do nothing but sin. And thus we are gradually prepared to live more out of ourselves, and to derive all our sufficiency of every kind from Jesus, the fountain of grace. We learn to tread more warily, to trust less to our own strength, to have lower thoughts of ourselves, and higher thoughts of him” John Newton (ref#322, p119-120).

“Do not sweep my soul away with sinners, nor my life with bloodthirsty men, in whose hands are evil devices, and whose right hands are full of bribes. But as for me, I shall walk in my integrity; redeem me, and be gracious to me” (Ps 26:9-11 ESV).

LEAN UPON CHRIST

“If you would not be taken in any of Satan’s snares, then engage not against Satan in your own strength, but be every day drawing new virtue and strength from the Lord Jesus” Thomas Brooks (ref#379, p36).

“[Y]our strength to stand and overcome must not be expected from graces received, but from the fresh and renewed influences of heaven. You must lean more upon Christ than upon your duties. You must lean more upon Christ than upon spiritual tastes and discoveries. You must lean more upon Christ than upon your graces, or else Satan will lead you into captivity” Thomas Brooks (ref#379, p36).

“Believers are compared to earthen vessels, liable in themselves to be destroyed by a small blow; but they are so strengthened and tempered by the power and supply of divine grace that the fiercest efforts of their fiercest enemies against them may be compared to the dashing of waves against a rock. And that this may be known and noticed, they are exposed to many trials. But the united and repeated assaults of the men of the world and the powers of darkness afford but the more incontestable demonstration that the Lord is with them” John Newton (ref#376, p20).

“Christ will not fail you. He may permit, for wise and holy ends, the messenger of Satan to buffet you; but He will restrain the enemy, permitting him to go so far and no farther, and will make good His promise: ‘My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness’ (2 Co 12:9). This very temptation of your soul may make you better acquainted with Christ than ever. For this end, doubtless, He permits it” Octavius Winslow (ref#381, p45).

“God does deal with us as a loving but firm father deals with his children. He accepts us unconditionally because we are His sons and daughters in Christ, but He disciplines us for our good. And in the administering of His discipline He withholds the assurance of His forgiveness until we, through repentance, are ready to receive it” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p206).

“In a little while, He will come and complete the victory begun in Paradise, continued in the wilderness, renewed on the cross, carried on through the long history of His church, and consummated in the day of His personal, glorious, and triumphant appearing. Tempted child of God! Take heart! Look up” Octavius Winslow (ref#381, p46)!

A FRIEND IN HEAVEN

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Heb 4:15 ESV).

“Christ is not only God but man and not only man but God. The Christos, the anointed one, the High Priest of our profession, is in His complex character able to help them that are tempted” Charles Spurgeon (ref#380, p38).

“Oh, throw yourself at the feet of the Savior, Whose mission it is to ‘destroy the works of the devil’ and the devil himself, and beseech Him to rend the chain, to eject the usurper” Octavius Winslow (ref#381, p47).

“For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Heb 2:18 ESV).

“Satan’s malice is not abated; and though he has met with millions of disappointments, he still, like Goliath of old, defies the armies of God’s Israel: he challenges the stoutest, and desires to have them, ‘that he may sift [them] as wheat.’ Indeed, he is far an overmatch for them, considered as in themselves; but though they are weak, their Redeemer is mighty! They are forever secured by His love and intercession. The Lord knows them that are His, and no weapon formed against them can prosper” John Newton (ref#376, p19).

“[N]o weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD and their vindication from me, declares the LORD.’” (Isa 54:17 ESV).

“Tempted believer in Jesus! Learn thus the paralyzed power of your tempter, so that you do not become disheartened and dismayed. Remember that the Son of God has pierced him, signally and fatally; and that every fiery dart pointed at the believer are tipped with the conquering blood of Christ” Octavius Winslow (ref#381, p42).

“Let all true Christians take comfort in the thought that they have a Friend in heaven Who can be touched with the feeling of their infirmities. When they pour out their hearts before the throne of grace and groan under the burden that daily harasses them, there is One making intercession Who knows their sorrows. Let us take courage. The Lord Jesus is not an austere man. He knows what we mean when we complain of temptation and is both able and willing to give us help” J.C. Ryle (ref#374, p12).

OUR HELPER

“God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: ‘The Lord knows those who are his,’ and, ‘Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.’” (2 Tim 2:19 ESV).

“[W]hen confronted with your failure you can run not away from God but to him. You can do this because your standing with him has never been based on your righteous performance, but on the perfect obedience of your Savior” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Mar 6th).

“[W]hat he really is concerned about is our state or condition. [W]hat really matters is what we are” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p76).

“Though grace be wrought in the hearts of the regenerate, it is not in their power to act it: He who implanted it must renew, excite, and marshal it. ‘If ye through the Spirit do mortify’ (Rom 8:13). First, He it is who discovers the sin that is to be mortified, opening it to the view of the soul, stripping it of its deceits, exposing its deformity. Second, He it is who gradually weakens sin’s power, acting as ‘the Spirit of burning’ (Isa 4:4), consuming the dross. Third, He it is who reveals and applies the efficacy of the Cross of Christ, in which there is contained a sin-mortifying virtue, whereby we are ‘made conformable unto His death’ (Phil 3:10). Fourth, He it is who strengthens us with might in the inner man, so that our graces—the opposites of the lust of the flesh—are invigorated and called into exercise” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p114).

“Go, again and again, to this divine Fountain, taking to Jesus every corruption as it develops, every sin as it is felt, ever sorrow as it rises” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Mar 28th).

“[I]t was not enough for him to just forgive me; he had to come and live inside me or I would not be what I had been re-created to be or do. I need the presence and power of the Holy Spirit living inside me because sin kidnaps the desires of my heart, blinds my eyes, and weakens my knees. My problem is not just the guilt of sin; it’s the inability of sin as well. So God graces his children with the convicting, sight-giving, desire-producing, and strength-affording presence of the Spirit” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Jan 7th).

“It is by yielding to the Spirit’s impulses, heeding His striving, submitting ourselves unto His government, that any measure of success is granted us in this most important work” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p115).

“We can bring our up-and-down moral performance into subjection to the settled fixedness of what Jesus feels about us. [L]et the heart of Christ calm us into joy” Dane Ortland (ref#382, p187).

RESULTS OF FORGIVENESS

“If you prepare your heart, you will stretch out your hands toward him. If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away, and let not injustice dwell in your tents. Surely then you will lift up your face without blemish; you will be secure and will not fear. You will forget your misery, you will remember it as waters that have passed away. And your life will be brighter than the noonday; its darkness will be like the morning” (Job 11:13-17 ESV).

“I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.’ and you forgave the iniquity of my sin” (Ps 32:5 ESV).

“Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit” (Ps 32:1-2 ESV).

“[Y]our sins are forgiven for his name’s sake” (1 John 2:12 ESV).

“[I]f we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7 ESV).

“’Cleanseth,’ says the text—not ‘shall cleanse.’ [F]orgiveness of sin is a present thing—a privilege for this day, a joy for this very hour. The moment a sinner trusts in Jesus, he is fully forgiven. The text is written in the present tense, indicating continuance; it was ‘cleanseth’ yesterday, it is ‘cleanseth’ today, and it will be ‘cleanseth’ tomorrow” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, July 23rd PM).

“I am not worthy of the least of all the deeds of steadfast love and all the faithfulness that you have shown to your servant” (Gen 32:10 ESV).

NO MORE BONDAGE TO SIN

“The contented heart is satisfied with the Giver and is therefore freed from craving the next gift” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Jan 6th).

“We cannot take the name Christian upon us, we cannot say that we belong to the children of God and are of his church, unless we have been delivered from our filthiness” John Calvin (ref#164, Nov 10th).

“Though God has delivered us from the reign of sin, our sinful natures still reside within us. Even though sin’s dominion and rule are broken, the remaining sin that dwells in believers exerts a tremendous power, constantly working toward evil” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p55).

“Habit is defined as the ‘prevailing disposition or character of a person’s thoughts and feelings. Habits are the thought and emotional patterns engraved on our minds” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p132).

“Christians tend to sin out of habit. It is our habit to look out for ourselves instead of others, to retaliate when injured in some way, and to indulge the appetites of our bodies. [W]e will spend the rest of our lives putting off these habits and putting on habits of holiness. [T]hough sin no longer reigns in us, it will constantly try to get at us. Though we have been delivered from the kingdom of sin and its rule, we have not been delivered from its attacks” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p56).

“[W]hen we undertake anything at God’s bidding, we should beware that nothing should hinder our perseverance. None are fitted to act rightly but those who are well prepared to endure the assaults of temptation” John Calvin (ref#164, Jan 12th).

“We can stand up to sin and say no to it. Before we had no choice; now we have one. When we sin as Christians, we do not sin as slaves, but as individuals with the freedom of choice. We sin because we choose to sin” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p57).

“I can never do too much for Him that hath done so much for me. And I will labour to be like my Saviour, by making humility lovely in the eyes of all men, and by following the merciful and meek example of my dear Jesus” George Herbert (ref#333, p153).

FORGIVENESS OF SINS

“The gospel message consists of two parts: forgiveness of sins and repentance” John Calvin (ref#164, June 8th).

“Folly is bound up in hearts, but the sanctified rod of correction reveals it, and the discovery proves one of the costliest blessings in the experience of the disciplined child. [L]et us not then shrink from the probing nor be afraid at its discovery, if it leads us nearer to holiness, nearer to Christ, nearer to God, nearer to heaven! Past backslidings—unnoticed, unsuspected, and unconfessed—are recalled to memory when God is dealing with us” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Jan 25th).

“Forgiveness, received freely from the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, acts as a spring, an impulse, a stimulus of divine potency. It is more irresistible than law, or terror, or threat” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p207).

“It is forgiveness that sets a man working for God. He does not work in order to be forgiven, but because he has been forgiven, and the consciousness of his sin being pardoned makes him long more for its entire removal than ever he did before” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p207).

“Inheriting the kingdom of God is a great gift that involves both forgiveness and repentance. These two are to be distinguished but never separated. Examine yourself today: are you both forgiven and penitent? If so, thank God today for these priceless gifts that lead to eternal life” John Calvin (ref#164, June 8th).

“The sum of the gospel is that God through his Son takes away our sins and admits us to fellowship with him, so that we, in denying ourselves and our own nature, may ‘live soberly, righteously, and godly.’” John Calvin (ref#164, June 8th).

HOLINESS

“God demands more than that we acknowledge His holiness. He says to us, ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’ God rightfully demands perfect holiness in all of His moral creatures. It cannot be otherwise. He cannot possibly ignore or approve of any evil committed” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p26).

“God, being God, cannot simply forgive sin. Now the common idea about God, the one that we have instinctively is that when we admit we have sinned, all that is necessary is that we should come to God, say we are very sorry, and God will forgive us. But according to the Bible that is impossible. God, because He is God, cannot just forgive sin like that. If God could have forgiven sin just by saying, ‘I forgive,’ He would have done so, and Christ would never have been sent into this world. The work that was given to Him to do was given to the Lord Jesus Christ because without it God cannot forgive sin. He must not only justify the ungodly—He must remain just. The way of salvation must be consistent with the character of God. He cannot deny Himself; He cannot change Himself; He is unchangeable. He is absolutely righteous and holy and just. He cannot remain that and simply forgive sin” Martyn Lloyd Jones (ref#189, Feb 17th).

“[W]ithout holiness no one will see the Lord” (Heb 12:14 NIV).

“The work of Christ was essential because of the character of God, and it was essential because of man being in sin; something had to be done to render man fit for God” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Feb 17th).

“Pray not only against the power of sin, but for the power of holiness also. A wicked heart may pray against his sins, not out of any inward enmity to them, or love to holiness, but because they are troublesome guests to his conscience. His zeal is false that seems hot against sin, but is cold to holiness” William Gurnall (ref#225, Aug 26th).

“[S]inful habits make us feel guilty and defeated. The absence of Christlike character usually doesn’t have a similar effect on us, so there is less motivation to seek change in our lives. We need to work at ensuring that our commitment to holiness is a commitment to God, not to our own self-esteem. When we sin we are more vexed at the lowering of our self-esteem than we are grieved at God’s dishonor” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p149).

“God, being God, cannot simply forgive sin” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Feb 17th).