Do you ever struggle with a recurring sin? One that, just when you think you’ve got it conquered for good, manifests itself once again, to your surprise and frustration? And you think, “I can’t believe I did that. Where did that come from? Why do I keep doing that?”
It’s discouraging, isn’t it?
Well, here’s the best help to that problem I’ve read in a very long while (and it’s from a long time ago):
“Every Christian must make up his mind and lay out his life to crucify all his several sins and to keep them crucified, till God has time to have them forever mortified. For, if a malefactor was once arrested and was crucified and was kept crucified till at last he died upon his cross, in that case his days of robbery and murder were at an end. But let the watching soldiers fall asleep, or let them become drunken, and let that crucified criminal’s old companions come and take him down from his cross, as sometimes happened, and that rescued malefactor would immediately return to his former crimes and even worse than before. And so will it be with those robbers and murderers who are still alive and unmortified in our own hearts. They may be really and truly be crucified and their days of open and outward transgression may seem to be at an end. But cease watching them; cease for so much as a day our an hour from keeping them crucified, and they will be back that very hour at all their former evil works. Those so besetting sins of yours that are today nailed to their cross ard are silent and motionless and shamming death, unless you watch with all your watchfulness they will be down from their cross and will be back again at all their evil ways.”
(Source: Alexander Whyte, quoted in Worthy is the Lamb: Puritan Poetry in Honor of the Savior, Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 2004, p. .275)
Colossians 3:3-10 (ESV) is the relevant passage:
3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.