“Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
Hebrews 3:12-13

“Be killing sin, or it will be killing you.” John Owen warns there is no neutrality in our spiritual lives. If there is not advancement against the enemy, there is retreat: “Let no man think he makes any progress in holiness who walks not over the bellies of his lusts.”

So many Christians nowadays have lost this battle: they’ve succumbed to sin and in the wake of it, have been enslaved in bondage to a supposedly defeated foe. The clear warning of this scripture is that evil is impending in our world all the while in our hearts, there is a futile depravity—unbelief.

Both of these forces, enemies from within and from without—hamper us in our faith. At worse moments, these things lead us away from the living God.

If we are not careful, we can easily be deceived by such evils and therefore let sin in our lives without battling it. John Owen, known for his puritan heritage, takes pains to expose the ways in which sin is deceitful (Heb. 3:13).

As an example, He mentions that sin will always be “modest . . . in its first motions and proposals.” We are easily duped into believing that our sins are only small infractions, slight indiscretions. But this deception permits greater compromise: “Sin aims always at the utmost; every time it rises up to tempt or entice, might it have its own course, it would go out to the utmost sin in that kind. Every unclean thought or glance would be adultery if it could; every covetous desire would be oppression, every thought of unbelief would be atheism, might it grow to its head.”

He clearly saw the malignancy of sin and wickedness in Christian’s lives. Left unchecked, we have the tremendous capacity to fall into more sin, even darker and more wicked.

There is nothing benign about sin, no matter how small or slight it might initially seem; every sin is a cancer that will multiply and kill. Be killing it instead.

Prayer: Lord, today I realize the aspects of my life that are defiled by sin. Search my heart and mind for these favorite sins that have become acceptable to me but are grievous to you. Allow me the strength to overcome these strongholds and struggles in my life and lead me in the everlasting way. Forgive me Lord for my neutrality towards such wickedness and allow me hatred towards this cancer of sin. Today I yearn to live the victorious life only possible through Christ my Lord, amen.