Four Steps to Kill Nagging Sins: Step 4
4. Overwhelm it.
In the gospel, God has given us the resources that we need to deal with nagging sins. Let me just mention three: patience, pardon, and power. The gospel means that God has “perfect patience” (1 Timothy 1:16
) for us even amidst our struggles with nagging sins. To truly kill a nagging sin, we need to know that God has not given up on us. Even when we have lost patience with ourselves, he is still there, like the Prodigal’s loving father, calling us back to obedience and joy.
The gospel also means that God pardons our nagging sins. “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” (Romans 5:20
). Only when we see our nagging sins through the gospel — as right now, before
it is subdued, already forgiven in God’s sight — will we make true progress against them. As William Romaine wisely wrote, “no sin can be crucified either in heart or life unless it first be pardoned in conscience. . . . If it be not mortified in its guilt, it cannot be subdued in its power.”
Finally, the gospel means that God provides us with power, that we might overcome nagging sins (2 Timothy 1:7
). His Spirit gives us strength beyond ourselves with which to fight, and his all-satisfying presence gives us the promise of a superior, lasting joy. However strong our nagging sins may feel, it is truly possible in Christ to “not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21
). As John Owen counsels us:
Set faith at work on Christ for the killing of thy sin. His blood is the great sovereign remedy for sin-sick souls. Live in this, and thou wilt die a conqueror. Yea, thou wilt, through the good providence of God, live to see thy lust dead at thy feet.
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