Friday, March 16, 2007

Putting Aside Sin

Thomas Watson says in order to profit from the Word you must “remove the love of every sin...The Scripture prescribes excellent receipts; but sin lived-in poisons all. The body cannot thrive in a fever; not can the soul, under the feverish heat of lust” (Sermon: How We May Read the Scriptures with Most Spiritual Profit, 1674, reprinted 1844).

Peter has a word on this too. He says in 1 Peter 2:1, “Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.” What does he mean when he says “putting aside?” (v.1). The phrase, “putting aside” (Gr.apothemenoi) means “to put off, to put away.” The word “had reference to the discarding of an old dirty garment” (MacArthur) and “suggests a once and for all action of separating oneself from sin” (Kenneth Wuest, Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, Vol.2). Kenneth Wuest writes, “In view of the fact that the divine life has been imparted to the believer, it is imperative that he ‘put away once for all’ any sins that may be in his life. The preposition prefixed to the verb implies separation. The believer is commanded to separate himself from sin. This act of separating himself from sin must be once and for all action, as the tense of the participle suggests. There must be a complete right-about-face” (Ibid., p.50).

Ephesians 4:22-23 says, “That you put off, concerning your formal conduct, the old man which grow corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” Colossians 3:8 says, “But now you must also put of all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.” Peter is echoing the words of Paul here. We are to “put off” or lay aside” the old man. Notice the 5 vices he lists in verse 1. He says, “laying aside, all malice, all guile, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking.” What about you? Are you “putting” these things aside “once and for all”?

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