“The only way to dispossess the heart of an old affection is through the expulsive power of a new one.” – Thomas Chalmers
There a certain seasons I feel that the Lord is refining me in one particular area for quite some time. I recently have been studying the book of 2 Corinthians along with Overcoming Sin and Temptation by John Owen and The Enemy Within by Kris Lungaard. Therefore, the idea of killing sin has been spinning around my head for some time now. It has left me questioning my motives for killing sin, my methods for killing sin and ultimately, how to kill sin. Both Owen and Lungaard have been extremely beneficial in this season of my life.
In 2 Corinthians chapter 3, Paul weighs in with some incredible wisdom about how to defeat sin. Normally, I was taught to defeat sin by fighting harder, memorizing more Scripture, praying more and being in an accountability group. This seems right on the surface but notice how much dependence relies on your effort. Therefore, I want you to think about this one idea:
YOU BECOME WHAT YOU BEHOLD.
“And we all, with unveiled face,” Paul says, “beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18). What image are we being transformed into? The image of Christ! Isn’t this the whole goal of our efforts in killing sin? Yes! Therefore, our mentality must switch from doing more and trying harder – to replacing our affections unto the Lord. While discipline is extremely important especially in the area of pursuing consistent Bible reading and prayer, you will never fully defeat sin until Jesus becomes the object of your affections. Remember, you become what you behold.
What is this veil that Paul mentions in the beginning of the verse? Earlier in the chapter, Paul recounts the glory of the Mosaic covenant, particularly when Moses when onto Mount Sinai to receive the 10 commandments. When Moses returned from receiving the Law, Moses shielded his face with a veil so that the Israelites could not gaze upon the Lord’s glory on Moses’ face. Paul says that this veil remains on the unbelievers, meaning they view the Scriptures through the mentality of the Law. How then is this veil taken away? Paul says, “only through Christ is it taken away.”
Brothers, your veil has been taken away. Your heart has been made new through the power of Christ. Therefore, as you fight now, behold Christ’s glory, which is able to transform you from one degree of glory to the next. How does this practically look? Yes, you will need to develop a healthy discipline of accountability, Bible reading and prayer – but most importantly, you need to develop a habit of beholding Christ in your heart. You can read the Scripture in vain but you cannot authentically worship God in vain.
Therefore, look to Christ the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. Jesus is the Word of God who “became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth… For from His fullness, we have all received grace upon grace” (John 1:14,16). He is the Righteous Branch that comes to “remove the iniquity of this land in a single day” (Zechariah 3:9). He is the God-man who turns water into wine (John 2), raises the dead (John 11), heals the sick (Matthew 8), forgives the sinner (John 8) and ultimately, is shamed so that you would not be shamed (Isaiah 55).
What are you beholding? That is what you will become. Therefore, in an age where hundreds of things are calling for your attention every second, pause and reflect on Christ’s great love for you. Look to the Cross, where you find Your Savior absorbing all that you deserved. Look to the Resurrection, where you find power to live a life victorious over sin. Look to the coming King, who will one day purge everything evil from you and you will finally become what you beheld.