As a pastor and counselor, I see the destruction that sin brings to people’s lives on a very regular basis. I have seen sin grab people and take them where they never expected to go. We take sin very lightly in the church today and think people extreme when they really want to get serious about their sin. That’s why I am so thankful for Wayne and Joshua Mack and their efforts in A Fight to the Death.
Wayne and Joshua Mack divide the book into two parts: Why Fight Sin? and How to Put Sin to Death. They give us a real picture of sin: Not an accident, not a slip up, but treason against the Most High God. “Sin is more than doing what we want. It is doing the exact opposite of what God wants. It is doing that which God hates. That is why it is so often called an abomination to God. Sin is disgusting to God” (page 30). If we do not truly believe that sin is abhorrent, we will run to it over and over again. This is why the authors spend a full five chapters in part 1 painting the picture of sin’s disgusting nature. They know the destruction that sin can bring and the need to see sin for what it really is.
In part 2 the authors bring us deeply into the practical side of what it looks like to deal with sin. They help us walk the path of taking sin seriously and taking the need to eradicate sin seriously, while helping us avoid the trappings of perfectionism. We must take sin seriously. It doesn’t just affect us; it affects everyone around us. Maybe those around us don’t even know of our sin, but the “ripple effect” discussed in the book affects how we interact with God and with others. The authors provide a host of helpful insights such as being aware of periods where temptation may be increased, being careful to know your own heart and your own weaknesses, and stopping sin the second it rears its ugly head. These may sound like simple solutions, but the authors demonstrate these winsomely to the reader. That is one of the best things about this book: It is hard hitting and yet an easy read.
Many have said that we don’t talk about sin enough in our churches today, but that certainly doesn’t make sin any less real. The authors urge the reader to a puritanical disposition towards sin and heavily stress the need for us to battle it day in and day out. As the church becomes softer towards sin it moves further from the biblical standard. We are told, “You shall be holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). We don’t have an excuse to let sin slide or act like some sins don’t matter. While A Fight to the Death doesn’t address particular sins, it provides a great place for the battle to start in the heart of every believer and will be a great help no matter how long you have been in the fight.
- “When we choose to sin, we choose to do something that is inherently ineffective. In the long run, sin does not work.” (page 28)
- “Sin is deceptive. It wears masks. It is an ugly beast, but when it comes knocking on the door of our hearts, it is dressed up like a Girl Scout. It wants us to think that it wants only to sell us some cookies, when in fact it really wants to destroy us.” (page 25)
- “To succeed in obeying the biblical injunction to put sin to death in our lives, we must be especially wakeful during the seasons in our lives when we are most likely to experience extraordinary temptation.” (page 108)
- “Would that more of us were as concerned about killing sin and living righteously as the Puritans were! If we were, we would regularly follow their practices of self-examination, repentance, change, and resolution to abhor evil and cling to what is good.” (page 125)
- “This is where we often go wrong with our evil desires. This is how we often fall into temptation. We allow our evil desires, the weaknesses of our flesh, the world, and the devil to give us their sales pitches.” (page 133)
- “It is no surprise that Satan is relentless in his attack on what the Bible teaches about sin. By simply tampering with the doctrine of sin, he is able to make chaos of the Christian faith. If he can get us to think erroneously or even superficially about sin, he has us where he wants us. He knows that if we have a wrong understanding of sin, we will have a wrong understanding of everything else.” (page 19)