Replacing Sin

Replacing Sin

Photo credit: under the Creative Commons license, by dartlee 

In my last post I raised the importance of being able to recognise sin. By doing this, the enemy becomes easier for us to identify. This is crucial because sin comes in many subtle forms, even trying to deny that it is even sin! However, our war on sin must not end with this simple yet necessary recognition. A second strategy for waging war on sin is to replace sin. Sin tries to consume our mind, and once it has done so it then produces evil actions. As a believer, we ought to replace evil with good. Instead of being consumed with unrighteousness, we ought to be consumed with righteousness. The principle of replacing calls for the believer to crowd sin out of their life. If we have a sinful thought, it is not enough to recognize it as sin, as important as that is. We need to replace that sin. What do we replace it with? We need to be filling our minds with the glorious truths of God’s word. Paul said in his letter to the Philippians,

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Phil. 4:8).

The notion of replacing can also be seen in the principle of Putting off and Putting on. Once we remove sin we replace it with righteousness. In his letter to the Colossians Paul commanded his readers to put off sexual (Col. 3:5-7) and social sins (Col. 3:8-11). These are the garments of wickedness. In place of those corrupt clothes he then call for them to put on garments of righteousness (Col. 3:12-14). Just as the priests in the Old Testament were to put on particular garments for their priestly service (cf. Ex. 29:8-9), every believer is to put on particular spiritual garments for their Christian service.

If we are going to wage war on sin, we must make it our business by God’s grace to be actively replacing sin.


  1. Don

    Andrew, I appreciate this very practical approach to avoiding sinful acts. I have long held to the opinion that when we sin, we knowingly choose to sin. We don’t fall into it by mistake; it’s a choice.

    If this is true, then in many ways we can avoid the sin which so easily besets us. (Heb 12:1) We substitute the act of sinning with running with endurance the race that is set before us.

    We have a tendency to ‘spiritualise’ every aspect of our walk of faith. But I believe the Bible teaches us that much of what God expects from his children is a disciplined life which involves our mental faculties.

    Romans 12: 2 states, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect”. and, of course, there is the verse that you quoted from Phil 4:8 above; “…think on these things“.

    • Andrew Courtis

      Thanks for your important comment Don. You said regarding sin, “we don’t fall into it by mistake; it’s a choice.” I think that is a crucial observation. When it comes to sin, many have pot hole theology. They blame the road or circumstances for their personal sin. The world, circumstances and the devil are certainly influences – but we sin because we choose too.

  2. Stu

    Thanks for this practical application action plan to driving sinful thoughts and actions out of our lives. I like how you said we need to refocus ourselves on what is pure and good and righteous, not simply just “stop sinning”.

    To further what Don said I think the discipline should not just be about not sinning but structuring our lives to involve God, to feed off Him, to enjoy Him, to marvel at Him. The more we spend involving God in our lives and remembering what Jesus did for us and thanking God, the more sin will lose its appeal and power. That’s what Rom 12:1-2 is talking about. There’s times when we may not feel like involving God or reading the bible or praying, but often when we choose to do so regardless of how we feel, God places in us a peace and satisfaction that no sinful act can achieve (Rom 8:5-6).

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