It’s like being offered two jobs at the same time. Both opportunities come with the promise of challenge and purpose and certain benefits. You make your decision only after weighing those promises against each other.
The paths of walking in obedience to God or sinning likewise come with their own set of promises battling for our attention.
Battling unbelief and fighting for faith in future grace means that we fight fire with fire. We throw against the promises of sin the promises of God. We take hold of some great promise God made about our future and say to a particular sin, “Match that!” In this way we do what Paul says in Romans 8:13, “By the Spirit…put to death the deeds of the body.” John Owen wrote a book on that verse and summed it up with, “Be killing sin, or it will be killing you.”
We kill sinful deeds before they happen by cutting the root of their life: the lies of sin.
…The gospel of Christ’s death and resurrection is not only the core but the foundation of all the promises of God.… So when I say that we wield the Word of God, the sword of the Spirit, what I mean is that we hold fast to this Christ-centered gospel truth with all its promises, and bank on them in every situation. We sever the lifeline of sin by the power of a superior promise.
— Excerpted from Battling Unbelief by John Piper
In Something Wicked This Way Comes a well-dressed, slick carnival barker promises people the one thing they most desire but in return they unknowingly give up something of even greater value. An older woman is given back her youthful beauty but then loses her eyesight.
That’s what sin does. It makes a promise, delivers temporary pleasure and then robs us of life; the full and abundant life that Jesus came to bring us (John 10:10). And because sin leaves us more empty than before we rush back for more and get caught in a vicious, deadly cycle. Jesus offers a different promise…
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” ~ Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT)