Perhaps the most annoying enemies in Sid Meier’s Civilization are the barbarians. They have been that way since Civ I—back then I played on a 9 inch screen on a Macintosh SE and was happy to do so. The game has progressed to its current incarnation of Civilization VI and I’m still playing—now on the Nintendo Switch platform.
Barbarians are peoples who live in outposts and generally like to wreak havoc on any legitimate civilization. They’ll come in and destroy farms, mines and other improvements you’ve made around your cities. They’ve become more sophisticated with each generation of Civ.
There is no making peace with them. One either puts up with them, killing them when you can, or you wipe them out all together. There is no compromise. In my most recent game of Civ VI, I elected to play the civilization, Australia and I set the map to be earth; so, my “civilization” occupies the continent of Australia. To live at peace, I had to destroy four barbarian outposts on my continent. There was no other way.
I liken Civ VI’s barbarians to sin. Purtian John Owen was right when he said, “Be killing sin or it will be killing you.” Sin invades our lives, disrupting our thoughts and actions. Like the barbarians in my game, sin comes along and uproots our “farms” (progress) and encroaches in our “mines” (thoughts, brain, etc.).
Be killing sin or it will be killing you.
This morning I read 1, 2 & 3 John. I’ve read them countless times before. John wrote,
“Everyone who has been born of God does not sin, because his seed remains in him; he is not able to sin, because he has been born of God.” [1 John 3:9 (CSB)]. For a few seconds I began to question my salvation—wait, I thought, I sin; in fact I sin everyday; am I really saved?
Paul wrote similarly in Romans:
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, so that you obey its desires. And do not offer any parts of it to sin as weapons for unrighteousness. But as those who are alive from the dead, offer yourselves to God, and all the parts of yourselves to God as weapons for righteousness. For sin will not rule over you, because you are not under the law but under grace. [Romans 6:12-14 (CSB)]
The key phrase (for me) is: For sin will not rule over you, because you are not under the law but under grace. We’re not under the law, we’re under grace! Sin shall not occupy your throne.
Matthew writes in his gospel that Jesus declared, “A good tree can’t produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit.” Matthew 7:18 (CSB)—the original Greek reads, a good tree will not habitually bear bad fruit. Every tree will have a few bad pieces of fruit—however, the majority will be good. Bill Flannagan, my pastor in the late 1990s explained it this way: the course of the Mississippi is North to South, though sometimes it flows East or West for a bit.
Sin isn’t merely pesky—it wants your life. It wants to kill you spiritually and claim you when you die physically. In Civ VI the barbarians will wipe you out if you let them. Be killing sin or it will be killing you.
Paul, again in Romans, pronounces the gospel (good news)— The law came along to multiply the trespass. But where sin multiplied, grace multiplied even more so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace will reign through righteousness, resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. [Romans 5:20-21 (CSB)] That’s the Gospel, that’s the good news.
So, when we anguish over our sin, we can, like Paul ask and answer, What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with my mind I myself am serving the law of God, but with my flesh, the law of sin.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus, because the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. [Romans 7:24–8:2 (CSB)].
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus
So, walk confidently today in the Lord—His Grace is bigger than our sin. He’s got this.