Beginning to Kill the Sin in You

Easter 4 Friday

1 Peter 2:24

“He himself sacrificed our sins in his body on the tree so that we would get rid of sin and live to righteousness.”


Here you hear the proper sermon concerning Christ’s suffering, as St. Peter teaches not only the one part about Christ’s suffering, but puts both side by side, namely both the strength or benefit and the example, as St. Paul also does customarily. For here he turns Christ’s suffering into the sacrifice for our sin. That is the kind of work that pleases God so well that he is reconciled thereby and accepts it as payment for the sins of the whole world. …  Well, by means of this one sacrifice our sin is taken away and grace and forgiveness is acquired for us which we cannot receive except by faith. But St. Peter here specially indicates the purpose which such sacrifice, offered for us, is to accomplish in us and which is the fruit of the passion or of the suffering of Christ, so that such would not be forgotten or omitted to be taught in Christendom. Christ, says he, has taken our sin upon himself and suffered in this way so that it is not only fitting that it is called a sacrifice for all our sin, but such sacrifice did not take place so that we should remain the way we were before. But finally this sacrifice is to bring it about in us that we would get rid of sins and no longer live to them, but to righteousness. For since sin was sacrificed by him, it must also be killed and eradicated, especially since “sacrifice” means to butcher and kill. For in the Old Testament all sacrifices had to be brought before God butchered and killed. But now that sin has been killed, it was not killed so that we should remain and live in it. This is why it is not valid to interpret the salutary doctrine concerning Christ’s grace and forgiveness of sins so that we now might continue to live the way we lived before and do what we would like to do. It does not follow – says St. Paul in Romans 6:1-2, 6-8 – that now that we are under grace and have the forgiveness of sins we therefore might live in sin. For how should we live to the sin to which we now have died? For this is exactly why we died to it: So that it would no longer live and rule in us. For this is why it was killed in Christ’s holy body: So that it would also be killed in us. Here see to it yourself how you believe and live, so that such work of Christ’s suffering would also show itself and be done in you. For if you have rightly grasped it by faith, it is also to show that it has strength in you to curb and to kill sin, as it is already nailed to the cross and killed by his death. But if you continue to live in sin, you cannot say that it has been killed in you; you only deceive yourself. In fact, you convict yourself of lying by your own testimony that you boast of Christ: While all sins are dead in him, they are very much alive in you. … To be sure, you will not become perfectly pure and be without sin on earth, otherwise you would not need faith and Christ. But this is not the meaning here that you would always remain the way you were before receiving the forgiveness of sins by faith. For I am talking about the kind of sin you follow knowingly and deliberately and for which your own conscience rebukes and condemns you: This sin is to be dead in you, that is, you are to be found as one who is not ruled by sin but as one who rules sin, who resists sin and begins to kill it. And even when you fail or stumble somewhere you soon get back on your feet, lay hold of the forgiveness, and once more begin to kill the sin in you.


St. Louis ed., 12:559-561.

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