Shedding Blood to Strive Against Sin

Church History has a tradition of guys who would flog themselves for their sin. Their depravity drove them to despise themselves and beat or torment their flesh.

I’m of the general opinion that this is not a good idea. It must also strongly be stated that beating yourself for sins does not make up for the sin. Much of this tradition seems to have attached to it the idea of penance, or paying a price for your guilt. It will not avail in God’s court.

At the same time, I wonder if our soft Christianity could gain something from a little flagellation.

Jesus Christ said in order to avoid sin it would be better to cut your hands and feet off and gouge your eyes out. His view of sin seems much more severe than ours. Was He speaking metaphorically? Just another outrageous statement to get attention, or should we all be maimed?

Furthermore, there’s Hebrews 12:4, “In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.” Are we supposed to be striving against sin to the point of shedding our own blood?

Again, this shedding of blood does not make up for our sins and never could. But I wonder if we took sin seriously and fought it like a true enemy, disciplined ourselves severely over it, if we might not have more victory over it.

The Apostle Paul said he didn’t beat the air, but disciplined¬†(literally means to hit under the eye, to buffet) his body, brought it under subjection (to be a slave driver), which seems to imply he used some sort of physical pain to keep himself from sin.

In our fear of undermining Christ’s suffering, or avoiding legalism or Catholic weirdness, perhaps we’ve also thrown in the towel against sin.

This is an issue between you and God and I’d encourage you to think on it.

2 thoughts on “Shedding Blood to Strive Against Sin”

  1. For myself the issue is more of one that I tend to take for granted the glory of God, rather than depth of my sin. When I focus on God’s glory and grace, sinful things pale in comparison. For me the best way to fight against sin, is to look at what Christ has done for me, when I was still his enemy.

    Like King David no one has to remind me that I’m sinful, I was conceived in sin, it’s only by God’s grace am I able to know Him. (Psalm 51)

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