Put Sin to Death

Romans 8:12–13

Principle for Bible Reading

Paul warns us about letting sin linger in our lives, so how do we kill sin? Beginning with Romans 8, John Piper walks through several passages to explain the weapons God has given us to defeat sin and its deception.

View the outline.


Introduction (00:00–00:41)

Why We Kill Sin (00:41–02:13)

  1. What are “the deeds of the body” (Romans 8:13)? They happen when we present our bodies to sin (Romans 6:12–13).
  2. “Put to death the deeds of the body.” That is, kill the sin that is about to take hold of the body and make it an instrument for unrighteouesness.

How We Kill Sin: By the Spirit (02:13–05:46)

  1. We kill sin “by the Spirit” (Romans 8:13).
  2. The only weapon in the armor of God is the word of God (Ephesians 6:16–17). So, we kill sin by the Spirit by wielding the word against temptation.
  3. We kill sin by the Spirit by hearing the word with faith (Galatians 3:5). We defeat sin when we trust that God’s word holds a superior satisfaction.
  4. We kill sin “through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:13).

Killing Sin: An Example (05:46–07:20)

Read Hebrews 13:5–6 (about the love of money).

  1. “Keep your life free from love of money.” (Hebrews 13:5)
  2. Because God says (God’s word), “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). Trust God’s promises over the promises money makes.
  3. Don’t love money. Instead, love God’s promises and be satisfied in them.

Summary (07:20–08:14)

  1. “If you live according to the flesh you will die” (Romans 8:13).
  2. “But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” (Romans 8:13)
  3. Eternal life is attained along the path of warfare, not of making peace with our sin.
  4. This fight is fought by the Spirit, not in our strength.
  5. We trust in the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, which satisfies us more than anything the deeds of the flesh can give us.

Study Questions

  1. What are the deeds of the body? After defining them yourself, look at Romans 6:12–13 and improve your definition.
  2. How do we kill sin? Read Ephesians 6:16–17, Galatians 3:5, 2 Thessalonians 2:13, and Hebrews 13:5 for help.
  3. What does it mean to kill sin “by the Spirit”?
John Owen: “Be killing sin, or it will be killing you.”

‘The Greatest Chapter’ Series

This lab is part of a series through Romans 8. Taking a verse or two at a time, John Piper unfolds the other-worldly realities in these thirty-nine verses, all along pointing out general, practical principles for understanding and applying the Bible’s meaning. Visit ‘The Greatest Chapter’ series page to see all the labs in this series.