The title of this reflection expresses one of the keys to a life of holiness. Up until the fourth century, martyrdom was an ever-present reality for Christians. With the conversion of the Roman Emperor Constantine, the systematic persecution of the Christian Church slowly came to an end. Literally thousands of people became martyrs for the faith then and up until this day.

In today’s reading from the Letter to the Hebrews, we hear the author challenging the reader, or one listening to the reading, as to how committed they are to getting rid of the sin in their life. Are you committed to the destruction of sin in your life to the point of death? If not, why not?

Sin is about the worst thing a person can ever do. Sin separates us from the love of God. Sin, if it is serious enough and not repented of, can separate us eternally from the love of God. That is really serious! It is no laughing matter when we begin to look at the damage that sin can do to our lives. The author of the Letter to the Hebrews knows this truth in the depth of his heart and he wants to instill it in his readers. It is better to die and avoid sin that to freely choose to sin.

Ultimately, there is no excuse for sin! Thousands of people gave up their lives rather than to deny their faith and so sin. Thousands gave up their lives in proclaiming the Gospel in hostile situations. And then we sin because it makes our lives a little more comfortable in the here and now. What we forget is that sin has consequences beyond the immediate moment. We do not know if we will definitely have a chance to properly repent of our sins. It does not bear thinking of what will happen if we fail to repent for our sins for whatever reason that may be.

The simple answer, the truly Christian answer is to put the power of sin to death but not even entertaining the temptations to sin. Every power and resource we have needs to be put at the disposal of our minds and wills in order that we can fight the fight against sin to the point of death. We need to be ready to even embrace death itself, rather than give in to Satan and allow sin to reign in our lives.

Does sin control my life or does my will exert its authority over temptation when it comes. To what degree am I committed to living a sinless life?

Lord Jesus, you were like us in all things except sin. Help me to realize the absolute horror of sin and thus fear it more than death. Help me to grow in holiness each day through choosing a life of faith and righteousness rather than sin.