What do you think of when you hear the word “sin.” Most of us think of those big, ugly sins. The ones that every Christian knows are immoral and wicked. We tend to think of those sins “out there,” the ones other people commit. DieHard Sins is a book “about sins. Not the ugly, notorious sins we have come to know and hate. But the little, daily sins. The snail-sized sin habits that slither undetected in the shadows, beneath a fire-resistant shell, and eat up our lives from the inside out” (16). Combining good theology, insightful illustration, and sound counsel, Witt gives us an excellent resource on understanding the doctrine of sin and our responses to it.
The book is broken down into three parts. Part one focuses on the nature of the struggle with sin. Here Witt gives readers an analysis of sin itself, examining both the doctrinal nature and the impact of sin. He focuses in on the diehard nature of sin, exploring the subtle ways it continues to tempt us and infiltrate our thinking/living. He also walks readers through the hope of the gospel. Having received the bad news, he shifts to give a clear good news. It is in light of this gospel message that we can respond to sin with a fight. One theme that regularly comes out in Rush’s book is the notion of fighting with joy.
Part two focuses in on the heart, a popular theme in Biblical Counseling literature. Rush gives tools here for readers to detect sin, to asses their hearts, and to understand the power of their own beliefs and motives more clearly. If a shallow view of sin focuses solely on activity, the act of sinning in body, this chapter turns attention the source of our sinful activity: sinful desires. We do what we do, because we want what we want.
Part three shifts the book from an analysis of the problem to the source of help: Christ and His provisions. Here Rush points readers to the treasures found in the gospel, the engagement in spiritual disciplines, and the value of the community of believers for fighting our diehard sins. While many of these answers may seem like the standard responses to sin (read your Bible, pray, go to church, etc.), they are formulated in a way that is far from simplistic. Rush avoids the sort of idealistic notion that a “verse-a-day keeps the devil away.” His development of help is far more robust.
This is a wonderful resource for helping readers to understand themselves more fully. Each chapter end with discussion questions and the four appendices offer further practical insight and inspiration for the fight against sin. It is also written with great pastoral care; Rush is a great writer with a wonderful ability to make the deeply theological accessible. His inclusion of case studies in each chapter put some skin and bone on the principles and doctrines, allowing readers to connect dots from abstract to real-life.
Christians know about sin. It’s not that we need another book on the subject to inform us about the essence of the doctrine and its presence in our world. Yet, I recognize that much of the average thought about sin is shallow. Such thought about sin tends to centers around the big sins: murder, adultery, theft, rage, addiction, etc. Such thoughts tend to focus on actions and miss the role that desires and attitudes play in the cultivation of sin. Most thoughts overlook the “respectable” sins, the ones that everyone kind of just tolerates and ignores. We all need a regular refresher on the nature of sin, and we also need guidance on our response to sin. Rush Witt, lead pastor of Paramount Church in Bexley, OH and ACBC certified counselor, has written a work that provides us both theological refresher and guide to godly living. Combining insights from the Puritans and sound exegesis he gives us pity summaries of principles built on solid Scriptural support. While it is a work broad subject, this is a welcomed addition to both the present Christian living literature and the Biblical Counseling literature in particular.