Licensed to Kill
A Field Manual for Mortifying Sin
“If you’re ready to put sin to death instead of trying to manage it, this book outlines the only strategy that works. This is a book I will return to and regularly recommend to others.”
– Bob Lepine, Co-Host, FamilyLife Today
“A theologically solid and helpfully illustrated book.”
– Joe Thorn, JoeThorn.net
Also endorsed by Tullian Tchividjian, Wes Ward.
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Description & Excerpts..SHARE..
The Christian life is not a playground, but a battleground. One of the fiercest foes in this battle dwells within our own hearts: the enemy of indwelling sin. The Scriptures command us to “put sin to death.” This is what pastors and theologians of another generation called the “mortification” of sin. But how do we mortify sin? And what role does the gospel play in this effort to apply lethal force against sin? How can we avoid falling into legalism while still maintaining a passion for holiness? And what kinds of strategies actually work in the daily battle? These are questions I have personally wrestled with as both a Christian and a pastor. This book is my attempt to answer those questions and provide a biblical and practical guide for the war against sin.
About the Author
Brian Hedges is the lead pastor for Fulkerson Park Baptist Church in Niles, Michigan. He has been married to Holly since 1996 and has three children: Stephen, Matthew, and Susannah. He has contributed articles to Heartcry! A Journal on Revival and Spiritual Awakening, Pastor Connect, and The Banner of Truth magazine. He is the author of Christ Formed in You: The Power of Gospel for Personal Change (Shepherd Press, 2010).
TABLE OF CONTENTS
One: Killing Sin — The Definition of Mortification
Two: Toward Life or Death — Why Sin Must Be Killed
Three: The Monster Within — The Nature of Indwelling Sin
Four: With Murderous Intent — How Sin Works in Our Souls
Five: Soul Surgery — Preparing for Mortification
Six: Transforming Grace — The Power of the Gospel
Seven: Crucified with Christ — How the Cross Kills Sin
Eight: Empowered by the Spirit — His Role and Ours
Nine: The Weapons of War — Meditation and Prayer
endorsements & reviews..SHARE..
“Are there things you hate that you end up doing anyway? Have you tried to stop sinning in certain areas of your life, only to face defeat over and over again? If you’re ready to get serious about sin patterns in your life – ready to put sin to death instead of trying to manage it – this book outlines the only strategy that works. This is a book I will return to and regularly recommend to others.”
Bob Lepine, Co-Host, FamilyLife Today
“Sanctification is a grueling process. But it’s NOT the process of moving beyond the reality of our justification but rather moving deeper into the reality of our justification. This is why when Jesus was asked in John 6:28, ‘What must we do to be doing the works of God?’ he answered, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him who he sent.’ Jesus was getting at the root of the problem because justification alone kills all of our self-salvation projects that fuel all of our bad behavior and moral failures. Brian Hedges shows the importance of fighting the sin that so easily entangles us and robs us of our freedom by fleeing to the finished work of Christ every day. Well done!”
Tullian Tchividjian, Pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church and author of Surprised by Grace: God’s Relentless Pursuit of Rebels
“Brian Hedges hasn’t written a book for our recreational pleasure, but a ‘field manual’ to assist us in our battle against sin. Rather than aiming at simple moral reformation, Licensed to Kill aims at our spiritual transformation in this fight by addressing the ‘drives and desires of our hearts.’ Like any good field manual, this is a small volume that focuses on the most critical information regarding our enemy, and gives practical instruction concerning the stalking and killing of sin. This is a theologically solid and helpfully illustrated book that not only warns of sin’s danger, but also holds out the gospel confidence of sin’s ultimate demise.”
Joe Thorn, author, Note to Self: The Discipline of Preaching to Yourself, Lead Pastor, Redeemer Fellowship, Saint Charles, IL
“Are you ready for a serious fight to the death? My friend Brian Hedges goes for the jugular by dusting off a near antique word (and worse, a scarcely-used yet lethal weapon): mortification. Are Christ-followers really licensed to kill? Read this ‘field-manual’ and you will discover that you have a monstrous and aggressive antagonist who is aiming to annihilate you. It’s your duty to fight back! Brian has given us a faithful, smart, Word-centered guide to help us identify and form a battle plan for mortally wounding the enemy of indwelling sin.”
Wes Ward, Senior Director of Media & Content Strategy, Revive Our Hearts (and a co-elder with the author)
An excellent and much needed resource today in the church….I recommend it to every believer.
Licensed to Kill is divided into nine chapters with two appendices. Each chapter is no more than eleven pages long and, truth be told, the book can be read in one sitting (as with all resources published by Cruciform Press). The first chapters defines the doctrine of mortification. This is important as this is a doctrine (and a word) that has fallen out of use today, unfortunately. Chapter two argues as to why sin must be killed while the third chapter explains that it is indwelling sin and not the physical body that must be killed.
Chapters four and five lay the primary foundation for the act of mortifying sin by detailing how sin works in our soul and helping the reader to prepare for mortification. The reader quickly finds that mortification is hard work. It can only be accomplished in the life of the believer through the power of the gospel. The final three chapters look at how the cross of Christ kills sin and how we, through prayer and meditation can effectively wage the war against sin.
The two appendices are worthwhile (I will deal with the first below). The second appendix offers some further reading in the area of mortification of sin. It is important to note that the resources listed are either by dead or Reformed theologians. I make note of this because there is not much found on this subject within Christendom at large.
The book itself is an excellent and much needed resource today in the church. In many ways, it is an updated version of John Owen’s Mortification of Sin though Hedges does not go nearly into the detail that Owen does.
My one concern is found in the first appendix. Here is an apologetic for Paul describing a believer’s experience in Romans 7:14-25. Brian definitely takes a more Reformed perspective which I actually agree with. He only gives a page and a half to this discussion that has come down through the history of the church. He offers a few sentences acknowledging that many have disagreed with his assessment, but then goes on to say that given his understanding (and mine), “this passage…speaks directly to us in our own struggles against sin.”
I believe it would have been better to simply leave this appendix out of the book given the limited space and the intended audience (that of not being academic in nature). Regardless, there is nothing about Licensed to Kill that is not worth reading. Each chapter will strengthen and equip the believer in the battle against sin. That is what is most important.
Because of the size of this book, I recommend it to every believer. There are other resources available (see his Appendix 2) but none of which can be read in one sitting. The fact that this book can be read quickly gives it its value to the reader today. In an age where mortification of sin is hardly discussed, License to Kill offers a solution. Pastors, this resource is an excellent gift to the one who just recently converted to Christ. Of course, never let it supplant the reading of the Bible!
Terry Delaney, Christian Book Notes
Kept me riveted as PM rolled into AM…you cannot really ask for more!
Cruciform Press is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. These little books, usually around 110 pages, are packed full of Gospel truth and clear and practical application. The latest book published by Cruciform Press is Licensed to Kill-A Field Manual for Mortifying Sin by Brian Hedges. There have not been many modern books that have kept me riveted as PM rolled into AM but this little book by Hedges definitely did the trick.
This is not an extensive book. At 117 pages and a generous font size, this book is easily digested in one sitting. The author’s tone and wit also aid in a rapid pace of reading, allowing the reader to genuinely fly through this book. Be careful however, as you fly through this book you will be consistently struck with Gospel-drenched, sin-hating truth that confronts, convicts, and encourages you to make a more concerted and genuine effort to fill your life with the “holy violence” of slaughtering your indwelling, God-hating sin.
A highlight of this text is the immensely practical nature of the whole book. Even when dealing with theological abstracts, it still has a feel of a “field manual,” only dealing with the “why-for’s” to better equip for the “how-to’s.” Normally, I would not like this. In all subjects, especially Scripture, I enjoy the abstract. I do not know if it is Hedges’ writing style or the subject manner or a combination of both, but this text spent a good amount of time in practical issues and I enjoyed it immensely.
I do not believe it would be an overstatement (or a slight) to call this John Owen-lite. The author constantly goes back to Owen and concludes the text with an encouragement to engage oneself in the writings of Owen that so greatly influenced him. Owen is a difficult read, even when compared with other Puritan authors, but the treasures found in his writings are vast. This book does an excellent job of whetting the appetite for Owen while mining much of the Gospel truth found in Owen’s writings. In doing so, it makes Owen’s writings much more accessible to the modern reader.
This book does two things, and it does them quite well. First, it introduces the writings of John Owen on mortification in a manner that will entice many to make the leap into the mind and writings of this Puritan great. Secondly, and so much more importantly, this book will encourage many, myself included, to engage in the act of mortifying sin in a much more active and victorious manner. For 117 pages you cannot really ask for more!
It manages to be both practical and overflowing with grace at the same time.
What is Licensed to Kill?
Licensed to Kill is a book from Cruciform Press.
I’ve mentioned them here a couple of times before, but they’re always worth another nod, because i really do like what Cruciform Press are doing. They publish just one book a month, but that book is “short, clear, concise and Gospel focused.” Their books look the same, feel the same, and are all about the same length, and for all that they benefit greatly. They even do subscriptions, so the first week of every month a new book turns up unbidden. It’s a great idea.
Licensed to Kill is a book about sin.
John Owen said “be killing sin or sin will be killing you,” and that’s very much the theme of this book. Licensed to Kill is a field manuel for mortifying sin. The chapters define mortification, the nature of sin, why sin is so deadly and what we can do about it. It cuts to the heart of our pretense but at the same time graciously points us to the root anc center of all our hope, Jesus.
Licensed to Kill is a book about you.
Because it’s a book about sin, it’s also a book about you. Sin is that honey-covered poisen, that secret deadly weapon, that hidden disease. We must be killing it. All of us, you as well as me. Because of that, we can all benefit from reading this book. There is no one alive who doesn’t need all the help he can fighting against sin. The fight against sin is a fight for joy, a fight for our lives. It’s a fight we need help to engage in.
Licensed to Kill is a book about the Gospel.
One thing I really appreciated about this book is how, at the end of every chapter, the reader is pointed back to the Gospel. Not in a forced, “by the way Jesus died to save you” way, but in a way that almost sneaks up on you. In each chapter we’re led almost to despair (rightly so) about our sin, and at the end the author lifts our heads and tells us of our Saviour. It manages to be both practical and overflowing with grace at the same time.
Practice and grace. Thats what we need to mortify sin, and both of those are found in this excellent book.
A book that I will keep handy and refer to often. I whole-heartedly recommend this book for every follower of Christ.
In Licensed to Kill: A Field Manual for Mortifying Sin, author Brian G. Hedges deals with a subject that few people talk about but one we all must deal with. Hedges points believers to the Word of God as the source for victory. He is not just offering advice on dealing with sin, he unpacks the biblical truths that deal with mortification. This is a book that is designed to help the believer understand what Christ has already done so that we no longer have to be in bondage to sin. Chapter six is entitled “Transforming Grace: The Power of the Gospel.” Chapter Seven- “Crucified with Christ: How the Cross Kills Sin.”
It has been my experience that people go to one of two extremes on this subject. There are those who say that they are always going to be sinners because of the old nature and therefore they seem to treat it almost like an excuse for their sin. On the other hand, there are those who seem to suggest that as a believer we can attain sinlessness by our own merits. Hedges says that the goal of mortification “is not sinlessness, but progressive holiness.” This book deals with the heart, not just our actions. One of my favorite quotes in the book is “Genuine repentance always deals with heart-sins,not just bad behavior” (p59).
The title says it all. This book is a field manual. It is not a book that you will read once and never pick up again. Licensed to Kill is a book that I will keep handy and refer to often. I whole-heartedly recommend this book for every follower of Christ. It will challenge you but more importantly it just might transform you!!
J.D. Arnold (Amazon review)