I have been writing in answer to a question: “What has Jesus done for us?” Recently I entered an FB discussion in which one person wrote that we should not refer to ourselves as sinners, but as saints. Another person wrote back that we were sinners and are sinners still, only saved. I would have to say that most of the church would still think according to the latter perspective, that we are all still sinners. And, since we are still sinners, none of us have real assurance of salvation. (Oops, I probably wasn’t supposed to add that last part.)
But I did. I did it because that is the effect of not trusting what Jesus has done. If I believe that I am still in sin, that sin is still my master and I call myself a sinner, then what advantage has Christ given me? For most Christians, those who think of themselves as sinners, Jesus is a helper. Not a particularly effective one, based on experience. But we are supposed to go to Jesus when we are tempted and He will help us to do better. Then, when we sin (according to this thinking) we should quickly confess the sin so that it can be covered by His blood and we can be forgiven. No wonder these folks worry about losing their salvation or wonder if they were ever really saved.
I remember struggling with this years ago. A couple came to me and challenged the old song, “Only a Sinner Saved by Grace.” I reasoned that we are still sinners simply because we still sin. I read and am therefore a reader. I drive and am therefore a driver. I sin and am therefore a sinner. That was my reasoning. But then I realized that there is no sin on my account with God. There is no record of my sins in Heaven. All my sins—past, present, future—are truly gone from me. So am I now a sinner?
How could I prove that I am a sinner? If there is no sin on my account with God, then any sin I would point to has already been removed from me. If I am no longer in sin, then I can no longer be identified as a sinner. When I lived in Minnesota, I could be called a Minnesotan. But when I moved away, that changed. At no point does the Scripture say that the believer moves back into sin. And the accuser has no power if he has no proof.
Rather than seeing myself as a sinner, still battling with sin and failing, I choose to agree with Jesus that I am a saint, set apart by His life in me for eternal glory. Sin no longer has dominion over me. Nor do I have to do what it says and participate in its evil. When I do, I grieve because of my foolish choice, but I rejoice because my sins are truly washed away.
Honestly, understanding this shocks me and excites me daily. I cannot fully understand or appreciate the freedom and acceptance I have in Jesus. All I can do is agree when He loves me. And be thankful!