Sinner or Saint?

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!

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8 Comments

Filed under Freedom, Grace definition, Relationship

8 responses to “Sinner or Saint?

  1. Sue

    Good morning.

    Good post…I think this is something every Christian struggles with. And the one verse that comes to mind is in 1 John, when we are told that if we confess our sins He forgives us (my paraphrase).

    What is the need to confess our sins if we are already forgiven?

    • we received the forgiveness of all the sins.. past, present and future.

      1 john 1:9 was written to Gnostic, who believe man has no sin.

      “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
      – Hebrews 8:12

      what the point of telling God?

      all our sins has been nailed at the cross.. punished in Jesus body.
      God did not just forget our sins, He punished us in the body of Jesus our representative.. Jesus was crucified as if it was US.

      I am an ex-sinner now called saint

      grace and peace

  2. Jayna Stein

    This is so powerful I believe I am going to have to read through it several times over a period of time to let it’s truth sink in deep. It is what I believe, and yet it seems I get all tongue-tied whenever trying to explain it to someone else. This is worded perfectly – loved the examples. Thank you!

  3. I agree with Sue. This is not something that Christians would seem to accept entirely – I mean, see – we aren’t completely renewed yet, until heaven. And I believe there is also a benefit to admitting our sin, admitting that we have faults, in order for God to come to us and pour His strength into us. It’s true that God doesn’t keep account of our sins, and the price is fully paid, but then admitting our mistakes and failures would be humility, and ignoring them would be pride.

    Just my opinion sir. God bless you.

    • @”but then admitting our mistakes and failures would be humility, and ignoring them would be pride”

      – absolutely true!!! amen..

      It is hypocrisy when God says we are righteous and we still call ourselves a sinner…

      grace and peace

  4. As I look over the above posts myself again, I realize that it may seem as though I am speaking on both sides. Yes we should confess, no we shouldn’t. Yes Christians still sin, not they don’t. I don’t mean to be confusing.

    A good portion of my work is directly with people who desire advice or counsel. For some, confession of sin means that they have to ask forgiveness all the time. For me, confession of sin simply means that I agree with God that my actions were hurtful to myself and others. In my sense, I think confession is good. In the former sense, I think it keeps believers in bondage and is error.

    For some people to say that Christians no longer sin would seem heretical and foolish. When I say that, I mean that there is no sin on my account with God – no matter what I do. We don’t really have good words for sinful actions that have no eternal consequences. If I call stealing a sin, as God does, then I mean something that is laid on my account before Him. But what do I call it when it is not laid on my account before Him? I can call it sin, as long as I use a definition I understand, but will others use that definition? Will they hear me saying that we are still in sin and still need to do something in order to be forgiven, simply because that’s what they are used to hearing?

    Sometimes a teacher needs to speak provocatively, to push the issue. Saying that Christians are not sinners is a way of forcing the reader’s to think about the role of sin in their lives and to remind them of their freedom and victory. I certainly understand that these are “fighting words,” but that’s okay as long as we can talk them out. That’s why I appreciate your comments so much.

    • I do ask for forgiveness everyday..
      especially for long posted comment…
      when i skipped weekends with my kids
      I asked for their forgiveness and understanding…

      but if we ask for God’s forgiveness everyday, because we sin… something is wrong with us.. if we sin everyday, its a sign of sin consciousness rather than righteousness consciousnesses.

      please forgive me.. i don’t mean to be argumentative… 🙂
      its just that i have a post on 1 john 1:9

      grace and peace

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