If you attend a church, certainly a Bible Church or other conservative church, you are likely to hear the idea that “Christians are Sinners saved by grace”. What is interesting is that this cannot be found anywhere in the Bible.
That man rebelled against God and became separated from him is obvious. It is this rebellion and separation, caused by sin that makes man a sinner and before coming to Christ, we were all sinners. However, the identity and title used throughout the New Testament for believers is Saint.
This, of course, does not mean what Catholicism has sadly caused the word to come to mean – a person who has worked to grow holy and close to God and become so pure and good that we call them saints. But it is very clear in the New Testament that we could add that prefix to a modern new convert as well as to St. Paul or St. Augustine.
We were once sinners, but we were saved by grace and now, we are saints. Sainthood, like salvation, cannot be achieved by our works – it is the title of the children of God who have become God’s children through union with Christ. Christ is now their very life, their only life and Christ was never a sinner – so neither are they. Once you are a child of God, through your faith in God’s gracious provision, you are no longer a mere mortal, separated from God – a sinner.
That we were once sinners is true, but it is not the interesting thing – the amazing thing is that we are now Saints in Christ and we can boldly go before the thrown of God. What’s the value of dwelling on the fact that we were sinners. And certainly, identifying ourselves as sinners can only serve to make our heavenly Father sad. If we adopted a child from the gutter and loved them as our own but they constantly reminded us that they were not our child and kept dressing in the rags of their previous life, we would be greatly grieved. How much more grief must God bear because of our misunderstanding of his gift.
Answer these questions for yourself:
1. If I died tonight, am I 100% certain I will go to heaven?
2. If I died and stood before God, and he asked my why he should let me into his heaven, what would my answer be?
If you answered no to question #1, would you like to be certain?
If for question #2, you answered with something like “I’ve tried to lead a good life” – can you not see that you are still working for your salvation.
The gospel – the good news – that God is proclaiming to man is that all man’s works are in vain and unnecessary for he has provided the lamb and the man who believes can be certain that he will be saved. God, unlike men, keeps his word and is completely capable – can’t you see that you can be sure of God’s power and desire to do this – so trusting in him means you never have to worry about your ability to put it together.
When Egypt was plagued with frogs such that they were in the food and drinking water and beds and homes, Pharaoh summoned Moses agreeing to his demands and Moses asked Pharaoh when he would like God to remove the plague. Pharaoh’s incredulous response was tomorrow. Why in the world would he wait another day living with the frogs. And why would we live another day being indecisive about accepting God’s infinitely better gift in Christ so we could sleep tonight certain that we will go to heaven because we can answer God’s question confidently that our basis for entry is on God’s Word, his son’s life indwelling us.
And what does that take? Asking him for his life to count as our own. It is not merely believing – the Bible says even the demons believe. Faith is asking his life to be your own. If I showed you are sturdy chair and you told me you believe it could support you – but refused to sit in it – how much are you really believing in the chair? Settle it once for all to fully engage with Christ.
After you’ve given your life to Christ or if you already done that, then resolve to never again identify yourself as anything less than a child of God because no child of God is a sinner, separated from God.