Saturday, November 5, 2011

Sinner or Saint? Which One are You?

     Twice in the last few months I've heard a preacher/pastor scold (gently of course) believers for thinking of themselves as sinners. Even as sinners forgiven, or sinners saved by grace. I hadn't heard that in years. I used to hear it all the time back in my charismatic days. But I don't like it! I don't like it at all. It gets my goat and sticks in my craw and I'm not even sure what a craw is or what my goat has to do with it!
I'm NOT saying they're wrong, I'm just saying... you know, I don't like it.
     But "Why?" you ask?
     Because, while YES, we are saints, that is not the whole picture. I mean, how many folks do you know who don't sin anymore? We have been completely forgiven if we have been born again by the sheer Grace of God the Father, through our faith in Christ. And, we have not only had the debt against us cancelled by God, but we have been given Christ's own robes of righteousness, a new heart, a quickened spirit, and new destination. Yes, we are declared saints, Holy, wholly set apart unto God, His own vessels for service in the temple not made with hands. I GET THAT! Its just that the language of talking about ourselves as saints seems to be all about us. But when we see ourselves as sinners, we turn to Christ as Savior and talk of all he has done for us.
     Right now, as the saved in this world, we live in the Kingdom which has come but is not yet made manifest in all the earth. This Kingdom is God's rule and reign. It is the essence of the Good News that Christ came preaching. (Mk 1:14-15) In this Kingdom the Gospel of Jesus Christ rules! That means that Grace Rules, because Grace is the heart of the Good News and of the Kingdom. Grace! Total and complete and free for sinners. Costly to God through Christ, but free for us who have been redeemed.
     This wonderful Amazing Grace reminds me that I am a sinner, poor and needy, lost and greedy, but saved and loved. I'm a sinner, with a conscience enlivened by a Holy god above. I need the Gospel everyday! Everyday I need to know my success as a member of God's Kingdom depends on GRACE!
     Paul asked an important question to the Galatians. "Having begun in the Spirit, did you think you'd be made perfect in the flesh?" One way to look at that question is to say, "Having begun by Grace, did you think you could do the rest all on your own?" We can't. We can't conform to the image of Jesus without grace. We can't be happy by clapping our hands but by grace. We can't be witnesses for Christ but by His grace. WHAT? Are you thinking that I just gave you an out for not witnessing? Do you think you can say, "I just don't have the grace for witnessing, someone else should do that." No, I'm not saying that. I'm saying we should do what we need to do, by the grace and power of God and trusting in His grace and power to take our feeble, lame, good works, and make them powerful through God.
     Some people look at Jesus as if He's a "kinder gentler" Moses. Like He brought in the "Law Lite." Actually , it's the opposite. Jesus raised the bar. The law said don't kill your neighbor, Jesus said don't even hate him. Jesus said to love everyone. Jesus said to go and make disciples. I would submit to you the last three things I said are impossible. we can't do them, yet we are commanded. How does that work?
     We do them In Christ. As sinners forgiven, as sinners saved by grace, as sinners who need the power of god every moment everyday, in order to do the things He has commanded. When we learn to live in that constant state of grace (which is impossible for us, too) then we come to know that His yoke is easy and His burden is light!

Oh Lord, help us to know the same grace that saved us is at work in our hearts to change us and make us what you want us to be. Let us not chafe against the prod, but turn, everyday, and put our head in the yoke of Christ.

Clark D.

PS I really am glad I'm a saint, set apart unto God, for the glory of Christ. just sayin...

1 comment:

  1. Gets me too.
    Simple definition: A sinner is one who sins.
    We still do.
    Even though, positionally in Christ, we are perfect and without sin, practically, we still have an evil bent in our character that only Christ can de-magnetize.


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