Are You a Saint or a Sinner?

We’ve all heard Christians say it and we’ve most likely said it ourselves: “I’m just a sinner saved by grace.”

We tell unbelievers that we are sinners just like them, only difference is, we’ve met Jesus, accepted His gift of salvation, and been saved.

And let me just say, this is completely false.

That’s right. We are lying when we speak these words. We are not sinners. We are something quite different…

You see, somewhere along the way Christians got the idea in their minds that they need to refer to themselves as “sinners” and not saints. Yet, the Bible, more specifically, the New Testament, does not refer to followers of Christ as sinners in the present tense.

Sure, Paul mentions the sins many of his fellow brethren used to commit. He even reminds us that Christ died for us when we were still sinners. Catch that? Paul did not write that Christ died for us while we were still sinners, so that we could remain sinners.

In fact, almost all references to the word “sinner” in the New Testament refer to Jesus, dong things like eating with sinners and tax collectors, or forgiving sinners, or being called a sinner Himself by the Pharisees. (The book of James makes a reference to sinners, but is specifically addressing those who have walked away from the Lord and are practicing sin. Likewise, in 1 Timothy, Paul refers to himself as a sinner, in that he was once the foremost of all sinners–needing salvation that much more).

Jesus certainly never referred to a believer as a sinner. He would heal a person of their affliction, and then forgive them of their sin (or vice versa). So if Jesus Christ, who is the foundation of our faith never once called those who love Him “sinners” why do we?

In the Christian culture, it seems that calling oneself a “sinner” has become a disingenuous way of appearing to be humble or making yourself out to look just like everyone else. “Oh, you know…I’m just a sinner.” Ha, ha. Shake it off. See, I’m just like you. I sin too.

But we aren’t sinners. We are saints.

In fact, we are told in scripture that as a result of the Holy Spirit coming to live within us, we no longer need to sin. We are free from sin’s grip and yet we continue to speak as though we are helpless sinning creatures being throw to and fro by our fleshly desires.

However, the whole message of saint versus sinner is painfully confused. In the book of 1 John, for instance, Paul says, “If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” Yes, we get this scripture. We have all sinned. Period. But that is usually where we stop, but if you keep reading Paul says…

“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” 1 John 2:1.

Paul tells us as clear as day, that we do not actually need to sin any more, but if we do, we have Jesus as our advocate. Think about that for one moment. Because of the Spirit in you, you need not sin ever again. If Jesus was sinless and we have the Spirit of the Living God residing in us, well then, we are perfectly capable of living a sinless life, as well.

Now, I’m not pretending or suggesting that I am some sinless perfect being, nor that every Christian should be. But the powerful point here, is that we can be. We can be sinless. Why?

Because we are not sinners. We are saints.

Perhaps Paul said it best when he wrote so succinctly this Truth:  “But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not!”

Certainly not.

Do you think of yourself more in terms of being a sinner (saved by grace) or a saint (adopted by Christ)? Why do you think the church more identifies itself as sinners and not saints?

28 thoughts on “Are You a Saint or a Sinner?”

  1. I was at a bit of a get away last month (with friends who were both “long time” and also who I’d never met) and this kept going through my head.

    The facilitator put a piece of paper on the way labeled “From To For”. After thinking on the “Only a sinner saved by Grace” phrase in the old hymn for quite a while, I realized that we do need to change our focus.

    I put down: “From Only a sinner…”, “To adopted sons and daughters”, “For elimination of shame”.

    Until we as believers start believing that we are Saints (or sons and daughters), I don’t think we can fully live in Christs power

    1. Joel, I LOVE your answer to “From To For.” So powerful and truth-filled. But this just about wraps it up and I couldn’t agree more: “Until we as believers start believing that we are Saints (or sons and daughters), I don’t think we can fully live in Christs power.” Amen, friend.

  2. There is the potential of a dangerous nuance here. It’s called self-righteousness. As long as you remember that you’re righteous (or a saint) because of Jesus, you’re okay; but the instant you start thinking that you’re righteous because you don’t sin, you’ve sinned.

    1. Ed, I understand your warning, however, thinking of ourselves as sinners is not a prerequisite for prideful thinking.

      There are plenty of self-righteous Christians who refer to themselves as “sinners”

      I would take confidence in one’s identity in line with Christ, over self-righteous and false piety any day of the week. My purpose in writing this is to examine why we still identify ourselves as something that Jesus says we no longer are.

      1. I understand. I’ve just run into a lot of Christians who make the leap to accepting their sainthood, and then somehow imagine that it’s henceforth their job to keep themselves (and those around them) sin free, by observing an ever-growing list of “don’ts”. I do understand the positional distinction you are trying to draw, but I think it is possible to get off track if we forget the source of our righteousness. Keeping the law (Old or New) never made anyone righteous.

        This one is a bit of a puzzle, depending on which passages you want to lean on. I John 3 adds some additional head-spinners, like verse 9 which indicates that it is impossible for a Christian to sin. So, if that’s the case, does every little mistake we make indicate that we lose our salvation? I wouldn’t think so.

        Maybe our definition of sin is part of the problem. I was watching a Youtube video of Pastor Tim Keller the other day. I forget his exact wording, but he made a statement to the effect of, “It’s not sin that sends a person to hell,” but rather the thought that one no longer sins, and therefore no longer needs a savior. I think it’s important to always maintain a spiritual vulnerability – that we are nothing outside of our connection to Jesus.

        1. Ed, I think you bring up some great points. Thanks for engaging me in this discussion.

          Firstly, I would somewhat disagree with your interpretation of 3John 3:9. The verse in ESV says, “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.”

          I do not understand this to mean that sinning is impossible for the believer, but rather that practicing in sin is not acceptable, nor should it be the result of the Christian life.

          The distinction is, that as saints, we should stumble into sin from time to time, not practice in sin.

          Hebrews 10:26 is another example of this thinking: “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins…”

          Practicing sin is sinning deliberately, over and over, which should never be the course for any follower of Christ. We must acknowledge that yes, we still sin, but we do not practice it.

          I love Romans 6:18 too, “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” We have to be a slave to something.

          I agree that we can lose sight of where our righteousness comes from. We can easily think that we are righteous in and of ourselves, but we are righteous in Christ. We are redeemed. We are set free. We are holy. We are His beloved. We are saints. And I truly believe that operating in that understanding would free many believers from their legalistic, limited, shallow, or incorrect understanding of what it means to be a Christian.

          1. As I continue to reflect on this post… (You’ve got me thinking… which is good…)

            Your point on 3:9 is well taken. I was reading the KJV, which may have skewed my perception.

            For many years I was an adamant proponent of the point you are making in your post today. So, I totally get what you are trying to say.

            Unfortunately, the little corner of the evangelical world that I was involved with during those years was perhaps a bit disingenuous. I eventually began to realize that I was a very judgmental person, and that in part I had absorbed that mentality from the people I fellowshipped with. So, as soon as they perceived me to have sinned, I was instantly shunned and disfellowshipped. At first that was very puzzling. I began to understand, however, that there was a disconnect between our theology and our practice. We believed what you say – that we are all saints through Jesus’ blood. Yet, whenever someone didn’t measure up to our legalistic standards, we tended to jump on them and take a our-way-or-the-highway approach to the situation. So, in theory we believed our righteousness was based on grace, but in practice we believed that it was based on our conformity.

            So, this is an area that have an ongoing wrestling match with. I no longer want to be anyone’s judge – nor do I want to constantly worry about being judged by others. So, whenever someone leans too hard on this “sainthood of believers” concept, I get very wary that there is some judgement coming on its heels. I’d rather openly embrace those who are perceived as sinners, who perhaps don’t meet anyone’s standard of righteousness, rather than shun anyone and treat them like I feel I’ve been treated.

            So, if your definition of sinlessness and sainthood is based on blood not standards, I’m in. But if it’s based on some idea that we have to kick all the sinners out of our life so we don’t get tainted by their failure to meet some standard, I’m out.

          2. Only a few translation correctly translate 1 Jn. 3:6, 9 and 5:18. These translations include HCSB, KJV, NKJV…. It is true that a Christian cannot sin. It is also true that nary one Christian in a thousand will indicate such. BTW, the Greek word “prasso” (to practice) is not in 1 Jn. 3:9. Rather the word used is “poieo” (to do).

            Few Christians understand the Christian’s privileged “jurisdiction” (Rom. 7:1). Christians are not under the law of sin (Rom. 8:1). Since Paul said, “where there is no law neither is there violation” (Rom. 4:15), Pauline logic converges with the explicit Johannine declaration in 1 Jn. 3:9. Crazy man. But it is all about crazy love. He who is forgiven much, loves much (cr. Lk. 7:47).

            No Christian, as a Christian, has ever sin. Christians have transgressed, even murdered, but nary a one has had his righteousness lower. “As He is, so also are we in this world” (1 Jn. 4:17). Neither Jesus nor the believer is under the law of sin and death. However, but Jesus and the believer are under the law of morality. Therefore the Christian can act immorally, but of course he should not. For the Christian to act immorally is to function as a kingdom divided by itself. But if a Christian could not act immorally without having his righteousness lowered, then Peter’s admonishment about “not using your freedom as a covering for evil” (1 Peter 2:16) is meaningless.

            This is NOT about semantics. This is about righteousness and the work of Christ. Let’s get it straight.

  3. Love this post… I have been declaring this idea for some time now. It’s important to know our position in Christ – our identity in Him. I love where Paul says in 2 Cor 5:21 “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

    Thanks again!

  4. I’ve heard the “chief of sinners” thing put this way…

    Muhammad Ali may be still announced as the boxing champion of the world, but he couldn’t hold his own in a fight. He might be able to throw a punch, but that still doesn’t make him a current champion.

    Paul was a chief of sinner in the same way. He use to be the best at it, but things changed. He still sinned, but he wasn’t a sinner anymore, he was a saint.

    1. The only translation to correctly translate 1 Tim. 1:15 is the CEV: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” This saying is true, and it can be trusted. I was the worst sinner of all!

      The reason this needs to be translated into the past tense involves an understanding of historical presents. Koine involves more pronounced uses of the historical presents than English. So much so, that in the Gospel of Mark alone has over a hundred instances of where a present tense Koine verb has been translated into the past. In translations like the KJV, NASB and HCSB, the verbs whose tense is so changed are preceded with an asterisk. You can read about this convention in the front matter of the KJV and NASB Bible.

      But the contextual case for the past tense in 1 Tim. 1:15 is also very strong.

  5. Nicole, I think this is a really great post!

    I think the saying, “I’m just a sinner saved by grace” would be much better if it went like this,” I was just a sinner and have now been saved by God’s grace.”

    I think it is really important to remember what our condition was before salvation. It’s a beautiful thing to remember where we were as a result of our sin, children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3) and now because of God’s grace, children and heirs of God (Romans 8:16-17).

    But, the point of your post wasn’t about how we came to salvation but instead the fact that we have come to salvation and how that affects our identity. We no longer identify ourselves as sinners because we have been freed from sin (Romans 6:22) and have been born again (John 3:1-15) and made into a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). Therefore our identity is as Peter says in 1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”

    Seeing ourselves in this new light is the key to experiencing the hope and peace of our salvation. If we only see ourselves as merely sinners then we are still living in a mindset that we had before Christ saved us. And that is scary. But if we live in light of this new identity than we have much hope and peace because we are justified through faith by God’s grace and our salvation lies in what Christ did and not what we do. And because it is by God’s grace that we come to salvation, there is no place for us to be self-righteous because we are not responsible for our salvation.

    It’s not that we no longer sin, but it’s that we no longer find our identity in that sin.

    Thanks for your post Nicole, it is an important topic.

    I hope my post was coherent enough and that you are well.

    1. Josh, gosh I love your heart! You are such a man of God. I think you nailed it. Heck, you could have written this post.

      I think the jey thing you touched on is where (or Who) we find our identity in. Identity is such an important component of the Christian life. We can find it in the flesh or our past lives or we can find it in being a new creation and belonging to Jesus Christ.

      Some might say the difference between calling ourselves a sinner or a saint is just semantics, but I believe it is a mindset and a heart issue–

      Like you said so well: “But if we live in light of this new identity than we have much hope and peace because we are justified through faith by God’s grace and our salvation lies in what Christ did and not what we do.”

      Thank you for sharing here. I loved reading your response. Love to you my friend.

  6. You said ” See, I’m just like you. I sin too.” All too often we tout that line and negate the significant change that a life in Christ has made in us. Sooner or later we are going to try this on someone who answers back “If we’re so much alike then I’ll just stay this way, it’s easier.”

    I’m going to stop there. This is your blog.
    As always Great thoughts.

    1. Ken, you are so right! I had never thought of that. What difference is there for an unbeliever? Why bother seeking this Jesus person if all the Christians are still sinners too.

      Such an important point that I had not even considered.

  7. Nicole,
    Lately as I hear believers refer to themselves as “sinners” something inside me gets all torn up. I don’t know if I’m sad or really pissed at the ones who taught us this crap. I love your thoughts here and proceeded to share my own 2 cents but my comment was getting a bit long (more like 9 cents) so I wrote a blog entry of my own in reply to this post.

    Thanks for the inspiration and for sparking some great conversation.

  8. Amen and Amen!

    And let’s be honest about the ramifications of this radical truth. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that IF (a word which tells us that there is a condition we’re about to test) any man is really truly in Christ, THEN here’s what you ought to see: his life looks like a brand new creation! The old sinful patterns of his life are now a thing of the past, replaced by new patterns of righteousness, peace, and joy. (RD Amplified version) This is exciting. We should be seeing a whole bunch of people who are living brand new, cleansed and sanctified (1 Corinthians 6:11) lives that look like Jesus’ life because they “walk in the same manner as He walked.” (1 John 2:6)

    But this is often not what we see, is it? There are so many people who call themselves Christians who keep on walking in darkness, practicing sin. When we say that someone is practicing something, it indicates a regular lifestyle, not a rare occurrence. Many people are content to put a bumper sticker on their cars and on their lives that says, “Christians aren’t perfect… just forgiven” as if to say that their continuing bad behavior is acceptable to God while the same actions by others will get them sent to Hell. This is not what salvation is all about! This wrong thinking leads people in the world to stay away from Jesus, saying that the church is full of hypocrites. They are right!

    Jesus did not come to save us from the righteous judgment of God. (Yes, go back and read that one more time.) Jesus came to save us from SIN. He came to rescue us from the power of sin in our lives on earth today. He came to cleanse us from the filth of our sin and to lead us away from the filth itself. When He invites us to follow Him, it means that we imitate His holy and righteous life in the power of the Holy Spirit–the same Holy Spirit who empowered Jesus’ life. When we play “Follow the Leader” with Jesus in the lead, He never leads us into sin, but He leads us in paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. (Psalm 23:3) That’s how Paul can say: “Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:1,2) Christians are not only given a new identity as saints, but a new practice as those who actually walk in righteousness and holiness because we are bearers of the Holy Spirit of God Himself.

    There are those who say, “I have all my righteousness because of what Christ did for me; it has nothing to do with my own actions any more.” But Paul tells Timothy (who is a Christian) to “pursue righteousness” in both of his letters to his disciple (1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:22). John is even stronger in his judgment: “If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him.” (1 John 2:29) “Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil” (1 John 3:8) “By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.” (1 John 3:10)

    So, for all those who think of themselves as Christians because they go to church or because they once prayed a prayer, but are still living lives that regularly include sin, consider all these Scriptures and then do what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 13:5 “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you–unless indeed you fail the test?” If the fruit you are bearing in your life is not good and holy, then now is the time to stop and repent and give Jesus authority over your life, choosing to FOLLOW Him in the way of life and peace and righteousness.

    “I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy.” (Leviticus 11:44, 45; 19:2; 20:7, 26; Numbers 15:40; Deuteronomy 23:14) “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.” (1 Peter 1:15)

    1. rejectdad, I so appreciate how you articulated this! Seeing the truth of Gods word boldly spoken stirs me up!

      Leonard Ravenhill says this in a famous sermon, “If I was to ask you tonight if you were saved? Do you say ‘Yes, I am saved’. When? ‘Oh so and so preached, I got baptized and…’ Are you saved? What are you saved from, hell?
      Are you saved from bitterness?
      Are you saved from lust?
      Are you saved from cheating?
      Are you saved from lying?
      Are you saved from bad manners?
      Are you saved from rebellion against your parents?
      Come on, what are you saved from?”

      I lived a life of defeat for so many years having no knowledge of the fact that He came to save me FROM my sin, not simply wash it away once the act was committed. How bleak the outlook was when I was led to believe that I would always be a “sinner”! And oh how grateful I am now for the revelation that I am a saint by the blood of the Lamb.

      1. Bekah, this just brought tears to my eyes. I could literally feel the Holy Spirit coming of of my computer screen as I read your words of Truth and understanding of His grace.

        Bless you friend and praise to our Jesus–Who saved us from sin.

        1. God cannot look WITH FAVOR upon sin and evil, but He can tnecairly be in the presence of sinners. This is proven by God’s omnipresence (as you noted), the incarnation of God the Son, and even God’s continued (if temporary) interaction with some of the fallen angels (including Satan e.g. Job 1-2, etc.).The limitation is not on God. Sometimes we have this image of God as needing to back off from sin and evil because He can’t allow Himself to be in its presence (rather like Superman avoiding Kryptonite because it weakens him?!). But we would suggest it’s more like the reaction of mold in the presence of bleach, or of anything combustible in the presence of fire: God’s holiness is so consuming and so purifying that unless He restrains Himself, (and that only for a time) nothing impure and unholy can remain in HIS presence. It affects the creature, not God.The Holiness of GodBy nature, definition, God is absolutely pure, not a hint of evil in HimBy definition, there can be no evil, sin, or impurity in His presenceThe two cannot be togetherHabakkuk 1:13 (NIV)13 Your eyes are too pure to look on evil;you cannot tolerate wrong.Why then do you tolerate the treacherous?Why are you silent while the wickedswallow up those more righteous than themselves? Psalm 5:4-6 (NIV)4 You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil;with you the wicked cannot dwell.5 The arrogant cannot stand in your presence;you **** all who do wrong.6 You destroy those who tell lies;bloodthirsty and deceitful menthe LORD abhors.God cannot act contrary to His nature. Sin and God contradict one another. They repel.

  9. Why did He associate with such plepoe? He was not approving of their lives and choices He was giving Himself to them. He was extending His life toward them, as they were shunned by the religious hypocrites of the day. The plepoe Israel were supposed to be a light to the Gentiles, but instead, over time, began to consider Gentiles and sinners as unclean , and therefore would not even associate with them. Jesus not only associated with these unclean folks, but was a friend to them.As for sin not being allowed in the presence of God, I believe that has to do with the direct Presence of God in His glory in Heaven.

  10. I wanted to chime in on this.. I have had a similar conversation with a fellow brother in my local area. I think the problem I have is why do we have a problem with that term? .. I get that we are new creations and our new identity is found in Christ. That’s what the bible teaches but it also teaches us that we are sinners too.

    The bible also teaches us that we still sin see Romans 7, 1 John etc. So people that still sin whether it’s indwelling or not are called sinners.

    Here are a couple of questions I posed to my friend. In Romans 1 Paul says to the church in Rome that he is anxious to preach the Gospel to them.. Why is he so excited were they not saved already?

    In Rev 2.. when Jesus is telling the church in Ephesus that they had lost there first love.. What do you think that is referring to?.. now keep in mind of all the other qualities they had going for them.. but the Root of our LOVE is found in the gospel and our state as sinners saved by grace..

    In 1 Tim 1:15 Paul says Jesus came to save sinners and referring to himself.. he says.. “Of whom I AM the foremost” notice he didn’t say he WAS..

    Lastly.. in Luke 18 when Jesus tells us about the Pharisee and the tax collector.. we see who walks away justified and who doesn’t .. look at the identity taken by both..

    My friend had made the argument that some Christians can go into the woe is me mode due to always thinking of themselves as sinners. I don’t see much of that to be honest.. I see much more license being taken due to Grace..

    Anyways.. interested in your thoughts on the above passages.

    Your Brother in Christ..

    1. blendahtom, 1 Jn. 1 was written to unbelievers (if it were written to believers, it would contradict 1 Jn. 3:6, 9 and 5:18 KJV, HCSB and NKJV).

      Rom. 7:9-25 describes the kingdom of Adam introduced in Romans 5. Note the contradiction between the kingdom of Christ (Rom. 7:5, 8:9) with the kingdom of Adam (Rom. 7:14).

      1 Tim. 1:15 is a historical present, thus the only correct translation is the CEV: “I WAS the chief among sinners.”

      Are you free indeed or are you struggling in the flesh and under the jurisdiction of sin? What did Jesus do for you?

  11. Called to be Saints – A Question of Identity

    “ To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints:” Romans 1:7
    “Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds” Colossians 3:9
    “that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts” Ephesians 4:22
    “I have taken off my robe; How can I put it on again? I have washed my feet; How can I defile them?” Song of Solomon 5:3
    Mark 15:20
    And when they had mocked Him, they took the purple off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him out to crucify Him.
    Colossians 2:11
    [ Not Legalism but Christ ] In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,
    Peace and grace be with you through our Lord Jesus Christ who by His death and resurrection has reconciled us to the Father and called us to be saints.
    Is it not true that “while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8? Absolutely true. We are sinners when we are called by God. “Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds” Colossians 3:9
    What is the old man. The old man is the old identity. We are gifted a new identity in Christ. We are a new creature and a new creation in Him. We have taken off the old and put on the new. If we cling to the identity of sinner and wear it then by definition we continue to see ourselves as sinners. It’s a mistake! “Death and life are in the power of the tongue”! A sinner by definition is someone who sins. What then? Do I deny my sin? NO. Absolutely not. But to see my identity as that of sinner is defeatist. Paul says we are called to be saints.
    Now there is a danger here! Because we may be carrying in our minds the world’s definition of saint. But that too is to be put off. Come now, don’t you know that if you put on new clothes over the old you will itch and be uncomfortable? We have to take off the old clothes, the old identity has to go to the cross. We have to deny our old selves and put on Christ! He is our new clothes!
    “I have taken off my robe; How can I put it on again? I have washed my feet; How can I defile them?” Song of Solomon 5:3
    Now we know that when a baby learns to walk it goes from not walking to crawling, to a few steps, to falling, to getting back up, to falling again, before it learns to walk then run. There is a massive transition stage between not walking and walking. So too must we go from sinner to saint! In the transition stage we will continue to sin yes, as we fight against our flesh as we deny our old nature, but look, have eyes to see, the bible tells us our what our new identity is. It gives that direction.
    Aren’t you sick of being stuck in the cycle of sin? Aren’t you tired of your past being what dictates your future? In our minds we evaluate everything we do against our past experience of ourselves or how we think we should be. Don’t you often find you do the same thing over and over even though you don’t mean to?
    But we are not to evaluate by our own experience of ourselves any more! No! For God’s word states who we are to be in Christ. We are to take every thought captive to Christ. We are to evaluate everything by the standard of Christ, by Gods word, and act only on His words, in faith that we are who He says we are. When the devil whispers in your ear what a no good scoundrel you are, do what Jesus did come back at him with scripture. Are you a scoundrel? No. You are a child of God. A new creation in Christ. You have died with Christ and now live with Him. We are no longer to believe the lies of satan, we are no longer to believe what the world says about us, we are no longer to believe what our neighbour says we are, even though we may be displaying exactly the behaviour that gives them the impression we are who they say we are. But that is just transition stage stuff.
    Here is a trap! When other people see us how we are and then hold us to that and treat us according to that standard. We need to stop seeing ourselves as we were or are and see ourselves as His word states. As Christians we need to remind ourselves who we are in Christ! And we need to see each other and remind each other who we are in Christ. Not trap each other in our old identities.
    How then Lord, How then?
    “Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.”
    Oh what a glorious verse! I have in me the evil man, the mind of flesh, the thoughts that lead me to sin. But God has taught me what to do with evil thoughts right here. I am to forsake them. I am to abandon them. I am then to turn to God and he will have mercy on me and he will freely pardon me. How does that look in action? Well every time I catch my thinking to be evil and by evil I mean sinful, I turn to the Lord, I give up that thought knowing that it is wrong according to his word and I ask the Lord for the mind of Christ on the matter, I ask him for eyes to see and ears to hear. And I wait on the Lord and He gives me a new way of thinking about it. A godly way of thinking about it.
    Imagine your evil thoughts are like a leper in you. He walks around in your mind with diseased thinking. He rings a bell when he is near. He has to be brought to the Lord for healing. What is the bell? Every time you feel resentful that is a warning to turn to the Lord, every time you feel anger, that is a warning to turn to the Lord. Cry out, Lord my thinking is resentful, help me. And Lord, my thinking is angry, help me! Don’t wear the identity of I’m angry, or I’m resentful for they are identities of the sinner. A saint turns to the Lord in his distress. A saint waits on the Lord. The Lord will calm the storm and help you see with sane eyes. The mind of the sinner is depraved and needs the mind of Christ to experience sanity! If we touch the leper without Christ we catch the disease. Oh brothers and sisters, Let Christ heal our minds, Let God renew our minds.
    The world teaches us to throw out our anger, our resentment onto others. “Oh don’t do that to each other my children,” says the Lord. (I started crying here. I felt the Lord’s sorrow that his children do that to one another). Remember Jesus can heal the leper. Take all your thoughts to Jesus for healing. Take them all captive to Christ. Evaluate every thought against God’s word. Stop throwing everything out and keep turning inwards to God.

  12. From the standpoint of Jesus, a person was a sinner as long as he or she remained opposed to the will of God. Once a person accepted the offer of forgiveness and made a commitment of faith to follow Jesus, he or she became a disciple of Jesus. In the Gospels the term sinner is used in two ways – to describe the individual who is opposed to God and His will, and by Jesus’ opponents to describe those outside of their group to whom Jesus offers the gospel of salvation. Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels.

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