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Sinner or Saint May 8, 2008

Posted by Kevin in Uncategorized.
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6 comments

This dialog has resurfaced in my social circles lately. It was also a topic of my pastor’s sermon last Sunday. Now I recognize that it is a debate that has raged down through the ages in the evangelical church. And sometimes it has raged at a feverish and less than “holy” pitch. As usual, I have many thoughts and some of them are conflicting.

My favorite musical genre is southern gospel. One of my favorite singers sings a song that was written by one of my favorite songwriters. George Younce sings a song written by Bill & Gloria Gaither entitled, “Sinner Saved by Grace”. If you haven’t heard it, you need to! It never fails to bring a tear to my eye. And although that is a great song, it doesn’t really help me understand who I am or what I am.

I guess when all else fails we could look at what the Bible says… Plus that will give me a chance to break out the new set of commentaries that my best friend, Dave, gave me as a gift last week.

A reasonably thorough search through the Bible will point out one thing when it comes to the topic of whether or not I am a “sinner” or a “saint”. New Testament authors refer to Christians with many labels. Most of them self-given. For instance, you see Christians calling one another “brethren,” “the faithful,” “the elect,” “believers,” “the church of God,” “servants (slaves) to God,” and “saints.” Not once do they refer to one another as “sinner.” I find that interesting.

Now, compare that to the use of the word “sinner” in the New Testament. Study shows us that the word “sinner” indicates a pattern of sin, a devotion to sinning, or in some cases it was a Jewish derisive term for women of ill-repute. Now I find that interesting too.

So here is a verse or two for consideration.

Greet all the saints in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me send greetings. All the saints send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household.

Philippians 4:21-22 NIV

Notice the free flowing use of the word “saints”. Paul uses the term when he tells them to greet their fellow church members in the church at Philippi. And he uses it when he sends the greetings from the fellow Christians there in Rome.

So, to a large extent that really settles it in my mind. I am a saint. The Bible says so. And that’s good enough for me. I will put away any other thoughts and self-condemnations to the contrary.

But here is the tricky part. If I am a saint, shouldn’t I act like one and live like one?

Maybe the key to this is not so much to focus on what or who I am. But rather, WHOSE I am.

I am a Child of the King.

I am an Heir and Joint-heir with Jesus Christ.

And that my friend will dramatically affect how I live my life on a daily basis. It will lead me to think and act in ways that continue to put distance between the person I was and the person I am.

Hallelujah!

I think I want to write more on this, but it’s suppertime.

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