“I am a sinner saved by grace” is one of the greatest lies in Christendom. It’s not true (see the APPENDIX). Religion is good at convincing folks that being a sinner is somehow spiritual.
Of course, you can be whatever you want. As someone said, “Argue for your limitations, sure enough they’re yours.”
But here’s what Paul said, “…While we WERE yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) “Were” is PAST TENSE. Then, in First Corinthians 6:9-11, Paul lists all the types of sinners who will not inherit the Kingdom of God and says, “…And such WERE some of you once.” We WERE sinners and when Jesus saved us, we became saints, making us saints [“holy, pure, consecrated, sacred ones” (Strong’s #40)] saved by grace.
If I was drowning in a pool and a lifeguard saved me and then I went around telling people, “I’m a drowning man saved by the life guard”, would you not think I had brain damage? Wouldn’t it be better to say, “I WAS drowning but the lifeguard saved me”? Absolutely!
Now, I can hear someone saying, “Well, what if that person goes and starts drowning again at a later time?” Well, if that person lets the lifeguard teach (empower) them how to swim as they do, then they’ll only drown by choice or an accident.
If we say, “I am a sinner,” then we are speaking over our lives and forming a belief (a way of thinking) that will determine our nature and corresponding behavior. In other words, if I believe I’m a sinner, then I’ll sin by faith. But, if I allow the Spirit of Truth to renew my mind (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:23) and actively partner with Him in that process, I will begin to see myself the way He does, as a prince with God, as a royal son of the Creator of all things, as a saint who is united to Him, as the righteousness of God in Christ, as God’s Home where the absolute fullness of the Godhead lives (Col 2:9-10).
By the way, one only REnews a mind that was once new. Said another way, you only renew a magazine subscription you once had. So, as the mind is renewed, it becomes the mind you originally had in Adam before they fell, hit their head and got amnesia, causing you to forget who you are in Christ. So, to renew our mind in Christ is to remember our original design in Him, to see His blueprints for who we REALLY are and to return there.
Now, does this mean I don’t sin? No, of course not. It just means that if I sin, it is by choice and not as a victim, enslaved to the old man, the adamic nature, the flesh, which Jesus nailed to the Cross (Romans 6). Jesus empowered us to choose who we want to be — an overcomer or one who is overcome, a prince or a pauper, a son of God or a red-headed step-child, a partaker of the divine nature or a sinner enslaved to my broken human nature, a bondservant of Christ or a slave to sin (Romans 6:6).
And what if I do sin? Does that make me a sinner? Not at all, just as getting angry once doesn’t make me an angry person in need of anger management and/or medication. We all have hiccups. We all hit the rumble strips from time to time when we drive. But these anomalies don’t define us. We are more than our mistakes. We are who God says we are and He has never once called one of His children a sinner.
Throughout scripture, God re-named (re-natured) many, calling them what He saw, identifying them according to His design for them. Sin is a violation of our design, an expression of a mistaken identity. Every time we refer to ourselves as something other than what He sees in us and calls us, we are at war with Him in the battlefield of the mind. The mind is either at war with God or it is being renewed. There is no middle ground. So, for God’s kids to refer to themselves by an alias (false identity), is to insult and obstruct His new creation. I mean, how would any parent feel if one of their children went around saying, “I’m stupid. I’m ugly. I’m weak”? Would the parent not be upset? Well, consider how much more our Abba, WHO IS LOVE ITSELF and Who loves us MUCH MORE than any parent loves their child(ren), is disturbed by the lies we say about ourselves (and others).
God is our Papa, Jesus is His firstborn and we are His siblings, which makes us heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17, 29). When He gave us access to “the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4), He gave us a new name (His name) and a new nature (His nature). If you are IN Christ, you are a brand new creation; the old has gone and the New has come (1 Cor 5.17). So, it’s not in our nature to sin. Of course, you can sin if you want but it’s not in your nature because you were created for glory when you were glorified (Romans 8:30).
Of course, you may think I’m out of my mind. Well, which mind are you talking about exactly? My mind? Well, I certainly hope so. And I hope I’m out of your mind too.
Renewing the mind begins with repentance… ‘Re’ means to go back. ‘Pent’ is like the penthouse, the top floor of a building. Repent, then, means to go back to God’s perspective on reality, to see as He sees. Also, having a renewed mind is not really an issue of whether or not someone is going to Heaven but of how much of Heaven he or she wants in his or her life right now.
Of course, this renewal process can happen faster or slower, depending on the level of our surrender and cooperation with the Lord. We can be aggressive or passive in our spiritual development just as we can be aggressive or passive in our physical development or intellectual development. We can “take every thought captive” and force it to agree with Christ (2 Col 10:5) or not. We can run this race like one who intends to win first place, conducting ourselves temperately with certainty (1 Cor 9:24-27), or not. It’s our choice.
“There is a law in psychology that if you form a picture in your mind of what you would like to be, and you keep and hold that picture there long enough, you will soon become exactly as you have been thinking.” William James
The practical implications of this whole article are endless. Just as you cannot love your neighbor as you love yourself until you first love yourself, you cannot see others properly, as God does, until you see yourself properly. So, this is about much more than just seeing yourself as God does because it feeds into how we interact with everyone everyday, at home, at work, and everywhere else.
How many times in the New Testament are believers called “saints”? 60 times >> see Acts 9:13, 32, 41; 26:10; Romans 1:7; 8:27; 12:13; 15:25-26, 31; 16:2, 15; I Corinthians 1:2; 6:1-2; 14:33; 16:1, 15; II Corinthians 1:1; 8:4; 9:1, 12; 13:13; Ephesians 1:1, 15, 18; 2:19; 3:8, 18; 4:12; 5:3; 6:18; Philippians 1:1; 4:22; Colossians 1:2, 4, 12, 26; I Thessalonians 3:13; II Thessalonians 1:10; I Timothy 5:10; Philemon 1:5, 7; Hebrews 6:10; 13:24; Jude 1:3, 14; Revelation 5:8; 8:3-4; 11:18; 13:7, 10; 14:12; 15:3; 16:6; 17:6; 18:24; 19:8; 20:9.
Note #1: The word “saints” (Strong’s #40) was used for the believers who were alive at that time as well as the Old Testament believers (Matthew 27:52).
Note #2: While Paul often referred to the believers as saints, he also called them “the faithful” (Ephesians 1:1; Colossians 1:2). Were all the believers truly “faithful” (full of faith and loyal)? Nope! Could it be that Paul was calling “those things which be not as though they were” (Romans 4:17), speaking “by faith and not by sight” (II Corinthians 5:7)? Isn’t it interesting that Jesus is ALSO called “the faithful”? (Revelation 1:5; 3:14) Could it be that Paul was speaking to the Christ in the believers, calling Him out for them to become more like Him? Selah.
How many times in the New Testament are believers called “sinners”? ZERO… ZIP… ZILCH…NADA… NIL. Try to find it! You won’t!
The word “sinners” is mentioned 32 times in the New Testament, and in every single case (in Matthew 9:10-11, 13; 11:19; 26:45; Mark 2:15-17; 14:41; Luke 5:30, 32; 6:32-34; 7:34; 13:2, 4; 15:1-2; John 9:31; Romans 5:8, 19; Galatians 2:15, 17; I Timothy 1:9, 15; Hebrews 7:26; 12:3; James 4:8; Jude 1:15), they are defined as those who are not “born again”, who do not know the Lord.
The two Greek words for “sinners” are “hamartōlos”, which is a heathen devoted to sin, who is pre-eminently sinful and especially wicked (Strong’s #268), and “opheilétēs”, which is a debtor, a person indebted, a delinquent, a transgressor, etc. (Strong’s #3781).
So, with that all said, when a Christian calls himself/herself a “sinner”, they are, according to scripture, misidentifying themselves by assuming an alias, a false/fake name.