Tuesday, December 9, 2008

SINNER OR SAINT?

I have been very busy. So I thought I just post something that would create a little dialog amongst believers. So if you read this post you HAVE TO COMMENT! SMILE...

Is the individual whom the Lord called to receive salvation a sinner or a saint?

Should believers refer to themselves as sinners or saints? Why or why not?

What does God's word say about sinners and saints?

Do you find yourself creating an identity with something God has called you out of?

If so then who is your trust in?



I hope these questions make sense. I am going somewhere with it. Before I go any further I want to hear from believers. So again if you read this post you must respond.

24 comments:

Holly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Holly said...

Sorry bout that it wouldn't let me just edit it...

So here we go again:

Saint(s) means: Holy, consecrated, set apart, seperate, faithful, kind, godly (strong's)

occurs 95 times in KJV, 69 in NASB, 61 in NIV, and 81 in ESV; etc.. (blueletterbible.org)

Great questions!

1. We are sinners saved by grace so we are saints. Sin non longer has dominion in our lives (Col 1:13&14, Romans 6:12-14). No longer to be a pattern of what we do.

2. We should refer to ourselves as saints if we beleive the above I guess. But very few do (at least not in the churches I attend!) and those that I have heard do so often do so with a sense of pride which brings up a whole nother discussion ;)

3. Lots! (see above) but basically that we are no longer the world's, Satan's or our own we belong to God and as such are and are to be a people set apart unto Him. Living it out is the tricky part for me at times but it should get easier the longer we walk with Him. Saddens me greatly to see elderly "saints" who do not live like it are still immature in their faith.

4 & 5. OUCH! But true... words have great power and while we all remember the "sticks and stones.." rhyme it wasn't true then and it isn't true now. So you have to wonder if this is an area of subtle warfare where Satan has been content to let us continue to call ourselves sinners rather than confess the power of being saints?

I think I have my next devotion for PWOC! ;) Good stuff!

love ya!

Nicolle Fletcher said...

Thanks Holly!

Steven Owen said...

Nicolle, ok you set me up. I read now I must respond. LOL!!!
We are saints in God's eyes, being sanctified. Amen!
The bible says we are new creations. So that would mean the old man passed (sinner) and now we are new (saints).
I know I'm just rambling, but check this out.
Before you married Phillip you had a different last name right?
Then you got married and became one with your new husband and took on his last name.
Wow that was good! Laughing :)
I use this for all not just you. Because I know you know the answer.
Steven

mommy of 2 said...

When we confess our sins and ask for forgiveness each week at Worship (or daily, if we take the time), we "Saints" can ask whatever we want (as long as it's in God's will, and we believe with all our heart and NOT DOUBT), God will do whatever we ask of Him (ie the supernatural power of God is available to us "Saints"). Evidence for this claim is: I've shocked more than one pastor/chaplain when I've revealed to him what specific passage (book, chapter & verse) he was planning to preach on that day (before he went to the pulpit, or I looked at the bullein, of course! :>) On another occassion, I asked the LOrd to give me a girl child during my 1st pregnancy, and a boy child during my 2nd (I did not have ultrasounds, but instead believed with all my heart that God would provide the desires of my heart). He did just that! One more example (I could go on and on), when I prayed, I asked the Lord to start my car (it had a dead battery), and he did on the very first try. Very exciting stuff! I also know without a shadow of a doubt that he has sent angels for physical protection of me & my family on several occassions. WEll, that's my 2 cents, for what it's worth!
-Humble before the thrown

cary said...

Both!
In God's sight we are declared right with him through faith (justification - Rom 5:1). But in our day to day experience, God is working out what he's already declared us to be; defeating the power of sin progessively, which can be painful as we still see our failures (sanctification - Rom 7:18).
Paul is given to us as an example (he said to imitate him - 1 Cor 4:16, 11:1). what was Paul's self-identity, saint or sinner?
He said he is the chief of sinners (1 Tim 1:15). He didn't say "I USED to be the chief of sinners." So biblically we are to remember who we are without Christ ("nothing good dwells in me" Rom 7:18). But Paul also called himself a saint! (the "least" of the saints, Eph 3:8). So, from a justification aspect, in the heavenlies, Paul knew he was a saint. From a sanctification, experiential stand point, Paul knew he was still a sinner in need of a Savior every day. It's a dual identity for the believer, though we are moving towards what God has declared us to be (saint)and he will finish what he started (Phil 1:6)! Praise God! Isn't it interesting that Paul called himself the greatest of sinners and the least of the saints? hmmmmm....

Tommy said...

1) A saint, not to be confused with perfect, and sainthood is not the same as we see commonly, where the church declares you a saint, based on good works. God sanctifies us and deems us worthy of being a saint by washing us in the blood of Jesus.
2)I can see no need to use the title, and fear that it would lead to pride, but if used without pride it would be accurate. I just don't see where it would edify anyone to take on the title of saint. I believe it is self defeating to call oneself a sinner, we need to rejoice constantly in the freedom Christ bought for us, acknowledgeing that we are not yet perfect, but not allowing ourselves to be bound to sin again.
3)Too much to list.
4)Yes, unfortunately, however I am striving to change my attitude toward it and ask God daily for help in that area.
5)My hope is in Christ and him crucified. Without him I would have no hope.

Phillip Fletcher said...

1. The person called to recieve salvation is a sinner. God in his grace calls men and women out of sin, darkness, death into freedom, light and life in Christ.

2. Believers should see themselves as saints. In 1 Peter we see the call to be holy as God is holy which means "set apart, wholly distinct." In each one of Pauline epistles he addresses the churches as "saints." In his conclusion he speaks of the believers as saints.

Cary does bring up an interesting point that Paul refers to himself as "chief of sinners." I would add he maybe looking back at his life prior to Christ because he appeals to the work of Christ and His abundant grace to save sinners.

There is one other time in James 4:8 where James references "sinners." Now is he addressing an unregenerate person or a believer who is sinning? Any thoughts?

The proponderence of the evidence points though that an individual saved by God's grace must identify as a saint because they are set apart in the temple of God for His use.

3. What does God say about sinners? They must repent. Sinners are sick and in need of a physician.(Mk 2:17) God has given His law to the ungodly and sinner (1 Tim 1:9) and because of this and that His wrath remains on them, God commended His love to sinners by sending Jesus Christ (Rom 5:8).

So lets launch into grace! We are saints by His grace (Eph 2:8-10). Saints are sanctified in Jesus Christ(1 Cor 1:2) The Holy Spirit who resides in us, makes intercession for the saints.

4. Unfortunately yes. But thanks be to God who has delivered his from this body of death through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Steven Owen said...

Phillip, according to what I read in James 8 it seems he is talking to people who think they are regenerate and then he shows them the truth through his explanations.
Because then in chapter 5:7 he starts addressing the brothers again.
Right? Just another question added to the pot.

cary said...

let me clarify. in no way do i want to take away from our position in Christ as saints. but some use this to incorrectly lead to a life of denial concerning present sin. we are in the present-tense working out of what God has declared us to be. "Saint" doesn't mean we do not have a sin nature (Gal 5:17), though we do have power over it when we walk in faith in Christ crucified (Rom 6:14). In this life we will continue to stumble and fall in sin. "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, adn the truth is not in us" (1 Jn 1:8). God wants us to know that and to trust him day by day (take up our cross "daily," Luke 9:23). But he has called us saints in Christ Jesus, and one day our experience will match up with our position!

Todd Cate said...

Hey Guys, great stuff. Good questions Nicole. First off I praise God that we even get to ask these questions. Are we Saints? Praise God we can even ask that.

I would say that YES we are Saints by the Blood of Jesus. Declared right means we are righteous in God's eyes. Blammo.... Saints. I look back to Corinthians and the sin that was going on in the church and how Paul addressed those guys. "2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified(set apart) in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:"

Are we Sinners? I've got to take the same perspective as Phil on this. If we are Saints then we have been set apart from the world are no longer hopeless Sinners. Do we have sin problems? You better believe it. Praise God for the Holy Spirit and His work in our lives.

I would LOVE to just quote all of Romans 6, but will attempt to only paste a few verses...."5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord."....

I would say we are no longer Sinners, but Saints dealing with the old man/sin nature/Flesh (Romans 7 & 8) what ever you want to call it. Never the less, being dead to Sin and alive in Christ means we are no longer hopeless sinners but hopeful saints.

I think it is worth noting that in 1Tim 1, Paul is praising God for saving him/putting him into the ministry. He mentions he "was Formerly a Blasphemer, a persecutor and an insolent man". And that he is grateful that God's Grace could reach a sinner such as He, maybe not necessarily that he is still labeled the Chief Sinner. AND that in Rom 7 he does say that "nothing good dwells in me (THAT IS,IN MY FLESH)".

In Him

homemakerchronicles said...

I've actually been thinking about this very subject lately. I've been praying for God to show me who I am in Him now that I am declared a SAINT! What's this life on earth all about...what is there after salvation for the those who are His?
This is one of the verses I found and I think it applies for this specific subject too. Ephesians 2:19-22
"...you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit."
For a long time I dwelt on the fact that I am a sinner. A very "Woe is me!" mindset.
I was afraid to move beyond it for fear that I would become prideful. Until recently, I was to the point of self-imposed suffering, and thinking that somehow knowing that I am and acting like a poor wretch made me holier than I was. False Humility is what that is.
For me it has been important to know WHO I AM in Christ. God is getting me out of this by reminding me that He sees me through the blood of Jesus. It's all about Jesus! I want to experience His love since I have escaped His wrath. I know this is off subject- I guess it's more about the result of being called a saint. I am still seeking the Lord because I don't fully understand this, but for the purpose of this blog, this is all I know!

Desdemona said...

Great questions for us to ponder. I for one struggle with the notion that "the saint is just a sinner who falls down and gets back up". As is so powerfully sung in the Bob Carlisle song redone by Donnie McClurkine "We Fall Down". I was asked to sing this song at church a few months back and agreed to it simple because the pastor personally requested it. So many people commented how that was one of there favorite songs and how it touched them. So I had to take a look at the song from the perspective I believe most people do which is that our righteousness is as filthy rags and we will never be perfect saints as Jesus was but thank God for his grace.

However I believe a saint is a person who has been washed clean of sin and is therefore no longer a sinner. Colossians 2:11-15 beautifully declares how Christ transforms us into saints, vs. 13"...He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses." On the other hand a sinner is one who practices sin but as believers "We know that whoever is born of God does not sin" 1 John 5:18

We should therefore strive for holiness because the Lord would not tell us to be holy if it's impossible. 1 Peter 1:15-16 " as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy." That is where grace comes in because lets face it we are still in this flesh. And I love the definition of grace that evangelist John Bevere gives he says "Grace is God's empowering presence that gives us the ability to do what truth demands of us." And it is that, empowering presence of God that separates us from the sinner.

Sarah said...

"Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners..." It seems as though we should refer to ourselves as saints as obviously we stand in the path of other believers by command. By the way, I am only writing on here because Nicole said I had to if I read the blog. I do appreciate the questions though and have been struggling with these very things as I'm sure Nicole has observed. "Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous." So does that mean we are to think of ourselves as righteous even though we sin? I really struggle with this. When I read through the Psalms out loud, I find myself stopping at the parts where the psalmist says something about his righteousness or something along those lines. Yeah we all know Jesus is righteous, but does that mean we are just because of what He did? I always refer to myself as a sinner, but maybe I should start calling myself a saint. Anyway, I have just used Gabriel's nap on the internet and Ethan busted me for it so I gotta go. Good questions.

Sarah said...

Quick question...who is James 4:7-10 talking to? Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

homemakerchronicles said...

Sarah, check this out-I just found it the other night while scouring the scripture for some encouragement about my position with God.
Colossians 2:9-11
"For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ,
having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.
When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,"
We're IN HIM!! Whatever Jesus gets, we get too- and God loves Jesus!
Love you sister,
Angie

homemakerchronicles said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah said...

oops...phillip already asked that...

Phillip Fletcher said...

So if I may stir the pot,

Should we continue to refer to ourselves as "sinners saved by grace?" If you examine the phrase, it states:

1. Who we once were: sinner
2. The action done to us: saved
3. The means in which it occurred: by grace

Next to help Sara, the righteousness you now possess is Christ righteousness. So yes you are righteous based on Christ giving(imputation) His righteousness.

Yet Scripture says it best:

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.(2 Cor 5:21).

This is abounding grace.

I tell you, if we could just walk by faith in this, how our minds would be renewed.

Nicolle Fletcher said...

hummmmmm, saints saved by grace!

homemakerchronicles said...

You can just call me
"Righteous by the Blood".


Just kidding ;)

Holly said...

Yes PWOC meets on Tues. here and I would love you to come visit! There is a group at one of the afb's there in LittleRock ... can't think of it off the top of my head but they were at conference.

Nicolle Fletcher said...

Thanks again guys for all the comments. Cary I hear you when you say sanctification is the working out of grace (salvation, saint). By no means I am denying present struggle with sin, but I am saying we need not be defeated because of it. Christ has paid for it. Holly I asked about PWOC so I could post the other part before you all meet. Check you out Dee Dee it has been a long time. Thanks for sharing. Welcome to the blogging world! Sarah it seems that we do struggle with sin and we must remember that sin does not master us. My whole point is to help us see ourselves as Christ does. If your child does wrong and you became angry is the relationship now cut off? No but that is how believers act when they fall short and they will because it is only the power of the resurrected Lord that allows them to be right in the first place.

So guys and gals this was great sharping. I think I will post something else like this one. So be ready to blog your responses!

Nicolle Fletcher said...

Welcome TODD CATE to the world of Blog!