Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Are you a sinner or saint?

On Sunday, our pastor posed that rather interesting question.

I evidently left my halo at home – so of course, I had to claim the sinner hat.

As I'm sure everyone in the audience did.

And then, our pastor proceeded to tell us why we were wrong.

He's teaching from the book of Ephesians. And the book of Ephesians begins with Paul's enthusiastic list of all the things that belong to us as children of the King.

Yes, we who belong to Christ, are new creations, with new identities.

We are saints.

He gave this good example. When I got married, I became a wife. And when I had my children, I became a mother.

These were titles and positions – conferred on me because something foundational had changed.

Did I always behave like a wife? No, sometimes I still did "single-minded" things. Did I always behave like a mother? No, sometimes I still did "un-Mom" things.

But, no matter how I behaved, I was still a wife – I was still a mother.

In the same way, when I came to saving faith in Jesus, something foundational changed in me. I became a new creature – born again.

I am no longer a sinner trying to behave like a saint – I am now a saint letting go of sin.

There’s a subtle difference between the two.

One is all about my work – the other is all about what God has done, and continues to do.

If I view myself as a sinner, I am all too tempted to do one of two things.

One, I'll try to be better, to try to be good, to try to be good enough – I'll fall prey to the performance temptation of doing good works. I'll try to earn my sainthood, if you will.

Or, knowing that I fail miserably at any attempt to earn my sainthood, I'll live a life of shallow pretense. I'll be like one of those white-washed tombs – lovely on the outside, but hiding on the inside, dead and ineffective.


How should we look at ourselves?

Well, we should recognize the truth of our salvation. That we now live IN Christ. And because of our changed identity, we are saints…

…not sinners trying to be saints, but saints...

Saints being sanctified in Christ.

It was a rousing sermon.

Eye-opening, enlightening, inspiring, and full of TRUTH!

"And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." (2 Corinthians 3:18)

Grab your halo, my friends!

We belong to the King – and He is doing His good work in us.


BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"



    I think your pastor did a wonderful job of explaining the frame of mind.

    "I am no longer a sinner trying to behave like a saint – I am now a saint letting go of sin"

    That says it just perfectly. I'll be using that.

  2. Hi Sharon,
    Thanks for this excellent post, I have heard similar before, but it was good to be reminded. Because if I had been asked the question, my answer would have been sinner too.

    God Bless - Nita x

  3. Amen, Sharon! Our former pastor used to emphaize the fact that we are saints (who sometimes sin) but we are not sinners. Paul addressed many of his letters "to the saints at..."

    I think Satan would like nothing better than to keep us in the bondage of thinking we are sinners. Once we are saved he can't touch our souls, but he can sure make us miserable if we allow it.

    Have a blessed day!

  4. I thought that we were all sinners and that we fell short of the glory of God and that Jesus saved us - I guess thus making us saints?

    I don't know - I try not to sin, but I do.

  5. Amen to this, Sharon! I like how your pastor and you laid this out! I would have said both, a sinner and a saint, but I like this being a saint letting go of sin!

    have a good rainy day!!


  6. lOved this post, Sharon!
    Thank you for reminding us, who beat ourselves up constantly, that we have a Father in Heaven who loves us and we are HIS!!!!
    love you, friend!

  7. Amen and blessings Sharon... Now, I'm sorry to admit this (no, it just seems vane, but I'm not) yet when you posed the question...my answer was saint... Saint Peggy(there's a tale behind this).

    Then before proceeding, I lingered a while and decided that my sins outweigh my sainthood, until I discovered more of what your pastor shared and realized I was right because I am sanctified by Christ. Hallelujah!

    The problem for me is that I connotate being a saint with being holy. And I'm still a work in progress at being holy. But I will claim my sanctification!!!

    Sounds like a great sermon! I love when people share their church's sermon and what they got out of it. Since I started last year, reminding myself of my Identity in Christ this hits home.

    Off to polish my halo... ok, I'll get my sword and fight my battles instead. I really do love studies on Ephesians, so uplifting and empowering. Lotsa treasures here, as we dig deeper and look at God's Word. The Spirit is alive and well... thanks Sharon. You, precious saint and sister, I'm overlooking any possible sin nature and see you as Christ does.

    0:*) Love and peace,

  8. ...my angel icon did not work with the * so let's try this...I know I've seen ANGELS 0 halo : eyes
    -nose ) smile 0:-) or 0:=)

  9. Possibly one of my favorite posts. It seems to me that if we don't accept God's forgiveness...seeing ourselves as saints being sanctified in Christ, we have missed the whole point of the cross.

    PS I just knew you would be an excellent rainy weather driver!

  10. Debbie - So glad you liked this. I really enjoyed the sermon! I just love when my mind is tweaked in a different direction. When truth seems to leap out at me in a new way. Glad you'll be using the thought - I find it extremely uplifting.

    Nita - It's always good to be reminded of our true standing in Christ. We are so much more because of Him. The enemy does his best to convince us otherwise - leading to much discouragement. We must not listen to those lies!

    Joan - How awesome that your pastor emphasized this fact. We so need to understand it. I agree, Satan does his best to defeat those whose souls he has lost. I was reminded of C.S. Lewis' "The Screwtape Letters" - all the subtle ways that he distracts us from God's work, and from God's truth in our lives.

    Sandie - OK, this is how I understood it. Yes, we all fall short of the glory of God. We are sinners. However, when we are saved by the blood of Jesus, we take on His righteousness. We become something new, born again. Though we still sin, we are no longer held in bondage to that sin nature. Sin does not define who we are - salvation does.

    Betty - I liked that definition, too. It puts the importance and the power on the saving work of Jesus - not on the sin nature that has died with Him. Still working on the sanctifying - praise God that He makes that happen, too!

    Janet - Yup, I know all about that self-beating!! It's good to be reminded of our true standing in God's eyes. We are reconciled to Him, and He does indeed love us!!

    Peggy - YAY! You are a saint, and it's wonderful that you claim that for yourself. I'm going to, too. So, let's both pick up our swords and fight - but let's do it with our halos on!! (Love the little picture of the halo-ed face! Too cute!)

    Anita - I'm so glad you enjoyed this. I couldn't agree more. Sometimes we don't claim the cross as we should. It is the single most important moment in history - and it represents the only important thing in any one person's life. If the cross doesn't change everything - including our transformation from sinner to saint - then we truly have missed the point. Glad that we haven't! (Good rainy day driver? Yes - but I still drive too fast...shhh, don't spread that news!)



"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

(NOTE: Anonymous comments will be removed. Thank you for understanding.)