When the Apostle Paul addressed his letters to the churches in the New Testament, he used greetings such as the ones below. Which one is not really from the Bible?
A) To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:
B) To the sinners saved by grace in Galatia:
C) To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy
D) To the holy and faithful brothers in Christ at Colosse:
If you picked “B” as the one that is not in the Bible, you are right! Every time Paul referred to people who are followers of Jesus, he used words such as holy, sanctified, and faithful. Throughout the New Testament those who are in Christ, who have placed their faith in Jesus, are called holy and sanctified. They are made righteous by the shed blood of Jesus while those who do not believe in Christ are still unrighteous. Believers are brought into the light and even become the light while unbelievers are still in darkness. Believers in Christ are filled with the Holy Spirit, set free from the chains of sinful behavior patterns, and empowered to live for Jesus in a brand new way of life in Him.
Most believers would agree wholeheartedly with the above and thank God for the work He has done in their lives. And yet, when it gets right down to it, many heartfelt Christians fall into the trap of seeing themselves as “sinners saved by grace.” You here it often in churches across the country: “I'm just a sinner, saved by grace.” There is some truth to that statement – we certainly thank God for His grace and know that our salvation comes from the cross of Christ and not our own efforts – but when we identify ourselves as sinners rather than saints we cut short the work of Christ in our lives and ignore fundamental teachings of the New Testament.
Think about that for a minute. How do you see yourself? How do people in your local congregation see themselves? Do we see ourselves as “sinners saved by grace” who blunder along from one sin to the next, conforming to the world around us and expecting to fall into sin every time we are tempted? Or do we see ourselves as new creations in Christ, made holy and righteous by His shed blood, and set apart for God's purposes in this world? Do we see ourselves as sinners who by the grace of God are used by Him to do something good once in awhile or do we see ourselves as saints who are set apart to represent Him to those around us?
"We cut short the work of Christ by not believing and living out what HE says about us: That we are righteous men and women of God, holy and pure and set apart from the world to be new creations"
Many of us have begun to believe the lie that we are powerless sinners who are saved by grace and that is all God has for us. We cut short the work of Christ by not believing and living out what HE says about us: That we are righteous men and women of God, holy and pure and set apart from the world to be new creations – His creations – who are the light of the world, the salt of the earth, the voice of hope, the hands and feet of God Himself.
We cheat ourselves out of so much when we self-identify ourselves as sinners rather than saints. Don't do it. If you have put your faith in Christ, then God sees you as holy and righteous, so begin to see yourself that way too. For if you believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and rose from the dead, then God no longer sees you as a sinner separated from Him. Instead, he sees you as being born again into a new life of not only serving Him but also of being His friend.
So don't see yourself as a sinner, not even a sinner saved by grace. That is what you once were. Instead boldly proclaim to yourself and even to others, “I am a friend of God. We are walking through this life together. I am a servant of the Most High. I am set apart for His use. And I am not only a servant and friend of God, I am His child, brought into the family of God through Jesus, my Lord and Savior. I will live victoriously in Him, not as a sinner conformed to the world, but as one who has been transformed into the image of Christ, with all the power and hope and joy that comes with being identified with Him.
Let's Pray Together: Lord Jesus, “I know You died on the cross and made me righteous, holy, and set apart for You and Your purposes. Help me to see myself that way, as holy and righteous and set apart for You and whatever it is You want me to do. Help me to see myself as a saint rather than a sinner and help me to live that out as I live for You.....” (continue praying as you feel led)