To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:2-3 ESV).
Friend to Friend
When I was a teenager, I gave my life to Jesus. I came to know Him as my Savior and Lord and followed Him with all the knowledge I had at the time. When my more mature friends messed up horribly, they would shrug and say, “Well, I’m just a sinner saved by grace.”
Before I knew it, I was saying, “I’m just a sinner saved by grace” to justify all sorts of bad behavior. The only problem was, the words, “sinner saved by grace” weren’t in the Bible.
I knew that I was a sinner. Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (ESV).
I also knew that I had been saved by grace. Ephesians 2:8 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith” (ESV). Salvation was a gift I didn’t deserve and certainly couldn’t to earn.
The problem came when folks stuck parts of those two verses together to make a brand new one…one that wasn’t in the Bible.
Here’s what the Bible does say and hold on to your hats because it’s a game changer.
Yes, before you and I came to know Jesus as Savior, our identity was…a sinner. That’s who we were. We didn’t become sinners the first time we did something wrong, we were born that way (Romans 5:19).
After you and I became Christians, we became a new creation. Paul wrote: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV). And with that transformation came a new identity—a saint.
When Paul wrote his letters to the various churches in the New Testament, he never addressed them “to sinners at Philippi,” or “to the sinners at Ephesus.” He always addressed believers as saints. For example:
“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 1:1). “To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling,” (1 Corinthians 1:2).
Saint doesn’t mean perfect, not by a long shot. Saints means set apart for holy use.
After we are born again, as Jesus calls it, God never looks at us and thinks, there goes that sinner saved by grace, bless her heart. Rather, He looks at us and calls us saints… redeemed and set apart.
If we see ourselves as just sinners saved by grace, then we’ll act like sinners saved by grace and expect very little from our transformation as a new creation in Christ. However, if we see ourselves as saints, then we’ll be more likely to see ourselves as set apart for the things of God.
If we continue to see ourselves as just sinners saved by grace, we’ll approach the Father expecting judgement and begging for crumbs, rather than as grateful grace-filled saints expecting promises fulfilled.
For all of us who know Jesus as Lord, we are not defined by our sin, but by our Savior; not by our behavior but our beliefs.
I am not saying that once we become a Christian we no longer sin. John wrote, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8 ESV). I am saying that our sin no longer defines who we are.
We were sinners, who were saved by grace. Now we are saints who will continue to struggle with sin until we leave this earth.
I know “I am a sinner saved by grace” sounds humble, but that’s not who God says you are. The truth is: You are a holy, redeemed, chosen, dearly loved child of God who is equipped by the Father, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and enveloped in Jesus Christ! And that’s through grace all around. Speak it. Believe it. Live it.
LORD, help me to see myself as You see me. Thank You for taking the sinner I was and turning me into the saint I am.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Why do you think it is easy to say “I’m just a sinner saved by grace” rather than “I am a saint who God has redeemed?”
Read the first few verses of Paul’s letters and note how he addresses the believers.
More from the Girlfriends
Do you believe that you are who God says you are? Or do you tend to listen to the lies of the enemy that tell you that you are not enough and never will be enough. It’s time to replace those lies with truth and silence the lies that steal your confidence. Learn how in Sharon’s book, Enough!
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