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Are Christians simultaneously sinners and saints?

Quick Answer: Are Christians simultaneously sinners and saints? Christians are always referred to as saints in Scripture, not sinners. We believers are not sinners, but saints who sometimes sin. We have been set apart (sanctified – made into saints) by Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 6:11; Hebrews 10:10).

Diving Deeper: Are we just sinners saved by grace? Or are we something more? It may come as a surprise to you to learn that Christians are not called sinners anywhere in the New Testament. That’s right. Not once in the New Testament does God refer to His children as sinners. Instead, Christians are called “saints” (Romans 1:7).

This is not some “positional” spiritual identity where God is essentially faking Himself out. No, Scripture is clear that when we believe in Jesus, we are born of God (1 John 2:29); made as righteous as God (2 Corinthians 5:21); born of the Spirit (John 3:6); and made partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:3-4).

Because of the born-again experience, we now possess a new and living heart (Ezekiel 36:26-27; Hebrews 8:10; Romans 6:17). At salvation, we were crucified, buried, and raised with Christ to newness of life (Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12); and we were seated with Christ at God’s right hand (Ephesians 2:6). We are saints in the truest sense of the word. We are children of God set apart for Him forever (1 Peter 2:9).

It’s true that Paul referred to himself as the “chief” of sinners, but this was in reference to his life before conversion (1 Timothy 1:15; Galatians 1:13). Evidently, Paul had taken part in the persecution and murder of Christians. In 1 Timothy, Paul is simply thinking back on his past life and using it as an example of how unlimited God’s grace is towards humanity. Paul was essentially saying: “If God could save me, then He can save anyone!”

But for any of us who are now in Christ, we are new creations, saints, and children of God. Yes, we still commit sins, but we are not the sum total of what we do. We are the sum total of what Jesus did through His death and resurrection. Therefore, we are not sinners anymore. We are saints who sometimes sin!

Let’s Make It a Conversation!
1. How have you viewed yourself – as sinner or saint? Why?
2. How does God view you? Is He right?
3. What does God’s view of you mean for your self-image?

Have questions about your new nature? Check out:
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