I recently skirted around the topic of our deadness to sin a few weeks ago. If you missed it you can find that post here. In that post I stopped just shy of saying we are no longer sinners.
Fear is what kept me from saying it outright. Yes. I know what you’re thinking. You’re either agreeing with me or looking for some way to either remove my head as a heretic or to point out the obvious-to-you flaws in my thinking. I’d like to go on record here and now saying that I welcome any and all dialogue on my posts, provided they are civil and only ideas are discussed and people are left unscathed by words.
I know it’s hard to differentiate between the two. I’ve struggled with that myself. One of my most faithful friends (Proverbs 27:6) has often told me how vital it is for us to be able to separate our identity, who we are in Jesus, from what other people say and think about us.
One thing that recently struck me like a ton of bricks right between the eyes is that very thing. What someone else thinks of me, whatever they think I am is really none of my concern. Their thoughts and opinions are not strong enough to change who we are.
Back to we are no longer sinners after we come to Jesus, it seems to go against all that we think and are taught from our earliest days in the church nursery. We all know we’re sinners, sinners saved by grace, and that one day we’ll have eternal life and gain entrance into heaven. A quick glance at Romans 6,7 and Galatians 5 seem to support this, but let’s take a closer look.
I’m going to move through these quickly and then we’ll come back and elaborate on them in subsequent posts.
We’ve been taught to read this as “try really hard not to sin” and “don’t use grace as an excuse to sin”. The last part is true. The first part could not be further from the truth. Why? Because we are dead to sin. Not just a little dead, but very dead, completely dead.
Dead things don’t live. Dead men don’t sin.
In verse 4 of Romans 6 we read:
Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life
And 2 Corinthians 5:17:
Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things have passed away, behold, new things have come.
What is new and what old has gone, except our old nature?
The new would be the life and nature of Jesus. We were baptized into His death and raised in newness of life. Since our old nature was dead, our new nature is life.
To redeem means to buy back; to restore means to take back to the original. We were redeemed by Jesus and His blood restored us to what we were. And what were we originally? Perfect. Without a sin nature. (Read Genesis 1-3)
All one needs to sin is an enemy, the freedom to choose, and the ability to be deceived. Adam and Eve had both. And so do we.
If we believe we still have a sin nature, we think we still have no choice (and therefore no responsibility) in sinning. “It’s just the way I am. I’ve always been this way. I can’t change that.”
No, you can’t. Jesus did!
We also then do not believe Jesus redeemed all of us. There are parts of us He did not and could not redeem. In other words, His blood wasn’t enough. He needs our help.
So salvation–complete salvation–becomes based on what I do and not based on what Jesus did.
We still struggle with temptation and sin, but it is not our nature to sin. We struggle with sin because we still have an enemy who seeks to steal, kill, and destroy us. Just as he tempted Eve in the garden, he tempts us and tries to deceive us.
You don’t need a sin nature to be tempted and deceived. Neither Adam and Eve or Jesus had a sin nature. All were tempted. One was deceived, one sinned and One was perfect.
I am a sinner is a statement of identity. It is also a lie. However, if we believe it, we will live it out.
And when we live it out, the enemy wins.
Tell yourself the truth. You are not a sinner. You sin. You’re tempted. It’s not your nature. It’s not who you are. Who you are is in Jesus and nothing can change that. In Him you are holy, blameless, made right, redeemed, His people.
You are a saint.