Are You a Sinner or a Saint?
By J. C. Corcoran
Paul refers to all believers as saints. The Catholic Church, however, thinks that a saint is one called as such by that church. And, if I’m not mistaken, one has to be dead before they can be canonized as a saint by the Catholic Church. So, is Paul wrong?
I don’t think so. In Acts 9:13 Ananias also refers to the believers as saints. In verse 32 of Acts 9 we read that Peter travelled around visiting the saints. The Catholic Church considers Peter to be the first Pope but, apparently, they don’t agree with him about who might be a saint.
In Acts 26:10 Paul says that he put “many of the saints in prison.” Would Paul put dead people in prison? The short answer is NO. We, the believers in Christ Jesus, are referred to as saints in many other places in the bible. So half the answer to my question “Are you a sinner or a saint?” is YOU ARE A SAINT!
Now, let’s face the other half… Are you a sinner? And the short answer to that is NO!
You WERE a sinner but you are now a sinner saved by grace and you do not have to sin anymore. In fact you shouldn’t sin anymore; in fact, you best not sin anymore because sin brings a wedge between you and God the Father. Now, before you walk away and say I’m a fruitcake for saying this; allow me to present my case.
We are still human; we have been saved to eternal life and we will one day be clothed in a new body; BUT, as long as we are still in this body, we can, and more than likely will, make mistakes. We will do something wrong against God’s commands. BUT, we, as believers, now have an escape clause in 1st John 1:9… “If you confess your sin, He is faithful and just to forgive you and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness.
This my dear fellow saints only applies to believers; followers of Jesus Christ. John is talking to believers. Just a few verses more in 1st John and you will read this: “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense – Jesus Christ.” He is speaking to the children of God and the very first chapter of John explains that the believers are given the right to be called children of God.
In other words, if we mess up and sin, the Holy Spirit, who lives in us, will remind us and, when we hear that little voice reminding us, we should immediately confess it. Do not allow sin to linger; it will fester and you will definitely be in trouble.
What about temptation? Here is the difference between people who are sinners without the grace of God and people who are saints because of the grace of God. When we are tempted we have a way out. But we cannot do it on our own. We need God’s word, which is our sword (Ephesians 6:17) to fight the devil just as Jesus did in the desert.
I believe that the whole problem we have with obeying God stems from the very first day we begin our walk with God. That would be the day of our baptism. I believe the people who baptize us, usually a minister, are missing the boat. I don’t think they go far enough in the baptism ceremony. I think that immediately after your baptism, which is before you ever step out of that water, the minister should quote these words from Deuteronomy 26:17-18… “You have declared this day that the Lord is your God and that you will walk in His ways; that you will obey Him. And the Lord has declared this day that you are His people.” And then he should repeat the words of Jesus Christ… “Go and sin no more.”
Remember what baptism signifies; you are telling the world that you are confessing Jesus as your Lord; that you believe God raised Him from the dead. It’s your first act of obedience to His word because Peter said in Acts 3:38… “Repent and be baptized.” He further states that you will then receive the Holy Spirit and this is God living in you.
The bible tells us that we are temples of the living God (1st Corinthians 3:16 & 6:19) and in another place it tells us that greater is He that is in us then he that is in the world (1 John 4:4). We have all the power we need to live without sinning (on purpose that is) and we are commanded to sin no more.
Recall the story in John 8:1-11. Jesus is teaching in the temple courts when a group of Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They were going to stone her to death but Jesus said… “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” And at that they all walked away. Jesus had just saved this girl from death. And he told her… “Go and sin no more”(verse 11). Don’t you think that is an example for us. We have been saved from death by the blood of Jesus and every day I hear Him saying to me… “go and sin no more.” It’s a command and you have made a covenant with Him that you will obey Him. And I say we can and should live our lives in Christ without sin. Making a mistake is one thing (I do it every day) and I immediately ask forgiveness. But sinning on purpose is living in sin and we are commanded not to.
We are not sinners; we are Saints. It is written. Praise God.