Are you a sinner? That is a question that truly plagues the church at large today. Most people in the church today say that, “I am a sinner, saved by Grace.” But is this correct? Are you really a sinner?
Jesus in this section of scripture says to the Jews in verse 24, “I told you that you would die in your sins, for you will die in your sins unless you believe that I am he.” Did you note the caveat He added? That you would die in your sins UNLESS you BELIEVE. So He was saying that through believing in Him, that is, through faith, it was possible to be set free from your sins.
Which brings me back to my question, are you a sinner? If you have faith in Jesus Christ and believe according to what He shows us in the New Covenant, then according to His words YOU ARE NOT A SINNER! Wow! So instead of saying, “I AM a sinner saved by Grace,” you should be saying, “I WAS a sinner saved by Grace.” The first says you are a sinner NOW, but the second says you used to be a sinner, but thanks be to Jesus you are no longer a sinner.
Let’s look at this a bit more.
What is sin?
We should start by defining what sin actually is. There are lots of things people call sin, but are not. For instance some people say it is a sin to get angry. This is not true. But anger can cause you to lose control and commit sin. Even the Bible says, “Be angry, but do not sin.” (Ephesians 4:26)
So what is sin? John advises us that “Every one who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.” (1 John 3:4) Lawlessness is disobedience to the law or breaking the law. So sin is the breaking of God’s law, which is the law as given by Him to Moses and is laid out in the Old Testament.
Anyone therefore who breaks the laws in the Old Testament is a sinner. This is different to having those factors, emotions, passions and motivations within us that may LEAD to sin, such as anger. We may very well get angry, but it is only when we allow that anger to take control and cause us to break one of God’s laws that we actually commit sin.
Why Did Jesus Come?
But then we need to understand what Jesus did in His coming. John tells us immediately after defining what sin is in 1 John 3, the reason why Jesus came. He says,
5 You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.
6 No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him.” (1 John 3:5-6)
Jesus appeared to TAKE AWAY SINS. John the Baptist said exactly the same thing too. In John 1:29 he said, “The next day he [John the Baptist] saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
The very purpose of Jesus’ appearing and dying was to take away sins. So if you say now, “I am a sinner” whether saved by Grace or not, you are denying the work of Jesus Christ. You are in effect saying that He did not do what He came to do, that is, to remove your sin.
Furthermore, when you call yourself a sinner you are not abiding in Jesus Christ for as John shows in 1 John 3:5-6 above, “…in him there is no sin” and “No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him.” Do you claim to know Jesus and yet call yourself a sinner? How can you know Jesus if you claim to be a sinner? John shows that this cannot be. He says you CANNOT be a sinner and know Jesus, for Jesus came to take away your sin and in claiming you ARE a sinner you are rejecting the work Jesus came to do!
Confused? Don’t worry, you are not the only one. The key to this is to understand that when Jesus sets you free, you really are free. When He took away your sin, He did not leave you as a sinner but as a new creation, no longer bound by sin and no longer under the law.
Freedom from sin and freedom from the law is the very point of Jesus’ coming. The one thing that stands between man and God is sin for, “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) So if we are to come into His presence, sin had to be removed. That is why Jesus came to take away sin. In His death He removed sin and we accept His death and resurrection as our own so that we can become new creations.
Which brings up another point. If you are not a sinner, because Jesus has removed your sin AND taken away the law so that you can no longer break the law, how should you describe yourself? Sure you can say “I WAS a sinner, saved by Grace” which is past tense, but what are you today?
Look at Abraham. We are told that, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” (Romans 4:3) Abraham was righteous before God because God said so. Not through what Abraham did, but through what He believed.
Well guess what. We too believe God when we accept the freedom that Jesus offers us and so we too are reckoned righteous just like Abraham was. As Paul said in Romans 4:22-25,
22 That is why his faith was “reckoned to him as righteousness.”
23 But the words, “it was reckoned to him,” were written not for his sake alone,
24 but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him that raised from the dead Jesus our Lord,
25 who was put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
We are reckoned righteous just like Abraham was…through our faith. Abraham was given something specific to believe: that he would be the father of many nations. We too are given something specific to believe: that Jesus died for our sins and was raised for our justification.
And we also died to the law through Jesus’ death so that we would no longer be bound by it and thus no longer condemned as sinners under the law. As it says, “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.” (Romans 6:14)
So you must no longer call yourself a sinner for that is to say Jesus did not do His job and that the Grace of God is not good enough. Instead you should now call yourself righteous, not because of anything you have done, but through your faith in what God has done in Jesus Christ.
Are you a sinner? No. You are a righteous member of the family of God in Jesus Christ, as God planned and meant you to be. Do you still make mistakes? Sure you do, but it is no longer sin for you are not under the law and therefore cannot break it.
How do you enter this new life? Well…that’s a whole other discussion that I will get to another time. But if you want to know more or have any questions…put a comment below or send me an email.
(Photo sourced from stock.xchng taken by Ahmed Al-Shukaili)
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