Excerpt from Unconditional: Liberated by Love– Chapter 11
There is no room for condemnation in the Kingdom of God. He is not judging us so He can bring us down in punishment for our wrongs. Jesus went as far as to say, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17 NKJV). We who have been saved have absolutely no reason to fear punishment from God (see 1 John 4:18). Romans 8:1 says, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” So if God is not bringing this kind of judgment upon us, why do we tend to do it to ourselves and others?
A lot of Christians humbly say, “I am a sinner saved by grace.” This sounds good. You can look at yourself that way if you wish, but a higher perspective is the way God sees you. “Our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin” (Romans 6:6). The body of sin was crucified with Christ and no longer lives; thus you are no longer a slave to it. Since you were raised to newness of life with Christ, it is imperative that you “consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11). This is that whole renewal-of-the-mind thing. How you view yourself affects how you live and what level of victory you are able to maintain. “If you believe you are a sinner saved by grace, you will sin by faith”- Steve Backlund.
“For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace” (Romans 6:14). Paul has done a really good job of convincing me that I am no longer a sinner. I know that I still have the capacity to sin, and sometimes it still happens. However, it is not impossible to continue on with a sinless life either. Whatever hold sin used to have on my inner man has been demolished by the cross. It has been separated from my nature and put to death. It is not who I am. My new identity has no partnership with sin because identity was bestowed upon me from the Holy One in whom sin cannot exist.
I am not a sinner saved by grace. I used to be a sinner, but then I got saved by grace. Now I am a saint! It is not because of any heroic virtue, a series of posthumous miracles performed, or because I got on the pope’s happy list. It is because I am a recipient of the gift of grace and an heir of the Kingdom of God. And so are you! If you read Romans 1:6-7, you will see that Paul declared the Christians to be saints because they are called of Jesus Christ and are beloved of God. It is that easy. The Greek word for “saint” is hagios and means “sacred (pure, blameless, consecrated), holy, saint.” It is the same word that is translated “Holy,” as in “Holy Spirit” and “The Holy One of God.” The same sacred descriptions that we use for God are what He uses for us.
The Greek word for “sinner” is hamartolos. In the entire New Testament, this word is never used to describe a person who has truly embraced the effects of the cross and the resurrection. The only time hamartolos is somewhat mentioned in context to believers is in James 4:8 where it says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” But this was written to a group of people who were struggling with double-mindedness, trying to have the mind of Christ while still embracing Old Covenant mindsets. They wanted to live with one foot in and one foot out. Jesus calls this “lukewarm” in Revelation 3:15-16. Hopefully, they were inspired by James to become single-mindedly focused on the fullness of the grace of Christ, embracing sainthood through sonship and not works.
If you are interested in studying about our separation from hamartolos, perhaps you would enjoy reading Romans 5:8, Romans 5:19, Galatians 2:15-16, and 1 Timothy 1:15-16. (Please read the latter in context with the entire chapter.)
All through the New Testament we are referred to as saints, not as sinners. We would do ourselves a good service to stop referring to ourselves as “sinners saved by grace” and start declaring who we really are—saints. We are His beloved children, in whom He is well-pleased, the holy saints of God, perfected in holiness and blameless in His sight. That is the foundational starting point upon where our identity is built. From there is where each of our unique characters and personalities need to flow and be defined.
Understanding this will set us up to live victorious lives!
Book can be purchased here!