I said it again this morning during the message. The phrase "sinner saved by grace" is not accurate. This upsets some folks, I know. I've been raised hearing this phrase used to describe believers. Hey, I've even used it. The problem with the statement is the emphasis on the word "sinner."
Now, don't hear what I'm not saying. According to Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." We have all sinned. Before coming to Christ, that was our identification. We were sinners.
I know this is just semantics, but there's value here. You see, words mean things. They are powerful.
I also believe we who are Christians are "saved by grace." This is the great rescue. It's God's unmerited favor on us. He loves us, though we don't deserve it. He has invited us into Life and has given us a way - through Jesus Christ. . .and it's all through grace. Ephesians 2:8-9 says it best "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast."
I think the phrase "sinner saved by grace" is accurate once. That moment when you surrendured your life to Christ and accepted Him as your Savior - you were that sinner saved by grace. At the moment of your salvation, you were changed. The Bible says you were transformed and no longer identified by your separation from God (i.e. your sin) and that you are a new creature in Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17, Romans 6)
So, what's the big deal?
The big deal is when those of us who have given our lives over to Christ, through a desire to seem humble or possibly to acknowledge our depravity, continue to identify ourselves as sinners. We, true Christians, are not "sinners" by this definition. A sinner is defined as one who is a habitual practitioner of sin, in league with the Enemy, Satan, and is an enemy of God. The believer in Christ has traded the identity of "sinner" for the identity of "saint." Now, we tend to think of saints as those the Catholic church as identified, but according to Scripture, a saint is anyone who is a true believer and has accepted Christ as Savior.
Do Christians sin? Yes. I'm a testimony of that. We fail our Father. This happens when we forget who we truly are and live from the old nature. It's a dead nature, but still there. Paul was writing the Roman believers about this and referenced it in chapter 6. The "old man" is there. Paul was encouraging and challenging Christians to stay focused and not let the old nature rear it's ugly head.
Bottom line - know who you are, and whose you are. As the singers sang this morning, those of us in Christ Jesus are God's children, and he loves us.
I used the "Daily Prayer" this morning in my message. It was long, I know, but I believe very powerful and biblically based. Copies are available on the church website - www.opfirst.org. For some reason it appears upside down on the computer screen when you open it, but if you print it, you can just turn the paper around. Isn't technology great?
Have a great week.
Oh yeah, I'd love to read your comments about this subject.