Throughout the New Testament, God’s people are referred to in a variety of ways: “Christians” (Acts 11:26), “children of God” (1 John 3:2), “faithful brothers” (Col 1:2), “beloved” (1 John 2:7), a “holy nation” (1 Pet 2:9), “elect exiles” (1 Pet 1:1). Most of all (61 times), they are called “saints.”
A term that is completely out of harmony with the rest of the list? “Sinners.”
Does this mean that Christians do not sin? Of course we do. The entire Christian life is a struggle between the new self and the old self, and the latter sometimes wins.
The premise of this sermon is that when our true identities are rightly understood, it affects the way we view (and respond to) our sins.
When God Refers to Sinners
- The sinner is naturally, logically paired with the ungodly (1 Pet 4:18).
- The sinner is sick (Mark 2:17).
- The sinner is lost (Luke 19:10).
- The sinner owes an enormous debt (Luke 7:41-43).
- The sinner is spiritually dead as a child of disobedience (Eph 2:1-3).
- The sinner’s greatest need is mercy from God (Luke 18:13).
When God Refers to Saints
- The saint is naturally, logically paired with God (1 Pet 2:9-10).
- The saint has found the abundant life (John 10:10).
- The saint is living with purpose (Tit 2:11-14).
- The saint’s debt has been paid by Jesus (Col 2:13-14).
- The saint is spiritually alive as a child of obedience (Eph 2:4-10).
- The saint’s greatest aim is the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31).
This sermon was delivered on October 6, 2013.