Thursday, May 12, 2005


How do you see yourself?

Identity is a big thing here in Northern Ireland - are we British, or Irish, unionist or nationalist and so on... But that's not what I'm going to talk about.

I'm thinking of those who are saved. How do you see yourself?
Some people have described themselves as 'a sinner saved by grace'. It is right and proper to ascribe the glory of salvation to God, who by his grace has saved us. But is this even a proper term? Does the Bible speak of people who are saved as 'sinners saved by grace'?

No! Instead, the Bible speaks of 'saints'. But if we think of the saints, we probably think of dead people, maybe the writers of the Gospels, churches names after them, or stained glass windows or plaster models. Therefore, our undersatnding is slightly askew! Paul wrote to the 'saints in Ephesus' Philippi, and he obviously wasn't writing Epistles to dead people... so who was it he was writing to?

The saints were Christians in these various places. Easton's Bible Dictionary states that a saint is: 'one separated from the world and consecrated to God; one holy by profession and by covenant; a believer in Christ.'

But surely these saints are really sinners? Is it possible to be both? I would suggest that 2 Corinthians 5:17 holds our answer: 'Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone and the new has come!' We are a creation in Christ - no longer sinners, but rather saints who sometimes sin.

It can be very easy to be caught by Satan's lies and accusations, and even our self-image can assist Satan. If we think that we are sinners, then we will sin... However, if we understand that we are saints, new creations in Christ, then perhaps we won't be as likely to sin. Sin will still happen, but we don't condemn ourselves to the same cycle of sin - confess - sin - confess that we could find ourselves in by thinking of ourselves as sinners.

How do you see yourself? As a sinner, or a saint?

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