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Sinner or Saint?

If you’ve known me very long or ever been in any sort of Bible study with me, you probably know that I can be kind of mischievous when I so choose. For instance, if someone is trying to skim over a difficult topic or passage, I’m going to be THAT person who points it out and forces the group to discuss it. My best friend can tell when it’s coming and sometimes I get a warning glance from her (which is usually ignored) and then she just sighs. ūüôā

Sometimes though, if I want to really get a group going, I’ll make one of my favorite statements:

“Well, I actually don’t think we should say we are sinners. We are saints.”

And then I just sit back with a smile and listen to all the protests go on around me. People whip out their Bibles like they are ready to excommunicate me. Arguments start. It’s great.

After the dust settles and everyone is ready to listen, I bring forth my evidence. Let me start by saying that all of this only applies to those who are saved. If God has NOT redeemed your soul, then you are a sinner and that word is highly applicable. And it was for every. single. person. BEFORE we were saved as well. In fact, we are such sinners that Ephesians 2:1 says that we were DEAD in our trespasses and sins. That’s how fitting the word is.

But if you read just a little further down in Ephesians you come to these verses:

“But¬†God, being¬†rich in mercy,¬†because of the great love with which he loved us,¬†even¬†when we were dead in our trespasses,¬†made us alive together with Christ‚ÄĒby grace you have been saved‚ÄĒ¬†and raised us up with him and¬†seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,¬†so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable¬†riches of his grace in¬†kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Eph. 2:4-7

Something changes when we become saved. Actually, everything changes. But one thing in particular that I would like to talk about is our standing before the Lord. Once we are saved, when God looks at us, ALL HE SEES IS CHRIST’S RIGHTEOUSNESS! I mean, how incredible is that??! He doesn’t see our sin, but he sees what Christ did to redeem us! (Disclaimer: Not an excuse for sin. Read yourself some Romans.)

Furthermore, did you know that out of the 9 letters that Paul wrote to churches, in 6 of them, he starts out using the word “saints?” He either says “called to be saints” or outright calls the believers “saints.” He also uses it liberally throughout his letters as he refers to his brothers and sisters in Christ. Paul definitely thought that word was fitting for believers. (Galatians….not so much…)

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary is my favorite one and so of course I was curious to see what it had to say on the word sinner. One thing it said was, “It is used in contradistinction to saint, to denote an unregenerate person; one who has not received the pardon of his sins.” Believer, that is not you!

So, here’s the part in my conversation where someone usually goes, “but, but” and stumbles around for some words. Let me help you out. I understand, friend! Of course we still sin and need to ask God’s forgiveness constantly. That’s not what I’m saying at all! I think the problem comes in because some churches have distorted the word saint to mean a perfect person and they worship man instead of God alone but that’s NOT how the Bible uses it. The Bible refers to us as saints not because WE are perfect but because our REDEEMER is! Totally different. But it does refer to believers numerous times as saints.

Because, in God’s eyes, we are no longer sinners. That train has left, that slave isn’t here (another one is lol.)

We aren’t sinners; we are saints that sin.

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2018 in theology

 

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My Case Against “The Case for Christ”

When I was in middle school or so, I read The Case for a Creator. And although a lot of the science was (and probably still is) completely over my head, I really enjoyed the book. I loved all the reminders about how creation points to the Lord. So I was pretty excited when I heard they were making a movie on one of the other books by Strobel, The Case for Christ. I haven’t read that one, but I was eager to see the movie. Although a little anxious too because, let’s be honest, Christian movies tend to be cheesy and have bad acting.

My whole church was excited, actually. We even did a movie night for it and hung posters up all over town. I ended up working nursery that night so I didn’t watch it but wasn’t too upset because by that time, it was on Netflix and at my fingertips.

When I finally did get around to watch it, I have to admit, I was a little disappointed. It wasn’t because the movie was cheesy or the actors were bad, it was the message. If you haven’t watched it, this might spoil it so here’s your fair warning.

The wife gets saved at the beginning but all throughout the movie the meaning of that is somewhat vague. I was willing to let that hang in the open because the focus was really on Lee anyway. So what really got me was at the end when he admits that the evidence for Christ’s existence, death, and even resurrection is too overwhelming to ignore and he gives in. He admits that he believes God is real, is sorry for hurting his wife and family, and that is portrayed as what everyone needs to do.¬†I kept waiting for salvation to be explained and things to be cleared up for the unsaved watchers but it never came! I mean c’mon! Christian Mingle had a better salvation message than that! (Yes, I watched it- don’t judge. I had the stomach flu and was really bored.)

Salvation is MORE than believing in the existence of God and even Christ. There are many people who believe that because the evidence IS too much to ignore or because- Duh, of course I believe in God- it runs in my family. But those same people are sadly not on their way to heaven and it’s wrong to give them a false hope that they are. Salvation includes heart change, repentance, forgiveness, and an indwelling of the Holy Spirit. So I take issue with narrowing it down to simply admitting that God is real.

A lot of people will probably say I’m being picky. Yes, I am. I think we need to be picky about a movie that SO many people talked about as a great way to lead others to the Lord. It may be great as an encouragement to those who are already saved- a way to confirm the faith they already have, but I don’t believe it should be used as a salvation tool.

If you want a salvation tool, may I recommend the book of Romans? I have found that much more helpful. ūüôā

 
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Posted by on July 7, 2018 in movies

 

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The Joys of Slavery

Catchy title, no?¬†¬† I haven’t been blogging much lately because I’ve been preparing posts for over the summer when I’m gone and I’ve also been a bit busy!

I’ve been thinking about slavery a lot lately.¬†¬†My thinking has been prompted by reading the following verses:

 

“Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?¬† But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.¬† I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members¬†as¬†slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. ¬†For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed?¬† For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”¬† Romans 6:16-23

I’ve been thinking: a slave has no choice of whether or not to obey. A slave MUST obey his master no matter what.¬† We have been bought with a price and do not belong to ourselves. We belong to Christ.¬† Recently, when there have been times when I’ve been tempted to sin, I think of these verses and say to myself, “A slave has no choice; he must obey.”¬† It’s been such a help and reminder to me to be holy and righteous to think of myself as a slave!

Of course, there are rich rewards to this kind of slavery:  the gift of eternal life with God!

 

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2013 in encouragment

 

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