Are Christians sinners, saints, or both?

Question: Are Christians sinners, saints, or both?

Saints, that refer to all believers (Acts 26:10; Rom 1:7; 1 Cor 1:2), are but guilty sinners pardoned by the grace of God.

That man’s redemption from the curse of sin rests solely on the Messiah – The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29) – the believer that is utterly corrupt in body, soul, and spirit has been justified and redeemed from the curse of sin and death by the atoning work of Yeshua. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world (1 John 2:2).

Jesus, being the propitiation for the sins of man once for all, is sufficient for all but effectual for some. What does this mean? It means that His exhaustive work at Calvary albeit sufficient for all is effective only for those that have embraced Him as The Christ of God (Luke 9:20; John 1:11; 17:6-26). Only those who have believed The Christ of God can enjoy the divine exchange: that when God vented His wrath at Jesus on the cross at Calvary, our sins were imputed on Him and the righteousness of Christ imputed on us.

RC Sproul in teaching The Atonement of Jesus explains that the “double imputation” was made possible only because Jesus appeased God as the perfect sacrifice (Heb 9:1–10:18). It is therefore apparent that believers in Christ are saints only because God has justified us by faith in The Christ of God.

Are saints any better than sinners? Saints in being sanctified (or set apart as holy) are no better sinners if only better off eternally! For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith (Rom 3:22-27; 1 John 1:8).

What then is the saint to boast of himself when he still sins deliberately? For of the 613 Laws of the Old Testament called the Mitzvot and 38 Commandments from the four Gospels or 1050 commands via repetition in the New Testament for believers to obey, pray tell, which of these sins – venial, mortal and all – is not violated by the saint? To think that saints are sinless is delusional!

Give the Lord His due then, the preservation of the saints rests on the laurels of Christ alone! For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes (Rom 10:4). Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior (Jude 24, 25).

L.S. James

27 Oct 2014

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