I’m continuing the series on: How God Sees Us, which commenced here.
A lot of us grew up being told we were sinners saved by grace. Is that right? Or are we saints who sometimes sins? Are we saints or sinners? Which is the most Biblically accurate statement? Does the Bible refer to believers as sinners or as saints?
“To the church of God which is at Corinth, and to all the saints (God’s people) throughout Achaia (southern Greece).” (2 Corinthians 1:1 AMP)
“To the saints (God’s people) who are at Ephesus and are faithful and loyal and steadfast in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 1:1 AMP)
“To all the saints (God’s people) in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, including the overseers and deacon.” (Philippians 1:1 AMP)
“giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints (God’s people) in the Light.” (Colossians 1:12 AMP)
These verses are all from the Amplified Bible, in the NIV instead of saints it says, “holy people.”
“giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.” Colossians 1:12 NIV
Every child of God is a saint, a holy person, because we are in Christ Jesus. This demonstrates just how effective Christ’s death and resurrection has been in dealing with our sin. We have been made holy. “And by that will [God’s], we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:10).
Jesus offered one sacrifice for all time. His “once for all sacrifice,” makes us holy. It covers all our sin, past, present, and future. His sacrifice changed everything. The curtain in the temple was torn in two and he opened the way for us to be new creations in Christ. “So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:16-17).
The old has gone, the new is here. We let go of our old self and see ourselves as new creations in Christ. “Regard no one from a worldly point of view,” Paul is asking us to go beyond looking at outward appearances which is how the world looks at things. Instead we look at things from God’s perspective. Paul tells that when someone becomes a Christian, God gives them spiritual life, a new life, an abundant life. This is not always obvious, but that’s okay because we are not looking at them from a worldly point of view. A significant change has taken place. They have been transformed from a sinner to a saint.
Prior to coming to faith we were all sinners, then there was a moment in time when we ask Jesus to be our Saviour. At that split second, we were sinners saved by grace, but the next second, we were saints, transferred into God’s kingdom and children of light. “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.” (Ephesians 5:8)
Nowhere in the New Testament do we see God’s people addressed as sinners. Not even as sinners saved by grace. Believers are called saints, brothers, children of light, light in the Lord, holy ones and God’s people. We don’t grow into saints or work out way into being a saint. It’s an instant spiritual shift that God makes on our behalf, in response to our faith. Does this mean we are sinless? Unfortunately no, but it does mean we are no longer ruled by sin. “For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14).
So what does it matter, if we see ourselves as saints or sinners? “If we have a wrong belief about ourselves, it will affect the way we live” ~ Neil Anderson.
If we see ourselves as a sinner we will … sin, because that’s what sinners do. If we see ourselves as saints, we will start living like saints.
When Paul said, “Regard no one from a worldly point of view,” he also means ourselves. We no longer look at ourselves from a worldly perspective, instead we choose God’s perspective and agree with his assessment. If the God of all truth, calls us saints, then who are we to disagree?