Updated: Sep 8, 2021
You Are Not a Sinner and a Saint
I asked in a previous blog whether a Christian can be a liar, a thief, an alcoholic, a drug addict, a homosexual, or a sinner. I hope you see now that though Christians can lie, steal, get drunk, do drugs, commit adultery, have same gender sex and commit all kinds of sins, those behaviors don’t define them. The reality is that if they do those things, they are saints who are lying, stealing, getting drunk, doing drugs, committing adultery, having same gender sex and sinning. In other words, they are not living like who they are in Christ!
You may be wondering about 1Timothy 1:15, where Paul states, “This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’—and I am the worst of them all” (NLT).
Isn’t Paul saying that even though he is a Christian, he is still a sinner? No, he’s not saying that at all. The verses before and after tell us he was speaking of his life before he became a Christian.
This doesn’t mean Christians don’t sin. It just means sinning doesn’t define them as sinners. In other words, though you were saved by grace, you are not a sinner saved by grace. You are also not a sinner and a saint. You are just a saint.
When my children were young, I heard a big commotion with yelling and running. My son, Ben, was chasing his younger brother, Christopher, and yelling, “You’re a tattletale! You’re a tattletale! I’m going to get you!” Ben had been disciplined by my wife because Christopher told her something Ben did, and he wasn’t happy about it.
Somehow Christopher’s little legs were going so fast that Ben’s long arms couldn’t catch him. But Ben kept yelling those same words at him until Christopher finally yelled back over his shoulder, “I’m not a tattletale! I’m a truth teller!” To have the last word, Ben said, “Well, you’re a truth teller who tattletales!”
That’s like what God says about us. We are saints who commit different kinds of sins, but we are still saints!
Mark Maulding is a staff writer for IOM America. He is the author of the book, "God's Best Kept Secret."