Saint or Sinner

Many Christians, if they are asked, “Are you a saint or sinner?” will respond that they are a sinner. This response reveals they do not really understand the purpose of Yeshua’s sacrifice. If you are a believer in Yeshua, you must understand your identity to reach your full purpose for God in this life.

Sinner

Sin is defined as breaking God’s commands in 1 John 3:4:

“Everyone who sins breaks the law (God’s commands); in fact sin is lawlessness.” 

A sinner is a lawless person who breaks God’s commands by doing what they think is right and wrong, even doing things contrary to their conscience.  A sinner has not come to terms with the existence of God or their sinful way of life.  They have not been redeemed from their empty way of life.  They have no future, no hope in this world.  They are rebellious, disobedient and reject the way of righteousness.  They have unbelieving hearts and turn away from the living God and willfully choose a life of lawlessness.  They have no idea what repentance and turning back to God means.

“But all sinners will be destroyed; there will be no future for the wicked” (Psalm 37:38).

“But rebels and sinners will both be broken and those who forsake Adonai will perish” (Isaiah 1:28).

“For just as through the disobedience of the one man (Adam) the many were made sinners … (Romans 5:19).

“See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God” (Hebrews 3:12).

“The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning.  The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work” (1 John 3:8).

Saint

“For if, while we were God’s enemies (sinners), we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!’ (Romans 5:10).

A sinner who repents becomes a new creation in Messiah, is reconciled to the Father and given new life.  The old life has passed away and died; a new life has become reality  (2 Corinthians 5:17).  This new life should be very different from the old because the darkness of sin has been removed.  Drugs, alcohol and sexual immorality suddenly become uncomfortable.  Anger, jealousy, and coveting become a spiritual burden to the soul.  As an individual’s  spiritual eyes are opened to the difference between the ways of the world and the ways of the Creator, they begin to see the world in which they live is in conflict with the Spirit of God that has been put inside them.

As the Spirit of God moves and works in the new life, there is conviction of sin and the desire to repent.  Each time we repent from another sin,  we are transformed more profoundly into the image of Yeshua.  As we learn what pleases our Father and what does not, we have a desire remove those things that do not please Him and incorporate into our lives those things that do.  This is called the process of sanctification and those who are in this process are called saints.

The word ‘sanctified’ in Greek is the same word as ‘holy’ or hagios.  According to the dictionary, the word ‘holy’ means ‘set apart to the service of God’.  To be ‘holy to Yahweh’ means a new creation in Messiah becomes set apart for the purpose of serving and obeying the living God, no  longer living for their carnal sinful desires.

Some people believe that saints are dead people who lived their lives with great faith.   This concept comes from the catholic church and doesn’t have merit in the Scriptures.  Read the following verses:

“As for the saints who are in the earth, they are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight” (Psalm 16:3).

“O fear the LORD, you His saints; for those who fear Him there is no want” (Psalm 34:9).

“Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One;  His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom and all the dominions will serve and obey Him” (Daniel 7:27).

“Through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among the gentiles for His name’s sake, among whom you are the called of Messiah Yeshua; to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Messiah Yeshua” (Romans 1:5-7).

“All the saints greet you” (2 Corinthians 13:13).

“Greet all of your leaders and all the saints …” (Hebrews 13:24).

“Paul, an apostle of Messiah Yeshua by the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Messiah Yeshua …” (Ephesians 1:1).

“To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Messiah Yeshua, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Messiah Yeshua …” (1 Corinthians 1:2).

“Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Messiah Yeshua, to all the saints in Messiah Yeshua who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons … “ (Philippians 1:1).

“To the saints and faithful brothers in Messiah who are at Colossae …” (Colossians 1:2).

“…when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed …” (2 Thessalonians 1:10).

“And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, when up before God out of the angel’s hand” (Revelation 8:4).

“The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many” (Matthew 27:52-53).

Saints are majestic.  They fear God and greet one another.  They are loved by God, faithful to God, pray to God and are quite capable of reading letters sent to them from Paul.  Saints are most definitely not dead, but living, breathing human beings.  They begin their redeemed lives as saints, live out their earthly lives as saints,  remain saints even after they ‘fall asleep,’ and will be resurrected as saints.

Some people believe they are not good enough to be saints.  This means they do not understand the power of the Holy Spirit to transform their lives.  They spend their days always seeking forgiveness from the power of sin rather than living victorious lives over the ‘death of sin.’  As new creations in Messiah, we are set free from sin and should not keep on sinning (1 John 3:6,9).

“No one who has God as his Father keeps on sinning, because the seed [Holy Spirit] planted by God remains in him. That is, he cannot continue sinning, because he has God as his Father” (1 John 3:9).

“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags …” (Isaiah 64:6).  This verse is quoted to support the ‘sinner’ identity.  Though this verse is true, it is not for saints.  When read in context,  it is about Israel and Jerusalem, not individual people.  However, if one wants to use it for their personal identity, the rest of the verse says, “we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.”

Sins sweeping us away is not the identity of a life that has been redeemed; it is the life of a lawless, wicked sinner.   Our sins should not be ‘sweeping us away’ if we are a new creation.  This is not the description of a saint who has received the righteousness of God from the Messiah of Israel.  This is not the identity of a saint  who has been set apart by God and given a new heart.

“Offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness…. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness….  Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness” (Romans 6:13, 18-19).

Yeshua’s righteousness is now our standard for life and our ‘works’ are not filthy the rags of a sinner trying to overcome or hide their sin by fig leaves.  Our works are now sanctifying works that lead us on the path of righteousness and bring glory to our Father.   We become ‘slaves’ to a righteous way of living that leads to sanctification or holiness, which comes through the Word of Truth (John 17:17).

We are, however, saints who do fall short of God’s glory and sin.  When we ‘miss the mark, we are not lost for all eternity nor do not have to repent from a wicked way of life.   Our only responsibility to to confess the sin that we have been convicted of by the Holy Spirit and God is faithful to cleanse us and purify us from unrighteousness and restore our relationship with Him.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Our identity as saints is foundational to our lifestyle as believers.  As saints,  we receive spiritual blessings and live in God’s household.  As saints, we receive the revelation of mysteries from past ages and generations.   As saints, we will be with Yeshua as our Commander when he returns.  As saints,  we will judge the world with King Messiah.  As saints we have a special place next to the Bridegroom at the wedding feast.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Messiah Yeshua, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Messiah.  For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy (sanctified) and blameless in his sight” (Ephesians 1:3-4).

“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and are of God’s household …” (Ephesians 2:19).

“Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world?” (1 Corinthians 6:2).

“So that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make know what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles …” (Colossians 1:26-27).

“May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy (sanctified) in the presence of our god and Father when our Lord Yeshua comes with all his holy ones (sanctified ones)” (1 Thessalonians 3:13).

“Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them ‘See the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones (sanctified ones)” (Jude 1:14).

These Scriptures are only a glimpse of what is promised the saints of God.  If you are a believer, born again into the Kingdom of God and washed in the blood of the Lamb, you are a saint – sanctified, holy and set apart to bring glory to Yahweh.  Embracing the life of a saint and the sanctifying work of the Word of God makes us more holy, more  separated to Him. The ultimate reward for the righteous acts of the saints is fine linen, bright and clean given to the Bride of Messiah to wear as her wedding dress (Revelation 19:8).

©2012 Tent Stake Ministries

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