Saint or Sinner

Many Christians, if they are asked, “Are you a saint or sinner?” will respond that they are a sinner. This response shows that the Body of Messiah does not really understand their redemption (salvation).  It is very important if you are a believer in Yeshua that you know and understand your identity, your rewards, your blessings and how to stand your ground against the schemes and ways of the enemy.

Sin is defined in Scripture as breaking God’s commands.  “Everyone who sins breaks the law (God’s commands); in fact sin is lawlessness. A sinner is a lawless person who does what is right in their own eyes.   A sinner is a person who has not repented from transgressing the commands of God.  They are not born again.  They have not been redeemed from their empty way of life.  They have no future.  They have no hope in this world.  They are rebellious, disobedient and reject the right way of living (righteousness).     They have unbelieving hearts and turn away from the living God.  Their works are of the devil.

“Even on their beds they plot evil; they commit themselves to a sinful course and do not reject what is wrong” (Psalm 36:4)

“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 YHVH 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).

To reiterate, a sinner is someone who has not repented from transgressing the commands of God.  A sinner is not born again.  A sinner is not redeemed from their empty way of life.  A sinner willfully chooses a life of sin.

A sinner who repents is changed from a sinner into a new creation.  He is reconciled to God.  He is given a new life through Messiah.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Messiah, he is a new creation; the old things passed away, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

“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).

“We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Messiah was raised from the dead, through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (Romans 6:4).

This new life should be very different from the old.  The darkness of sin is removed.   Addictions like drugs, alcohol and sexual immorality are almost immediately removed from this new life.  Anger, jealousy, and coveting also are removed.  A person’s spiritual eyes are opened to the difference between the ways of the world and the ways of God.  They begin to see the world in which they live is in conflict with the Kingdom of God.  This is the cleansing of sin from the sinner’s life through the born again and immersion experience.  Once known sin is removed, we begin to become holy, sanctified to the Lord.

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).

According to the dictionary, the word ‘holy’ means ‘set apart to the service or worship of God’.  To be ‘holy to the LORD’ means that a born again believer is set apart for the purpose of serving and worshipping YHVH, Elohim, the Creator only.

The word ‘saint’ comes from the Greek word for holy or  hagios. This means that a saint is set apart to serve and worship God.   As the Spirit of God continues to move and work in our lives, we are convicted of sin, challenged to repent, and changed more profoundly into the image of Messiah.  We learn what pleases God and what does not.  We remove those things that do not please him and incorporate into our lives those things that do.  This is the process of being set apart to serve and worship God in the way He desires.  This is called sanctification.  Those who are in this process are called saints.

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.  Let’s look at a few verses in Scripture that speak of the saints.

“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 YHVH, 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).

According to the above verses saints are majestic.  They fear God, greet one another, are beloved of God, are faithful to God, pray to God, and are capable of reading letters from the Spirit of God sent to them from Paul.  This evidence shows that saints are not dead, but living, breathing human beings.  They begin their born again lives as saints and they continue as saints even after they ‘fall asleep.’

Some people believe they are not good enough to be saints which suggests again they have no idea the basis for sainthood.  They still consider themselves sinners.  This means that they still view their works – good or bad –  as part of their identity when salvation is by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9).  This means they spend their lives always seeking forgiveness from sin rather than living victorious lives over sin.

The verse often quoted to support their sinfulness is Isaiah 64:6, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags ….” This verse is truth, but not for saints.  When read in context, it takes on a different meaning especially because it is about Israel and Jerusalem, not individual people.  However, if one wants to use it as such, the rest of the verse states, “we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.”

This is not the identity of someone whose life has been redeemed and has become a new creation in Messiah.  This is not the destiny of someone who has been been changed from a sinner into a saint and given eternal life.  This is not the description of someone who has received the righteousness of God from the Messiah of Israel.  This is not the description of one who has been given a new heart of flesh.

““Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather 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.  I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations.  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).

This Scripture is very clear that we, as new creations, are set free from sin and do not keep on sinning (1 John 3:6,9).  Yeshua’s righteousness is now ours and our works are not filthy rags, but works that bring glory to God.  Because of Yeshua, we become slaves to a righteous way of living that leads to holiness.   Holiness is the same as the process of sanctification and comes through the Word of Truth (John 17:17).    While in the process of sanctification, we are saints who fall short of God’s glory, but we are not sinners lost for all eternity.  When we do sin, we do not have to repent from a sinful way of life, but confess the sin that we have been convicted of by the Holy Spirit and have our relationship with God restored.

“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.  As saints we live in God’s household.  As saints we will judge the world.  As saints we receive the revelation of mysteries from past ages and generations.   As saints we will be with Yeshua when he returns.  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).

“Therefore since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Yeshua, the author and finisher of faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

These Scriptures are only a minute portion of what is given to, expected from, and will happen to the saints. If we are believers, born again and washed in the blood of the Lamb, we are saints, sanctified, holy and set apart to bring glory to the Almighty God, YHVH. We must walk a life of sanctification allowing the Word of God to make us more holy, separated to Him. The ultimate reward for the righteous acts of the saints will be fine linen, bright and clean given only to the Bride of Messiah at the wedding of the Lamb (Revelation 19:8).

©2012 Tent Stake Ministries

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