Saint or sinner?

Do you identify yourself as a “saint” or a “sinner?” And which identifier does God view you as?

Well, that depends on whether you’re saved or lost. (Yes everyone sins, regardless if they’re saved or lost, but that’s not the issue we’re discussing).

Is it good to identify God’s children with the same label as Satan’s children?

So here’s a few verses that speak to each identity.

Saints:

Psalm 30.4

“Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.”

Ephesians 2.19

“Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;”

Philippians 1.1

“Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:”

Now sinners:

Psalm 26.9

“Gather not my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloody men:”

Luke 6.32

“For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.”

1 Timothy 1.9

“Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,”

One might be asking at this point, “didn’t Paul in one instance describe himself as the chief of sinners in 1 Timothy 1.15?” Yes he did. But if you look at the surrounding-verses for context, you’ll see that he spoke in past-tense in those related-verses, and he referenced his life prior to his being born again while leading up to that statement. And I might also add, that we don’t define a doctrine by a minority of text, but by the whole of scripture. So here’s the verses surrounding 1 Timothy 1.15 for your consideration:

12. “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;

1313. Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

1414. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

1515. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

1616. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”

I believe that it’s also significant to notice that in Paul’s famous bemoaning about the sin that dwelled in him in Romans 7.15-25, he never once referred to himself as a “sinner.”

Consider this too…how strange would it have sounded if Paul had written something like this?… “To the sinners who are at Ephesus…”

You’ve also no doubt often heard the phrase… “I’m just a sinner saved by grace.” But is that really true? Isn’t it more biblically accurate to say?… “I was a sinner, (Satan’s child) who was saved by grace through faith, and now I’m a saint, (God’s child).”

So my conclusion is this:

Foremost, I don’t have all of the answers my friend, and I may very well be wrong in my analysis. You have to examine scripture for yourself to prove what is the truth. Because each and every one of us are individually-responsible to prayerfully search out the truth in scripture for ourselves. 

But my analysis of scripture indicates (to me), that saved people are biblically identified as saints, while lost people are biblically identified as sinners.

All glory to the risen Lord Jesus Christ.

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