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I don’t have the context for what the well-known pastor said, and context matters. Our supporter did not tell me who the preacher was, which is excellent; I don’t want to make it about him but about the idea conveyed. Part of this argument might be semantics, but I do not have the context, so it’s hard to know.
However, she is asking a practical question, which will be my approach to serving our supporting members. We must have a practical understanding of how to live well in God’s world. How are we to think and talk about being a sinner and saint?
I agree with the second point. John said it this way, and as you listen, notice the “we, us, and our” as he talks about the condition of sinners.
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us (1 John 1:8-10).
To say, “I’m a sinner saved by grace,” is a good descriptor. I would say, “I’m a sinner not fully saved,” which speaks to who I am today in God’s world today. When I say “not fully saved,” I’m speaking of our complete salvation as understood in the Ordo Salutis. E.g., glorification is not our practical reality yet, though it will be our assured experience.
“We are not dominated by sin. We are not dominated by righteousness. We are dominated by conflict.” –John McArthur
Paul understood this two-part tension between a sinner and a saint:
The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life (1 Timothy 1:15-16).
Paul also talked about how to live out being a sinner saved by grace practically:
To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:22-24).
We want to own our sins so we can talk about our sins so we can find help for our sins so we can be free from sins. –Rick Thomas
Do you see how acknowledging sin is being honest? Being honest about fallenness should not bind us to what we were before Christ saved us but free us to live out our identity in Christ more practically.
Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).