“Only a sinner, saved by grace….” Have you sung that chorus? I’ve probably sung it dozens of times, and rejoice that I am a sinner saved by grace. But wait – “only” a sinner…? No!
Several weeks ago, my pastor started a series on “Who Am I – in Christ.” Last Sunday’s sermon was – Because I am in Christ, I am a saint! I doubt most of us think of ourselves as saints – I know I don’t! But according to Scripture, that is who and what we are.
God has sanctified us, through His Son, to be saints. Colossians 1:12 (NIV) – “giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints…”
And 1 Corinthians 1:2 (NIV – “…to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…”
As you read through Paul’s epistles, almost every one is addressed “to the saints at….” Never once did Paul send a letter to “the sinners saved by grace.” It is the calling of every believer to be a saint. The most common terms used in the New Testament to refer to Christians are brothers (and sisters), saints, believers, then Christians. “Saints” is not some elite club of those who have earned the title. It is a huge, growing, universal family.
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
In Christ I am – you ARE – a saint. What we do does not determine who we are – who we are is what determines what we do (Neil T. Anderson). Yes, we still sin. And yes, we are sinners saved by grace. But in Christ, and in God’s sight, we are saints. Let’s live like what we are – saints in Christ!
With thanks to Pastor Dave Ridder, Bayside Chapel
Ruth Schmidt is on full-time staff at America’s Keswick, and grateful to be a daughter of the King.