Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. James 1:21
My husband and I had an interesting conversation on the way home from church last Sunday. Someone made a statement in his Sunday school class that some of the men found a little unsettling. While discussing the struggle we all have with sin, the familiar comment surfaced that we’re all sinners who fall short of glory.
But one gentleman in the room interrupted to make a very different statement. He insisted he wouldn’t take that label. He wouldn’t call himself a sinner. He’s a redeemed child of God.
Most of the men in the room didn’t quite know how to respond to that. After all, everyone sins. Only Jesus lived a perfect life.
Well, that’s absolutely true. But once we’re saved, what does still calling ourselves sinners say about what Christ accomplished for us on the cross?
Bear with me for a moment here. Let’s pause to look at it from heaven’s perspective.
Every one of us came into this world bound by sin. Ephesians 2:1-3 describes it perfectly.
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
Our sin nature, bound to the prince of this world, made us children of wrath. None of us could do anything to save ourselves.
Then Jesus became a sacrificial Lamb to do something impossible.
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21
Do you see it, dear one? Jesus made an exchange. In an astounding act of mercy and grace, Jesus became sin so that we could become righteousness. He took our old nature—our sin nature that positioned us for wrath—and exchanged it for His. Now we can celebrate the promise of 2 Corinthians 5:17.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
I’ll be honest. For years, my mind translated that scripture something like, “if anyone is in Christ, one day if they work hard enough, they’ll eventually become a new creation.” Can you relate? But I need you to focus in on the tense of that scripture. It says that if I am in Christ, I am a new creation. Present tense. The old me has already passed away. Let’s look at a few more scriptures that confirm that truth.
We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. Romans 6:6
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20
And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:24
Based on these scriptures, beloved, if you are in Christ, should you still call yourself a sinner? God’s Word answers that with a resounding “No.” Christ crucified your sin nature on that cross. Then He gave you His. Now you participate in Christ’s nature.
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 2 Peter 1:3-4
Jesus conquered your flesh and gave you His divine nature in its place. To continue to call yourself a sinner once you’ve been redeemed—though appearing like humility that recognizes your need of Jesus—actually denies what He accomplished for you on that cross. And that unbelief cuts you off from the power He poured out to accomplish it.
It’s time we start believing what God says about us. Faith alone ushers us into His grace. Faith alone transforms us from the inside out. As we receive the implanted word into our hearts by faith, the Spirit within us will water that seed, causing it to sprout fruit. Our faith allows the Spirit to manifest the word we have believed and empower us to live it out.
When something comes against me and I’m tempted to respond from my flesh, I’m learning to tell myself, “That’s not who I am anymore. Jesus crucified my flesh, and I refuse to give it life. Jesus has made me all that He is. I am love. I am purity. I am forgiveness. I am grace. Lord, empower me to live from the nature you have given me.”
That, dear one, is how I believe we live out Ephesians 4:22-24, which challenges us,
…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.
Renew your mind with the truth of God’s Word, dear one. Your sin nature has passed away. You have been given a new self, recreated in God’s likeness in true righteousness and holiness. Your enemy wants to convince you you’re still just a sinner, giving you the excuse to justify your sin so he can keep you bound by it. Don’t let him win, beloved. He has kept Christ’s church in bondage for far too long with his deceptions. Only the truth will set you free and empower you to live the life God intends.
Put off the sinner, dear one. It’s time we put on the righteousness Christ bought with His blood.