The Truth About Being A Sinner
re you a living the life of a sinner or a saint? If you are living the life of a sinner, you will be condemned regardless of what you profess to believe.
You can tell by your fruit. Sinners bear the fruit of unrighteousness and await condemnation, while saints bear the fruit of righteousness and await glorification. There is no middle ground. A sinner can be given righteousness, but he must put his faith in Christ, and be willing to stop living as a sinner. In this sense there is a complete difference between the righteous and sinners.
After the book of Acts, the term "sinner" is used 13 times. In 1 Peter 4:17-18 those who do not obey the Gospel - the ungodly and the sinner - are directly contrasted with the righteous. The righteous and sinners are also contrasted in 1 Timothy 1:9, where we read: "The law was not made for the righteous, but for rebels, the ungodly, and the sinful. In the New Testament, God's judgment is still pronounced against the sinner. Jude quotes the prophet Enoch:
The passages in Jude, Timothy and 1 John 2:3-6 make it plain; sinners will be condemned. The law still condemns those who refuse to repent and remain practically sinners.
Are You Condemned?
There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Some have tried to imply that you can live the life of a sinner while in Christ, but this is easily shown to be false by the consideration of what it means to be in Christ. Being in Christ, ie. abiding in him in the vine correlates to obedience, " as is seen in passages such as John 15:1-10 "If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love., just as I obey my Fathers commands and remain in his love." Becoming a Christian should be synonymous with becoming obedient. This should not only be clear, but the implications of the opposing view must inspire evil. Wouldn't the devil himself believe in Jesus if it meant he could escape condemnation while continuing to be the devil?
The Worst Sinner
The primary argument against this position is based on 1 Timothy 1:15-16, though this is easily reconciled with the position I have expressed. The preceding arguments, however, will not submit to the contrary doctrine. Only once is the term sinner used in the context of one who is also a mature believer. Paul himself confesses: "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners-of whom I am the worst". The question is, what is Paul implying? Is he implying that he is at present living the lifestyle of the worst sinner? The context says no. There are many things to consider:
1) The sins Paul stated he was guilty of in context are stated as past sins. " I was once a blasphemer, a persecutor, a violent man ."vs 13. If he was stating that he was presently in lifestyle the worst sinner, he would have said : "even though I am a blasphemer, a persecutor, a violent man." This is obvious. He stated he is the worst of sinners, but the sins that made him that were a part of his past.
2) The reason that Christ saved him, the worst of sinners, was so that "Christ Jesus might show his unlimited patience as an example to those who would believe" vs16. God demonstrated that he could save anyone, no matter how corrupt, The question bearing an obvious answer is what kind of example was Paul, who said " the grace bestowed on me was not in vain" 1 Corinthians 15:52. Was it the example of someone who lived the life of the worst sinner even after he claimed to see the light? Absolutely not. He was such an example that he could say to the Corinthians: "Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ" 1 Cor.11:1. Paul said that the God of peace would be with us if we would put into practice what we saw in him. This would not be true if his lifestyle was that of the worst sinner.
3) In 2 Corinthians 1:12, Paul states the kind of example he was. " Now this is our boast: our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God." I'll spend more time in section 3 speaking of the testimony of Paul's life, so I'll leave it at this: many had questioned Paul's motives and sincerity. He had to defend himself - and justly so, because if he was a Jim Baker, Joseph Smith, or worse, who would have considered him credible? You see, people will often make outrageous statements, but then fail to draw them to there logical conclusion. Why would people want to make the apostle Paul out to be a sinner? Perhaps to ease their conscience. This is an excuse like any other.
4) Paul said that: "We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?". This is what Paul taught, and this is what he lived. Jesus came to save sinners. The word "save" implies spiritual healing; it means to deliver or protect:-heal, save(self)do well, be (make) whole. This is what God did in Paul's life and what he testified to.
5) In Romans 5:8 Paul stated that, " The love of Christ is shown to us in this: that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" . Note that Paul says "while we were", he uses the past tense. In this passage, Paul refers to being a sinner as a part of his hideous past. Is this inconsistent? No. Someone might still call himself an alcoholic, though they haven't actually taken a drink in years. He could also say he's sober or he's dry and not be inconsistent. In the same way, Paul called himself a "Hebrew of Hebrews; in regards to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless" (Philippians 3:9). Here he uses the present tense, but it was well known that he wasn't a practicing Pharisee but an apostle. He wasn't persecuting the church any longer, but was instead now working to build it. He no longer had a legalistic righteousness, but the righteousness of Christ. Nevertheless Paul had done all of those things and thus could claim them as credentials.
Paul was not a practicing Pharisee, nor was he a practicing sinner. Of all the sinners Christ came to save, Paul was the worst. But he was saved, and lived a holy life as an example to the church. People who argue that Paul was positionally righteous but practically a sinner (the worst) will say that Paul's claims to holiness were only positionally, not practically. This is simply not true, and is obvious from the verses such as 2 Corinthians 1:12, 1 Corinthians 11:1 also 1 Thesalonians 2:6-12. As has been stated you should always take the unclear verses of scripture and interpret them in light of the clear verses. As we have seen there are many clear verses which support the assertion that Paul lived a Holy life. It is not hard to understand 1 Timothy 1:15 as being consistent with these claims.
God worked in such a beautiful way that the apostle Paul was a real example to the early church. I find it very disappointing that so many bible teachers would try to hold Paul up as a bad example to the Church. I ask myself how can this be Paul was an example of God's amazing grace working Love in the heart of a believer yet he's constantly used rather misused as a precedent to support the idea that it's normal for a Christian to live as a Great sinner.
There's a parallel in the faith movement they cast Jesus and the apostles as living in great luxury to justify there greedy lifestyle. They know that were told to store up our treasures in Heaven but they ignore it using Jesus and the apostles as an excuse. They say Paul was rich to justify living in luxury. Still others say Paul was living the life of a sinner to help rationalize there sins. This is precisely what was happening in my conversation with Haanagraaff I had quoted Paul saying he was Holy and to escape the implications, Ron said he "claimed to be the chief of sinners." What they've done is ignored the clear passages, and the context for the sake of a preconceived rationalization.
If your finding this hard to swallow I want you to be real honest with God and answer a question? is it because this doesn't make sense, or is it because you don't want to accept the implications.
We were sinners this is a word we need to know "were". we were controlled by the sinful nature Romans 7:5. You were slaves to sin Romans 6: 20. You were dead in your transgressions and sin's Ephesians 2:1. Eph 5:8. Are is another word we need to get to know you were once in darkness now you are children of light in the lord. "You are complete in him," Colossians 2:10. The following quote from Barnes notes on the bible makes the subject plain:
One of the most frequent testimonies used to mend hearts that should be broken and to sear consciences that are dying is the statement that "We're all sinners." You see, a man whose heart is tender he knows that has committed a terrible sin. His heart is grieved, and he makes his confession to his would be discipler. Instead of reassuring him of the greatness of God's mercy calling for repentance, and praying for healing and restoration, his discipler implies that it's no big deal, saying something like, "Oh, we're all just sinners. It's bound to happen."
It's true that some people have a hard time asking for or accepting forgiveness. Judas Iscariot felt so much remorse he killed himself. This is a serious problem, but trying to deaden someone's conscience is not the answer. We have to deal with problems in a biblical manner. Jesus knew that Judas was going to betray him, but he didn't tell Judas not to feel bad because he was "just a sinner." When people counsel someone in this manner, they're not looking for God's honor or the sinner's restoration; they just don't want to see the person feeling bad. Often they're not really confessing their sins, but are looking for a carnal pity party. This is a real problem, and leaving the impression that its not serious, is as harmful as it is wrong. James wrote his letter to encourage the believers - to exhort them and to rebuke them because he wanted to see their lives honor God. There was slander and compromise with the world. He didn't say, "Just remember: we're all sinners, so don't expect too much of yourself or your brothers." Just the opposite, he proclaimed they should "grieve mourn and wail, change [their] laughter to mourning and [their] joy to gloom". In our generation we will still find sinners who feel remorse and will seek council but most are careless and stay in the darkness they need to change their laughter to mourning.
Tickling Itching Ears
This is forever man's tendency but we must stand against it. It is this desire to tickle peoples ears that is at the heart of the one who will not stand up to sin, they might even call it compassion, but even compassion can go awry. Rather then saying, "You're just a sinner - you have to sin," James proclaimed " Wash your hands you sinners and purify your hearts you double minded." James was never one to tickle people's itching ears. He never said that it's acceptable to live the lifestyle of a sinner after you've been saved. Instead, he said, "Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins." We're called to turn sinners from the error of their way, not tell them it's expected that they continue in the error of their way. Some people live as if they had a divine commission to leave people with the impression that even the power of God can't impart holiness. I say wash your hands. Wash them in the blood of the lamb, and purify your hearts.
God has provided everything we need to deal with our sin problem on a practical level, as will as dealing with our need on a positional level. To do otherwise would be to remove some symptoms but leave the disease. Jesus shed his blood on the cross to atone for our sins and thereby justify us. Yes, this is all true - but he also redeemed us. "He himself bore our sins on the cross so that we might die to sins and live to righteousness" 1 Peter 2:24. God has imparted his very life in us; don't work against him after he's done so much for you!