You’re Not A SinnerFeb 24, 2017
You’re not a sinner.
Even if that statement bothers you, offends you, or even if you think I’m dead wrong…. I’d like for you to do me a favor….give me the benefit of the doubt…. I promise to try to clear up the confusion surrounding this topic… keep reading.
For every good thing the Father has to say about you, there is a lie that the enemy would love for you to believe instead. The thing at stake here is your IDENTITY. Will you accept who God says you are, or will you allow the accuser of the brethren (satan) to fool you into thinking you’re who he wants you to be.
A sin problem is really an identity problem.
Even in the very beginning of mankind, when Eve ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, the serpent (satan) told Eve that if she would eat of that fruit, she would be like God.
The problem with that is that Eve forgot the most foundational truth about her identity. It may well have been the only truth she knew about herself at the time, but she forgot, and chose to sin. The reason she sinned is she forgot that she was already like God.
She was made in His very likeness and image. She was already like God, her Creator.
Religion says, “If you live by the rules, THEN you’ll be righteous.”
The Gospel says, “You are clothed in the righteousness of Christ.”
What Jesus did for you was make you a new creation. He set you apart and made you holy. He clothed you in His own righteousness.
You can’t get any more righteous. You are set apart, holy and righteous the day you got saved. Not because of you. Because of Jesus.
2 Corinthians 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Romans 3:21-22 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.
Here is some problematic thinking that I see a lot of:
“Identity is the sum total of all our actions. In other words you can take all the things a person may do on a regular basis, and keep track of them. Some things may rank over here as SUPER bad, but over here they did very good things, and that kind of made up for some of that stupid stuff. Somewhere here in the middle, that’s who they really are. Their identity depends on what they DO.”
Here’s why I find that a problem:
You’ll never be able to bear TRUE, lasting, consistent fruits of righteousness unless you FIRST believe that as a Christian, you have already been made righteous. (read Romans 3:21-22 again… “to all who believe”….)
In regards to teaching righteousness, I normally see one of two tactics in the church.
I see these, over and over again:
(A) an over emphasis on works, as if we are made righteous by doing all the right things, and I see a lot of
(B) condemnation… this normally looks like a person shaming another person on all the bad things that they’ve been doing, with a heavy emphasis on the importance to stop sinning.
BOTH OF WHICH ARE WRONG, AND WILL NOT PRODUCE TRUE FRUITS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. THIS WILL EITHER LEAD TO SHAME AND CONDEMNATION, OR BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION.
If leaders really want to help set people free from bad (sinful) behavior, it is counterproductive to identify that person by their bad (unrighteous) behavior.
Proverbs 23:7 For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.
A kid who is acting awful in the store, whining and being very annoying. The exasperated mother exclaims to him, “You are such a brat!”
The wife who desperately wants some help with chores and household responsibilities, and so in frustration she yells at her husband, “You are so LAZY!”
Romans 4:16-18 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not. Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
This is where the biggest frustration comes in for most people who feel trapped in a cycle of sin. They believe they are saved (most of the time), they love Jesus, go to church, read their Bible, but they have undesirable behaviors (sin), that they wish to be rid of.
An example of this could be someone addicted to porn, or maybe what they are struggling with is something like lust, rejection or jealousy. Well in many case if these types of problems were brought to a pastor or church leader, the person struggling would either be led to get saved all over again “rededicating their life to Christ”, shamed for struggling in the first place, or in some cases they are just told that sin is just a part of the struggle of the Christian life, and that you’ll never quite over come it.
NONE OF THOSE ARE THE TRUTH.
Romans 6:14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
If sin is no longer your master, why should Christians go around associating themselves with it by calling themselves sinners? The Bible doesn’t call us sinners, it calls us righteous.
Godly correction or accountability should be us telling each other, “Hey, that’s not who you really are. I see you doing this, but I think you’re really just scared. You’re letting fear make you forget that you’re a daughter of the Most High God. Don’t forget who you are.”
Here’s something I’ve run into over and over again. I start preaching freedom FROM sin, , and people get these bewildered looks on their faces. Their gaze becomes shifty, and they look like I’ve said something heretical. The first thing out of their mouth is 1 John 1:8.
1 John 1:8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
It’s like their way of saying… “No, silly Amber. Nobody is without sin, and if you claim not to sin then you are deceived. YIKES! What a bold claim to make, based off one sentence in the Bible, pulled out of the chapter!
To that person I would say this: KEEP READING. FOR THE LOVE OF HUMANITY, KEEP READING.
I will do us all a favor by reading that passage in context, because it is SOOO self explanatory, and it doesn’t mean at all what those people thought it meant.
1 John 1:8-10 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
You heard me…. keep reading. The original letters and scriptures did not have chapter breaks, the little verses numbered, or chapter titles. This was a letter that continued, even though when we read it in the English translations it’s tempting to stop here like the matter is settled, because of the chapter break. It’s really not, because he keeps talking in 1 John 2, because in this letter there is no chapter break.
1 John 2 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
So the whole purpose of the letter is was so that they would NOT sin. You see, IF anyone sins, they have an advocate with the Father, which is Jesus Christ, who has already been the atoning sacrifice for not just our sins, but for the sins of the whole world.
I want you to hang on my every word here. This is so important. Don’t let anything distract you from the truth that God wants to use to show you your identity and freedom today.
2 Corinthians 5:14-21 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
I want to tell you a little story. It’s an analogy, and I didn’t come up with it myself. Originally I heard Jonathan Welton share this analogy, and I felt it so accurately represented this very issue.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Before you got saved, you were like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. The story goes that Dr Jekyll has these desires to do evil things, so he creates a potion that transforms him into a different looking person so that he can go out and do evil deeds, and then change back into his real self, Dr Jekyll.
Many Christians would even be willing to say they can relate with that story in their own lives, and unfortunately there are many Christians that fully believe this is actually a very true depiction of life. Here’s a better analogy to describe to you what actually happens once you become saved:
One day, Jesus comes and knocks on the door of Dr Jekyll’s (that’s you) house. Dr Jekyll answers the door. “Hi Jesus. Nice to meet you. Please come in.We’d love to have you come in here and live with us.”
Jesus says, “Hang on Dr. Jekyll, I’ve got to take care of something first.”
Jesus snatches Mr Hyde up, takes him down the road and to a hill called Mount Calvary, and Mr Hyde is crucified with Christ.
Dead. Gone. Finished. The only person left alive is Dr Jekyll and Jesus.
BUT…. Dr Jekyll’s home is still full of Mr Hyde’s stuff.
Mr Hyde’s old Xbox games still line the shelves of the entertainment center, and so do his movies. The mp3 player still has Mr Hyde’s playlists, and all over the walls are Mr Hyde’s art.
Dr Jekyll begins to clear Mr. Hyde’s stuff out. The first day, Dr Jekyll calls one of those waste management companies to bring out a huge dumpster, and Dr Jekyll fills it with round after round of Mr. Hyde’s stuff.
Dr Jekyll has the dumpster hauled off, relieved that all that stuff is finally gone. He starts hanging his own beautiful art on the walls, and buying colorful new curtains for the walls. One day Dr Jekyll heads to the attic to find a ladder, and he finds boxes of Mr Hyde’s stuff. Mr Hyde has been dead and gone for months now, but this box of his junk was in the attic all along. Dr Jekyll gladly loads the boxes in the back of his pickup truck to drive it to the dump.
One day Dr Jekyll is vacuuming and Jesus whispers, “Look under the bed.”
Dr Jekyll looks under the bed to find some old magazines of Mr Hyde’s left there. Dr Jekyll gets a trash bag and throws them away.
You see, Jesus doesn’t come in and sovereignly make all of Mr Hyde’s stuff disappear. That would be a lot easier, but what He does do is partner with you.
He gives you the mind of Christ.
He gives you a heart of flesh to replace the heart of stone.
He says to you that your own righteousness was like filthy rags, which is why He wants to clothe you in His, so that you may reign in life (Romans 5:17)
You had a sin nature (Mr Hyde), but now you’re a partaker of the divine nature.
You are empowered to clean Mr Hyde’s stuff out of your own house.
Just because you find some of Mr Hyde’s shirts in the closet doesn’t mean he’s still living there or that he has come back. Mr Hyde is gone and you need to remind yourself of that.
You are not a sinner, just barely saved by grace.
You are a son. You are a daughter.
You are a king. You are a queen. You are a priest.
You are righteous co-heirs who rule and reign here with Christ.
You have power over sin, and you have self control, which is a fruit of the Spirit.
I believe in you.
Jesus believes in you.
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