Oct 262017
 

Are You a Sinner?

“And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city. And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.’ And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, ‘This man is blaspheming.’ But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, ‘Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Rise and walk”? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’—he then said to the paralytic—‘Rise, pick up your bed and go home.’ And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.” (Matthew 9:1-8)

A couple years ago, I was struck by the comment of a pastor, who said most people today are not concerned about sin. Assuming the validity of his comment, this lack of concern has serious implications for what motivates people today to want to be Christians and join or remain in churches. It also could influence the content of worship and preaching. For example, if church growth and member retention are of paramount importance, will preachers deemphasize sin and God’s wrath to accommodate the interests and perceived needs of their members?

If I could ask a few follow up questions to this pastor, it would be these: Why would anyone in a post-Christendom America want to be a Christian, if not to rid oneself of sin and its temporal and eternal consequences? If one assumes that the Christian pursuit is an eternal relationship with Christ, can the foundation of such a relationship be built on anything other than Christ crucified for the forgiveness of our sins? If the church does away with sin, does it also do away with the Gospel as a consequence?

“Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.”

When Jesus declares your sins forgiven, He says: “Take heart”. The KJV reads “be of good cheer”. The NASB reads “Take courage”. It is as though Jesus were to say: “I have cast all your sins into the depths of the sea (Mic 7:19). Since I no longer remember them, let them no longer burden your conscience.”

The forgiveness of sins consists of three indispensable parts: (1) sin; (2) forgiveness; and (3) proclamation.

(1) Sin.

There can be no forgiveness, no grace, and consequently no salvation – without sin. “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.” (Matt 9:12) Without the knowledge of our sin, we are like the mass of mankind in the days of Noah: “For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark” (Matt 24:38).

Christians may read about humility in the Bible, may affirm its virtue, and may even attempt to become humble, but true humility is the work of God, worked in us through His word of Law which condemns our holiness, works, disobedience and arrogance as sin. “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6; 1 Pet 5:5)

Neither will the ignorance of sin excuse us before God: “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31)

Therefore, we must be and always remain sinners and fear the wrath of God on account of sin for as long as we live. We must not consider ourselves guilty of little infractions, but in truth of grievous, damnable sin. Because it is to real sinners that God pours out His grace, as Jesus said of the woman who anointed His feet: “Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” (Luke 7:47)

(2) Forgiveness.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Ps 111:10)

After our sin is made known to us and justly condemns us, we will desire Christ and His medicine. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has come from heaven and has been made man, has suffered and died for our sins. This is the cause, the means, and the treasure, through which we obtain the forgiveness of sin and for the sake of which the grace of God is bestowed upon us; for there is no other means of reconciliation between God and mankind.

All of us are born in sin and are the enemies of God. We have deserved eternal wrath and punishment. All that we are and have is condemned, and there is no help or way out of it. For sin is so grave that no man can quench it or appease it. Therefore, another Man must take our place, namely Jesus Christ, God and man, who through his suffering and death made satisfaction for our sins and paid for them. This is the price that was set and expended for us, by which sin has been quenched and the wrath of God appeased, the Father has been reconciled and made our friend.

Therefore, if we seize Christ as the One who has become our substitute, who has taken our sin upon himself, and who has given himself with all His righteousness for us, then no sin can harm us. Take heart: We are sinners, but our Christ is holy and is Lord over sin, death, Satan and hell, so that no sin can harm us, because in Christ “we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Col 1:14)

(3) Proclamation.

“And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?” (Rom 10:14b)

There is only one Gospel – Christ crucified for the forgiveness of our sins, one Christian faith, and one Way to reconciliation between God and mankind, which we know because God has given us His God-breathed Scriptures (2 Tim 3:16). The proclamation of this Gospel must remain the principle mission of the Church and should be the form, rule and standard of all Christian preaching.

The reason for this is that God has ordained no other way to save sinful human beings other than through the proclamation of God’s two words of Law and Gospel. This proclamation has the power to apply the saving work of Christ’s atonement to the hearer by the power of the Holy Spirit who comes to us in the Word of God and gives us repentance and faith.

If people, including Christians, are no longer concerned about their sin, then the Gospel will no longer comfort or benefit them. In such a case, the answer is not less preaching of sin, by which the Gospel will be lost along with the sinners and the church, but churches and preachers should stand firm in the midst of secularism, humanism and post-Christendom and preach God’s words of Law and Gospel without compromise until the Lord returns. Amen.

“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.’ ” (1 Cor 1:18-19) Amen.

  89 Responses to “Jean’s Gospel: Are You A Sinner?”

  1. Thanks Jean. I’ve always struggled reconciling God’s wrath and being His enemy with the thought that He’s our Heavenly Father and what kind of father would consider his child an enemy, no matter what his kid did to him. I go back and forth….

  2. Hi Joel,

    I have really good news to share:

    “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.”

    We are not God’s enemies. Jesus reconciled us to God by His atoning death. Solely because of the cross, Jesus, through Paul, implores all of us: “Be reconciled to God.”

  3. “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.”

    God delivers His grace, without price (I.e., without works), for the sake of the One who paid the price. Come to the banquet, for the Word, Baptism, and the Eucharist. Eat what is good!

  4. I appreciate the concept of Law and Gospel because it doesn’t take to long for the conscious to start condemning us of one thing or another (which is good). I find it helpful lately to view God as Father because as family we are free to work out our salvation knowing He won’t give us the boot. Freedom and peace as saints / sinners.

  5. Absolutely Joel. Father is exactly how he wants His children in Christ to know him. He will never give us the boot. I can assure you that if He did, I would be the first one booted out.

  6. such an unpopular topic… what is worse than being a judgmental person? who are you to judge me? yada yada yada
    truth be told, tho, until one is saved, one’s sins only confirm that one is a sinner and if we have convinced ourselves that our sins are just a part of being human and that’s the way life is, why would we ever face the need for redemption? from what? by whom? and so Jesus becomes an example of a good man and a good example to aspire to be like… but he was a fool to stand his ground before the religious and be martyred…
    doesn’t look too good for the future of the human race for those of us who’ve been convinced of sin, righteousness and judgment – convinced of a holy God who is a consuming fire… convinced that that God created the universe (and us) and holds it together
    my take away from this lesson is to think on what will happen to a world that doesn’t think sin is a big deal … in the big picture

  7. Hi Em. When Jesus spoke with sinners did he approach them angry or with compassion?

    If Jesus and the Father are One, what does that tell us?

    Just pondering out loud…

  8. Hi Joel,

    That is a good ponder. One thing we should bear in mind when reading those texts is whether or not the “sinners” acknowledged their sin and lamented of it.

    There’s a good illustration in John Chapter Eight. Jesus had been preaching and it is written in verse thirty that “As he was saying these things, many believed in him.”

    The problem, however, is that they did not know their sin; Jesus detected an imperfection in their faith. So, he tries to ease it out of them. First he says that he can set them free. Free of what? Then he says he who practices sin is a slave to sin. What? We are slaves of no one. Finally, Jesus says to those that believed in him (without understanding themselves nor His vocation as Savior): “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires.”

    The matter is quite different when Jesus met the disabled, tax collectors, and other outcasts. These folks, who were excluded from the religious life of their community, knew they were sinners and by God’s grace believed that in Jesus they had found a gracious Savior and God’s Son.

    Does this make sense?

  9. Joel, it seems to me that Jesus showed the compassion (and, perhaps, the patience) that God, all 3 Persons, has for our condition – our plight…
    I think – dunno – that it is when we see that aspect of His character is when we “fall in love” with God
    He has given us such potential! An eternity in The family of the Redeemed, walking as a child of His forever? Gotta say it … WOW. ⚡

  10. To distill down to one word what our Lord showed no patience with, as I see it: pride! He hates it, He’s said so clearly…
    It manifests itself in arrogance and self righteous justification and can put a wall of the worst manifestation of our old sin nature between us and our Creator… until that final day when we stand before God and attempt to justify our work… or so it seems to me

  11. I hate to rain on anyone’s parade, but… we need to differentiate who the “sinners” are that Jesus was dealing with and who we are — sinners, but of a different sort.

    There is no guess work here – if you want to see how Jesus speaks to us, the church, the saved sinners read Revelation 2 & 3. Jesus does not mince his words – shape up and repent or…

  12. Jean yes that makes sense. These folks He is speaking to in John eight should’ve known better it seems. He was very patient with them despite their stubbornness. When I say sinners I guess I am referring to the outsiders you reference and the rest of the world who aren’t acquainted with God’s Word. Jesus said “forgive them Father, for they know not what they are doing,”….. “just wait you sinners you’re going to get yours”

  13. Oops

    I meant to put a ….NOT “just wait you sinners you’re going to get yours”

  14. MLD, I’ve been thinking that there is a need today for the churches to spend some time in those chapters of Revelation… but I think they are directed at the dynamics of the churches, not so much at the individual child of God
    Speaking from under my evangelical umbrella

  15. “Jesus said “forgive them Father, for they know not what they are doing,”….. “just wait you sinners you’re going to get yours” ”

    God did grant Jesus’ prayer, in that he accepted Jesus’ atoning sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. Now the only remaining question is: Do I (and you) believe that Jesus died for my (and your) own sins (the Righteous for the unrighteous) and that by believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, I (and you) may have eternal life in His name? Not that we deserve it, but that it is God’s will to save us this way.

  16. but I think they are directed at the dynamics of the churches,
    Ahh – did you find a loophole?
    This is what we see in too many churches. As the individual leaves church they say, I hope the church fixes those “shortcomings”

  17. “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”

    MLD this sounds like a loving Father / God. If you love God and recognize your own shortcoming repentance comes naturally.

    Now if I heard “shape up and repent or…”my rebellious side might just do it to spite him. 😉

  18. Just a couple of Jesus statements to the Christians in His church. I say these without comment – I just want people to understand that Jesus speaks seriously to his church. T

    If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.

    Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth.

    If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.

    So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.

  19. MLD, point taken… it is people who govern church bodies… that said, there is a point at which one must leave, but I hope it would be after a time of effort to effect that repentance within said body of processed Believers… but as Michael might say, applications may vary… 😊

  20. Jean yes of course. I’m just pondering these things in light of God as a loving Father vs Judge.

  21. “processed?” I typed “professed”. . .. but thinking on it, I kind of like processed, too 😀

  22. Sinner is not our identity in Christ it is our identity apart from him. In Christ we are saints. I do not make a big war out of this point but pastorally those who self identify as sinners tend to be living beneath their inheritance in Christ.

    “Just a sinner saved by grace,” sounds humble but often it is self-diminishing in an unnecessary way. We are more than conquerors through him who loved us. We are identified by and with our savior not by and with our sin.

    I am not provoking a fight on the matter just shading the conversation to recognize what has been accomplished and what we have become.

  23. Babs, as you may know we Lutherans mess around a lot with that dual thingy – that we are simultaneously justified and sinner – that we look to the proper distinction between the law and the gospel – we see that we vacillate between being theologians of glory and of the cross. We move along and work within the 2 kingdom and we recognize the two natures in Christ. So we feel strongly both ways. 🙂

  24. BD,

    Your concern is gratefully noted.

    The Lutheran identity is: “Simul justus et peccator”, meaning that a Christian is at the same time both righteous and a sinner. Human beings are justified by grace alone, through faith alone, but at the same time they will always remain sinners.

    The key thing for Lutherans is that our righteousness is extra nos (alien or external) and is actually Christ. Outside of Christ, or innate, we are wholly sinner and unrighteous. This is why we add the “alone” to grace and faith.

    It also means we trust solely in the promises of Christ in the Gospel, and not one bit on our own feelings or works.

    But, on the other hand, this Gospel sets us free to love God and our neighbors. However, we look only to Christ and not our potential.

  25. It is so much easier to conceptualize being born again:
    Dying flesh (the old man), eternal (probably) soul, and then the Spirit born and eternally saved soul with spirit life in Christ – New creation
    Then those who fall away and return to living independent of God are well explained in the seed parables…
    But this view (my choice) does carry the danger of thinking that one can say they’ve accepted Redemption and then go on their merry way, thinking that they’ve got a fire insurance policy in their pocket…… so…

  26. Great points thank you BD. It’s easy to see ourselves as sinners… harder to see ourselves as “more than conquerors” in Christ. But this is the new reality. And the more we see ourselves as His children rather than criminals he will let off the hook in His Courtroom the healthier our relationship with Him will be, IMHO.

  27. My question would be – if we are saints, more than conquerors, then why are we (well I guess I can speak only for myself) pierced when we hear the law? Why as Christians are we called to continual repentance (at least Lutherans are.)?

  28. MLD,

    Clearly identify Law as a Lutheran before I respond if you will.

  29. any command of God
    We distinguish between God’s 2 words – those he commands us to do (which are never done) and his promises – which are always done for us by him.

    But I will be a bit more concrete – we can begin with the 10 commandments.

  30. Law in scripture itself seems to have a concrete referent:

    The Law of Moses
    Codified by the 10 Commandments
    Summarized by the Greatest Commandment(s)

    Do you consider the apostolic writings to be law in their moral instruction?

  31. Also MLD,

    Best books on Luther and the Reformation at this 500th year ?

  32. “Do you consider the apostolic writings to be law in their moral instruction?”
    yes
    Much of it we would cover under the 3rd use of the law.

    Folks will find this hard to believe but I am not a bif Luther guy as much as I am a Lutheran. I don’t read much Luther – I read mostly those who have worked on Luther – but more heavily to the Confessions.

  33. MLD thinks that some of us believe that, because, in Christ Jesus we have forgiveness, some of us think we no longer sin of need to confess same? That’s not true of anyone I know…

    Hate to interject a comment on the midst of a discussion between those qualified to teach, but…

  34. Em, that is not the discussion.
    What is being challenged is if we are to look at ourselves not as sinners and only as saints who are more than conquerors – then does the law have any claim on us? If no, then why do we feel the power of the law – why do we feel guilt?
    That is the conversation.

    Lutherans answer “simul justus et peccator” (at the same time saint and sinner). How would you answer?

  35. Babs – I do like this one and it does represent my “Luther” reading.
    https://www.amazon.com/Genius-Luthers-Theology-Wittenberg-Contemporary/dp/080103180X

    2 giant scholars

  36. Of course I am a sinner.

    When I go up for confession, Father G. asks “Xenia, do you consider yourself a sinner?”

    I had better answer “yes.”

    He also asks if I have forgiven everyone.

    Then we get down to specifics.

  37. Xenia – wretched woman that you are – 🙂
    Hey, Sunday is Reformation Sunday – is your church going to party like it’s 1517?

  38. No, MLD, we shall not even mention it!

  39. #34 – am I a sinner? MLD asked me…
    Until the day I die I am subject to the flesh … I am redeemed and looking forward to that day (well not every waking moment) …
    But for now, as I live on this present earth, this blessed treasure of redemption is in an “earthen vessel”
    if I’d claim that I do not commit sins, that I’m not accountable for them, I lie to myself and to God – yet, ” if we confess our sins, He (God) is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” and that is part of a Christian’s daily walk

    we ARE “more than conquerors through Christ Who loves us so…” as the song says. ..

    If I’m still not zeroing in on your targeted question, I apologize

  40. Em, it’s my thing. Baba said we were not to identify ourselves as sinners. We were to be saints and more than conquerors. Some agreed with him – I took issue.

  41. I think there’s a difference between “not identifying as” and “denying we are” sinners.

  42. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

    Now I sure don’t feel like a new creation most days. But Paul says the new is here. So who am I to argue?

  43. Joel, what is the old that is gone? Sin, your sin nature?
    What is the new in you view? If it is so new, why does it also sin?

    The Simul is the only identification that makes sense.

  44. One thing to always keep in mind – IMHO – what we feel can be very deceiving… both in the realm of the spiritual and in the natural, the earthly experiences of life – not saying that if the stove feels hot, you should leave your hand on it

    But it is our mind we’re instructed to renew and IMX that helps with my deceptive heart also…

    I am such a debtor to the PhxP and peeps for keeping my mind on eternal – the real things of this journey…

    pardon the thread interruption … again. 😲

  45. It does make sense MLD. I think maybe the issue is we get so bogged down with the sinner part that we fail to remember who we are in Christ. There is hope. Our Heavenly Father is approachable and we don’t have to fear Him. That’s all.

    Em yes agreed good point. Emotions deceive (that’s why I take meds 😉 ) Btw my daughters name is Em. I think it’s great name. 🙂

  46. I am having trouble understanding why the Lutes among us don’t see the duality that lives in the Redeemed…
    “For neither circumcision counts for anything, not uncircumcision, but a new creation…” from Galatians 6
    “…Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come….” from 2Corinthians 5
    We were schizophrenic before they had a name for it… LOL

  47. “I am having trouble understanding why the Lutes among us don’t see the duality that lives in the Redeemed…”

    We don’t have any problem whatsoever understanding that we are both sinner and saint. However, our sainthood is by faith, by the forensic justification of God for Christ’s sake. Our only boast is in Christ. We understand that nothing good dwells in our members. Who will deliver us? Christ!

    This doesn’t make us sob around, or become depressed. We rejoice in Christ. In Christ we have peace and rest. Is that so terrible?

  48. Hey, it’s Reformation Sunday this week. Luther posted the 95 Theses. What were they? How many here have read them. In light of the conversation what did Luther post as the number one item? Can we agree that if it is number one that it was pretty important at least to Luther?
    1. When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, “Repent” ( Matthew 4:17 ), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.

    Why would he call the entire life of the Christian to be one of repentance if our self reflection is to be of saint and conqueror? Was Luther wrong – we should hold that repentance stuff down to a minimum? Repentance calls us to our sin.

    Here are the 95 – cuddle up next to the fire and give them a read.

    https://www.biblestudytools.com/history/creeds-confessions/luther-95-theses.html

  49. Jean, thank you …
    It is helping me see where the perspectives dovetail and where they diverge – yes, Faith is both substance and evidence…
    It seems we agree on the condition of our mortal fkesh, at least. 😊

  50. MLD, it may be terminology – dunno
    thinking on the difference between repent and denial of self, of carrying a cross and the weight of the sins, which can weigh heavily even when forgiven, of confession, of pressing on toward the high calling……………
    Persevering Saints are a beautiful thing, in any case… God keep

  51. Em, I think you are over thinking things.

  52. Too deep for you, MLD? 😀

    Just joking … think I’ll quit thinking , say good night and go watch some baseball – I think

  53. Jean / MLD,

    Which is better

    To repent because we fear punishment and being cast out by God

    Or to repent because we love God because He loved us first and don’t want to break our Fathers heart again?

    Take your take I’m here all weekend 😉

  54. Take your time….. I meant

  55. The reason I ask is because as a parent who loves their kids, I wouldn’t want my kids to ever fear being disowned by me and have their loyalty because they fear punishment. I’d want them to listen and obey because they love me and know I’d do anything to have them part of my family, no matter what they did how long it takes. If we can know this as sinners how would this not characterize our Heavenly Father?

  56. Hi Joel,

    Your question came up in the years immediately preceding the Reformation.

    “To repent because we fear punishment and being cast out by God” If this could be done, then the Law could bring life. Paul says that the letter only kills. So this option is closed.

    “Or to repent because we love God because He loved us first and don’t want to break our Fathers heart again?” Again, the Law doesn’t create love for God; just a tyrant who we could never be sure we pleased enough.

    The third option: Repent when we hear the words: “Take heart; Your sins are forgiven.” This absolution raises the dead. This is what a Father does. Get the sandals; get the ring; kill the fattened calf; let’s have a party. This is unmerited grace.

    He bandages us up, puts us on his mule, takes us to the inn, pays for our room…and that repents us.

    He leaves the 99 in search of us, finds us, places us on His shoulders, brings us back to the flock…and that repents us.

    He does it all for our salvation and we are completely passive. After all, what else is a dead man other than passive.

  57. Joel, like all things about God, the scriptures and all the commands – it doesn’t matter what we prefer, what we have experience or how we feel. It is what God says.
    I challenged everyone earlier to read Rev 2 & 3 – this is the only place we hear Jesus speaking to the members of his church. Do he sound like he is setting up propositions that he hopes we follow or is he scaring the carp out of them?

  58. Thank you Jean there’s a lot to ponder there.

    Thank you MLD yes those are serious words from Jesus. I read them. Towards the end of 3 is this:

    “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”

    Behind those serious words is His Love. And that leads to repentance.

  59. Joel, I never said Jesus was not loving and compassionate … To those who repent. But what of those in the church who have gotten misdirected by the world who refuse to repent?
    One of the churches Jesus tells them if they repent he will not blot their name out of the book of life. What are we left to think of those who do not repent?

  60. If they refuse then they are making the heart breaking choice to walk away. They are closing the door on their end. Now whether that is a final decision I don’t know. I truly hope after they see where their choice leads them that they change their mind and that God gives them that opportunity.

  61. It seems to me that the good news is that my sins are forgiven..and not mine only, but the sins of the world. This was done to make possible restoration of our relationship with the Creator. Sin therefore is no longer an issue with God. We have an open invitation to walk through life united with Him through the Spirit. Why should we focus on the sin issue when the real work is to imitate Jesus. The churches I have been involved with miss the point of Jesus’s work and divert the mandate from love of God and neighbor to making sure we don’t go to hell. I don’t understand this at all. Get over yourself and share the eeally good news.

  62. Rich has a point because it is true that sin is no longer, since the sacrifice made on that cross 2000+ years ago, sin is longer the issue… it is our rejection of our need of redemption and that is where sin is an issue because we seem to be entering a period in history where people don’t believe in sin and so don’t see any need for a savior – just do your best? uh, no…
    Jean’s teaching above stated, “A couple years ago, I was struck by the comment of a pastor, who said most people today are not concerned about sin. Assuming the validity of his comment, this lack of concern has serious implications for what motivates people today to want to be Christians and join or remain in churches. ……” amen to both categories…
    but
    i do not believe that once we’ve been born into the family of God that hell is hanging over our heads (not all adhere to that concept) …
    that said, tho, after our new birth (and not all adhere to that concept), sins (plural) do become an issue in our individual walks and thus Divine Discipline by the Father is always a possibility… thus owning up, facing our sins and confessing to God is a good thing

  63. To be clear

    I never said I am not a participant in sin still to this day. I said my identity is not sinner. My identity is saint. Identity is a big emphasis for us. We sin, we confess, we repent. We do not self-identify as sinner. When I carefully read the text of scripture beyond the cross, I find only James seems to hang on to the moniker. All speak of sins and sinning but references to sinner seem to be upon those needing a savior not those confessing one. This is not a big dogma for me but a mighty important pastoral concern.

  64. The only Christian anthropology that makes sense to me personally, both from a Scriptural perspective as well as human experience, is that of the Simul (simultaneously wholly saint and wholly sinner).

    Paul describes the Christian has being at once 2 men:

    “to put off your old self [man, nature], 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 [man, nature], created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

    The old man is sometimes referred to as the old Adam, and it refers to our flesh, heart, and mind, from head to toe. This old self, the progeny of Adam, is a sinner, can only sin and does not fear God. He cannot be reformed, but as Paul says must be “put off” or mortified.

    The new man is the new creation born of God through faith, which is created in the image of God (Christ). We are justified or made righteous through faith; it is imputed to us; it is declared of us. But it is an alien righteousness: “And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption”.

    So two things are apparent for me personally:

    (1) Any conquering (or more than conquering) that is accomplished in my life is by God working in me through the Spirit – I have no intrinsic righteousness. My only righteousness Christ’s imputed to me.

    (2) I am not surprised or deceived into thinking that my old self/man/Adam is not going to continue to rage against the Spirit in me for as long as I live. And he often gets the upper hand in my thoughts, words and deeds, which the Word of God and my conscience reveal to me, and bring me back to Christ for his steadfast and abundant mercy.

    However, with this knowledge of my own sinful nature, I can be realistic about life and benefit from Paul’s advice, which includes: “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.” Maybe this has happened to some of you, but some of my most memorable “falls” in life were at moments when I thought I had conquered some sin or temptation. The Word has taught me to cling to the Word and Christ in prayer, and he will provide a way of escape. His Word more than conquers.

  65. Baba,
    Paul seemed to have self identified as the wretched man.
    It still goes back to the great theological question – am I a sinner because I sin? Or do I sin because I am a sinner.

    But to be clear, I do want to equally take joy that I have been declared saint. Who 2 tells me I am currently (not sometime in the future) seated with Christ.

  66. We read in Romans 7 that there is nothing good in our flesh (I take that to mean nothing of eternal value – as miraculous as the human body is, it was formed from dirt, after all)
    But the soul, the life, came into that body after that body was formed… so I don’t have too much trouble conceptualizing a spirit birth now cohabiting in this flesh… our souls are what is at stake – we can respond to spirit or body (resist the “pride of th flesh” –
    a broken arm is exempt from the test. ☺ )
    when this body finally dies, our naked souls must face our Creator… that might be a good time to be clothed in the righteousness of Christ…

    If one can’t find Scriptural justification for a spiritual birth, the Church composed of tripartite beings, I can see why one would have trouble with a saint and sinner yinning and yanging in their members …. 👯 … 😉

  67. Em, I would differ in that our bodies are also at risk. The great hope of the Christian is not heaven, but the bodily resurrection. It is our bodies that will be assigned to heaven or hell.
    As for presenting our souls before the creator, I don’t know about you but I have already been judged at the first resurrection (past tense) – John 5:24 – ““Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” – yowsirre, that’s good news

  68. MLD, we will receive resurrection, glorified bodies… But the flesh you now occupy is headed for destruction (as in rot)….. Our Lord, it is noted, did not see corruption
    those who are headed for hell? I don’t know what sort of body, if any, their eternal (I presume ‘eternal’) souls will occupy… not a pleasant destination in whatever form…
    Your second point? Not sure what it is… as I think we’re in agreement… “Clothed in His righteousness alone. Faultless to stand before the Throne” as the old song goes…

    God keep

  69. Sorry Em – if may be resurrected and it may be glorified — but it is your body – the one that went into the ground.I don’t know how it works – but it is our body.

    The 2nd point is just what it says – we have already been judged as we were raised from death to life – when we were born again.Done deal …or so says the scriptures.

  70. Well, it is intriguing … yes, I agree that it is my recognizable body, but I don’t think that the second one is made out of dirt as is the one I’m occupying right now – we can’t begin to imagine what is ahead… of that I’m pretty sure
    funny thot… what if those of us who have put on weight have to go into and then thru eternity as chubbies?

  71. This is what fuels the debate – is cremation ok for a Christian. We know that the pagans burn up the body as it no longer serves a purpose – or in many cases is evil and the cause of all problems and should be destroyed.

    But what about the Christian? God is not yet done with the body.

  72. “There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.”

  73. So, is Jan Hus out of luck?

  74. I often think you try to out wit yourself. Are you saying that the resurrected body is a different body? Also, are you defending a spiritual resurrection instead of a bodily resurrection?

    Jon His did not have himself cremated. That’s what the bad guys do to disrespect the body.

  75. I’m defending sola scriptura. You should try it.

  76. good words DixieDread # 64

  77. Why would God want our dead corrupted flesh, MLD? He, Who can create out of nothing needs a memory jog? A template? I hope no Christians were among those vaporized in Hiroshima because, if MLD is correct in his concern, they’re out of luck – invisible for all eternity? I

    Hope the wedding went well, new MIL dusty

  78. Em,
    1.) You are arguing against resurrection – you are arguing for a new creation. My old body is in the ground and needs to be resurrected. I said early on that I don’t know how it happens. You make the case for all new materials. That is not a resurrection.
    2.) People who have had their bodies destroyed like you mentioned had no choice in the disposition of their bodies. But what do we say about our body if we choose to destroy it? As I said this is the debate.

  79. So, MLD, for you.the key is the term “resurrect” ? I’ll have to think on that … and I will. 😐

  80. Em, well we are speaking of the resurrection of the body so yes the ‘term’ resurrect does kind of fit in there at the forefront. 🙂
    Having said that though the subject of that resurrection is quite important – what is being raised? or perhaps who is being raised? or how much of that who is being raised?

    When Jesus was raised from the dead, were there some unused, unraisable parts of Jesus left on the tomb floor? If someone died and was buried this past weekend and the resurrection occurred Halloween night would their casket be empty or would the perishable pieces be ‘left behind’
    My point is that whatever is in that casket will be raised – empty casket.

  81. “My point is that whatever is in that casket will be raised – empty casket.”

    Anachronism: an error in chronology; especially: a chronological misplacing of persons, events, objects, or customs in regard to each other.

    In the first century, I understand the Jewish custom was two burials: An initial burial for a period of time for the decomposition of the flesh, followed by a collection of the bones to be placed in an ossuary.

  82. Big deal – answer about the freshly buried person in the casket – that is the person I need to speak to. Bones only raised? Fresh fleshy goo left behind?
    How was Jesus raised? What about those at the end of Matt 27?

  83. I answer with 1 Cor 15:35-56.

  84. Which does not conflict with my view at all – which you will find at #70

    “Sorry Em – it may be resurrected and it may be glorified — but it is your body – the one that went into the ground. I don’t know how it works – but it is our body.”

  85. The only possible answer is the resurrection of our current, physical bodies, however this is accomplished. Christ is t he pattern and He resurrected in His own body, nail prints and all. The sea will give up its dead, etc.

    To suggest a resurrection that is not connected to our physical bodies- a spiritual resurrection- is the flirt with the heresy of dualism. Our goal is not to escape our physical bodies, as the heretical Cathars believed. Christ, our pattern, did not resurrect as a mighty spirit, as the Jehovah’s Witnesses believe. Christ was raised from the dead in His physical body and so will we.

    The Orthodox belief in this is so strong that we conduct funerals with great respect towards the body of the reposed. We do not permit cremation except under extreme (think plague) conditions. While we fully realize the body will decompose, it is in FAITHFUL EXPECTATION of the body being resurrected that we show respect to the body which will someday be raised in incorruption.

  86. I am frankly astounded that we have Christians here denying the bodily resurrection of the Christian dead.

  87. Xenia,

    Where do you find that? Honestly I have not read anyone denying the bodily resurrection of the Christian dead.

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