originally posted on tumblr.
I was just wondering what your take was on confidence in identity versus pride in identity. A lot of Christians have difficulty believing in the “saints and not sinners” teaching because it’s difficult for them to find the humility in that area of teaching.
People find it difficult because they think that “sainthood” or “sinnerhood” is based on your actions.
The people in the “sinner” camp think they are sinners because of their actions. Therefore, when they hear people from the “saints” camp, calling themselves righteous, they think it’s arrogant because from an ‘action standpoint’ there isn’t anyone that has lived a life free of sin (which I absolutely agree with, that’s 1 John 1:8). So from their standpoint, it would be arrogant to call ourselves “righteous” when our actions aren’t consistent with that.
“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” – Romans 5:19
The distinction is here. The people in the “saint” camp are professing righteousness not based on their actions. They are proclaiming “sainthood” based on becoming righteousness through Christ (2 Cor 5:21) as shown in the verse above. It isn’t an assessment based on our actions, we are just agreeing with what is said about us in scripture.
It is absolute humility to say about yourself what God has said about you. Why? Because you didn’t do it to you. We weren’t made righteous because of righteous acts, neither are you made a sinner because you sin (Romans 5:19). You are a sinner because you were born in it. You are a saint because you were re-born in it (hence, born again).
Even if being a sinner was based on your actions, God still wouldn’t call you a sinner because doesn’t even remember your sin (Heb 8:12, 10:17). Like.. does. not. remember. No recollection. Like.. as if it never happened. So even from God’s standpoint, you’re righteous.
We don’t try to ‘argue’ this for the sake of arguing theology. We preach this stuff because understanding this is what gets you free from habitual sin.
Sinners sin. It’s their nature to. So if you believe yourself to “be a sinner”, you will reproduce exactly that. Sinners can only, at best, act righteous. They do not have freedom to behave other than what their nature dictates. So essentially, that’s what most church folks live in. “Sinners” who struggle to live righteous.
Because they don’t know that they’ve been given a new nature to be righteous, thinking themselves to still be sinners, they struggle and struggle never breaking free. Why? Sinners will always be slaves to sin.
But the moment they realize (renew their mind) the fact they have been crucified with Christ (Gal 2:20), that their past lusts and desires are dead (Gal 5:24), and as a result, they are no longer slaves to sin (Romans 6:6-7,11) but slaves of righteousness (Rom 6:18)… then they will walk in that freedom.
Saints live righteous. It’s their nature to be righteous. That is what they naturally do. At worst, they will act like sinners. They have been freed from their past nature, so they have liberty to live righteously (Gal 5:13). They are free from sin.
This is the point of telling people about their new nature, “things I write to you, so that you may not sin” (1 John 2:1).
Does that help?
In terms of confidence, I think Steve Thompson did a good job elaborating on that:
Check out my friend’s site: http://www.saintsnotsinners.org/
This is a follow-up post from my other article on pride and worth issues.
In the parable of “the prodigal son”, when the son returns home, hoping to return to his father, he says, “I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.” (Luke 15:21)
What was his thinking? He no longer felt worthy and significant because of what he had done. He got his identity out of what he was doing (his failure) instead of whose son he was. He felt like that his actions determined his worth in the eyes of his Father. Yet, his failures, shortcomings, and sins were completely irrelevant from the Father’s perspective.
“Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.” (Luke 15:22)
So many believers feel worthless or guilty because of the failures in their past, how they have sinned, or how they have failed to acsend the church “ladder”. They think that God is mad at them, or that God is punishing them with lost opportunities, difficulties, sickness, and/or trials. They think “How can God ever use me?” or “I’ll never amount to anything.” They think that God is keeping a record of their past and now counting their sins against them. This is completely contrary to the heart of the Father.
“…God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them” (2 Cor 5:19)
What did the Father do to the prodigal? He didn’t count his son’s sin against him. That’s how there was reconciliation.
He treated him as if he had never sinned (that’s called forgiveness).
He wasn’t mad!
He didn’t condemn.
He didn’t judge.
He didn’t even require repentance.
That’s called kindness that draws repentance (Rom 2:4).
He treated him according to the fact that he was His son, not according to what he had done; the Father treated the son as if he was righteous (2 Cor 5:21, Rom 5:19-20), not according to his sin (2 Cor 5:19).
This is the good news, we aren’t treated the way our actions merit. That, my friends, that is called grace.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us…when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son.” (Rom 5:8,10)
This is what love does. It keeps no record of wrong, it’s not easily provoked. You are worth the price that was paid. You are priceless. Stop feeling worthless. Stop acting worthless. Stop holding yourself in the light of your past failures because your Father doesn’t. He sees you as if you have never sinned. He’s not the great “list-keeper.”
He’s invited you to be part of a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9), stop acting like a small, timid, penniless beggar without vision. He’s given you the ability to walk like the King of Kings (1 John 2:6) because He calls you son.
You’ve been given the best robe, and you’ve been chosen to represent the Family name. Stop saying that you’re “unworthy” and calling it humility. You are significant because He made you significant.
You are free to be a son.
You are free to live as if you’ve never sinned, because as far as the Father’s concerned, that’s how He sees it. (Heb 8:12, Heb 10:17)
You are free to be without condemnation.
You are free to be confident in who you are.
You are free to be unashamed.
You are free from your past.
You are free.
Dare to believe it.
Sooo… you know how in the Old Testament, there was the Holy of Holies?
There was a veil separating anyone (except the appointed priest… once a year) from “entering” the very presence of God.
The average Joe could not “encounter” the presence of God.
So…. remember what happened on the cross? The veil, that separated the normal people from God, was torn so that we could all have constant accessto what an Old Covenant, holy priest only had access to once a year. (Matthew 27:51)
If you say things like, “the presence of God was there”, or “God was in that place”, or “God showed up”, you have actively created a mindset that puts God back into that room behind a veil.
HE LIVES IN YOU.
You have become the Holy of Holies.
You have become the Most Holy Place.
You have become the temple in which He resides. (1 Cor 6:19)
You have become one spirit with Him. (1 Cor 6:17)
You have been hidden in Him. (Col 3:3)
He is living in you. (Gal 2:20, Col 1:26-27)
You are constantly in His presence. Do not wait to go to a building to become aware of it.
God doesn’t “show up”. He was always there. The only thing that changed was that you became aware of it and actually dared to believe Him at his word, “I will never leave you”, “greater is He that is in you than he that is in this world”, “if God is for us, who can be against us?” (Heb 13:5, 1 John 4:4, Rom 8:31).
Do not trade a lifestyle for watered-down, centralized, program-based, event-based religion.
[read the book of Hebrews]
I was hanging out with a friend on Saturday (June 18th) morning. She wanted to get ‘trained’, healing the sick and stuff, and she also had a ton of questions about direction and identity stuff. I went to a huge flea market with her and we spent most of the time talking, but we saw some pretty cool stuff.
The first person we ministered to was an old gentleman in a red scooter. He was just finishing a purchase and I asked him how he was doing. Surprisingly, he introduced himself first and then I asked him what happened to his legs. He said that he was a war vet and that years ago, he had a bad accident which resulted in most of the bones on the right side of his body to be broken.
He explained how the entirety of his right arm/legs were in pain because they didn’t recover correctly.
“Here let me pray for you man” as I knelt down an put my foot on his knee. I commanded his body to be whole. After a few seconds, I told him to stand up (I had that thought in the back of my head… “ARE YOU CRAZY??! WHAT IF HE’s not healed?) and he did.
For a few seconds, I didn’t know what was going on, because he didn’t say anything. I asked how he was doing and he said there was a lot less pain. I offered to do it again so all the pain would go, but before I could, he sat down and said, “hold on.”
He pulled out his wallet (i totally thought he was gonna try to give me money) and pulled out a doctor’s note that explained his condition. He was in awe, because he was supposed to be in “chronic pain” according to the note. The whole time, I remember him profusely asking, “What did you do to me? This is amazing!” Before, he could barely stand up, but now he had very little problems doing so.
I ended up laying hands on him one more time, but he didn’t walk. He said that he was missing his left leg. 70% of his right leg was prosthetic.
Haha, I asked him, “Do you want your leg to be restored?”
He got this weird look on his face. “What?”
“Do you want function to return to your leg?”
I think he was so shocked because he already had some good news, getting his leg back would be too much goodness. He ended backpedaling and asked me if I lived in the area. I ended up giving him my card/cell # and he told me he was gonna call me.
“I’m not even a believer!!” I remember he said. haha. Hopefully he calls me soon.
I think about 10 minutes later, we see 2 younger girls pushing a lady in a wheelchair.
I got their attention.. “Hey how you guys doing?” I asked the lady what happened to her leg and her daughter explained that her mom had cancer in her leg and it messed up her tendon. She had melanoma under her skin.
The daughter kept translating for us and I laid hands on the mom’s leg. After I commanded it to be whole, I told her to bend her leg. “Mejor, mejor! (Better, better)” as she nodded her head. Then I told her to stand up but her daughter interjected, “she can’t”.
“Well, is there anymore pain?” The mom said there was still some along the outside of her thigh, so I made her a deal. I told her I was going to pray for her one more time, and then she was gonna stand up. They agreed.
.. put my hand on her leg, commanded it to be better, told her to stand, and she stood. “Any more pain?” She had just a twinge left on her hip. Took a few seconds to knock it out and then I told her to take a step. She started hobbling, it wasn’t anything impressive, but it was a big step from being confined to a wheelchair.
I told them that I would expect their mom to be a lot better the next morning, and then I told them some of the testimonies I had from Africa just a month ago. They were from Oakland, so I gave them my card and told them to give me an update.
That was a cool “intro” for my friend.
Today (June 20th), I went to Sweet Tomatoes with my aunt for lunch. On the way out, I saw 2 guys sitting at a table and one of them had a cast on his left forearm.
I stopped and asked the guy, “Hey what happened to your arm?”
His friend made an innuendo as to how he broke it, but he said that he just tripped and fell.
I asked him how much longer he needed the cast for and he said, “oh this isn’t the real one, I’m going to the doctor tomorrow to get the real cast, it’s gonna be 4 weeks”
“Oh man.. is it hurting right now?”
“Here, check this out” I leaned over an put my hand on his cast. Commanded the pain to go, for the arm to be whole. His friend across the table sort of rolled his eyes when I said, “in Jesus name”. haha.
“Move your hand, check it out”
While he was moving is hand, he was trying to find where the pain went.
“How is it?”
His friend interjected, “the same!”
“Nah, actually, it’s a lot better.”
“There still a little bit, though?”
“Here” as I put my hand on his cast again, thanked God for the progress and commanded it to be 100%.
I told him to check it again. He was impressed. His friend stopped talking.
“It’s doing a lot better, thanks. I’ll have to let my doctor take a look at it”
“Hey man, what’s your name?”
“Brandon. That’s awesome man, go to your doctor, get it checked out, it’ll be good.”
bahaha. I love encounters like these.
Thinking back, I definitely could have stayed a bit and talked to them about what just happened. I was feeling rushed cause my aunt was waiting outside and had no idea where I went.
It’d be so funny to hear what their conversation was like after I left. Man. I should’ve gave him my business card or something. Ah. Live and learn.