Saint or Sinner?

April 28, 2014

Are saints “sinners saved by grace”?  Is a saint no longer a sinner?  Can a sinner be a saint?  Who is answering these questions?

Let’s come to terms.  Many words enter the vernacular because they meet a need and we co-opt them without regard for their original meanings.  They can derive connotations which evolve away from the original intent.  If saints go to heaven and sinners go to hell, it is important to understand this concept.

All who are sons of Adam are sinners.  That’s us.  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (1 Cor. 15:22)  The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  The mortality rate has always been 100 per cent.  Adam died the day he ate the fruit as promised; with God 1000 years is as a day, and no one has lived more than 1000 years.  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:8 KJV)

You turn man to destruction,
And say, “Return, O children of men.”
For a thousand years in Your sight
Are like yesterday when it is past,
And like a watch in the night.
Psalm 90 NKJV

Saints are defined thus in Psalm 50: Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.  Hebrews chapter 9 elaborates: 22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. (ESV)

Does Jesus love the Jews?

Jesus told the Jews, before the provision of animal sacrifice was removed in 70 A.D., I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. (John 8:24 KJV)  The objective is sanctification: Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch–as you really are.  Paul continues: For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. (1 Cor 5:7 KJV)

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11 NKJV

Ask any Jew anywhere in the world over the last 2000 years how his sin is being atoned for and he will not have an answer.  This is the crucial point, for what good is one’s religion if he be not reconciled to God thereby?  It’s mere window dressing, “bread and pottage of lentiles”. (Genesis 25:34)

This principle is clearly set forth in the Old Testament, as any honest reader will attest.  Jeremiah, for example, standing in proxy for Jesus Christ, in protesting to God about his persecutors, said in 18:23:

Jeremiah Persecuted

18 Then they said, “Come and let us devise plans against Jeremiah; for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come and let us attack him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words.”

19 Give heed to me, O Lord,
And listen to the voice of those who contend with me!
20 Shall evil be repaid for good?
For they have dug a pit for my life.
Remember that I stood before You
To speak good for them,
To turn away Your wrath from them.
21 Therefore deliver up their children to the famine,
And pour out their blood
By the force of the sword;
Let their wives become widows
And bereaved of their children.
Let their men be put to death,
Their young men be slain
By the sword in battle.
22 Let a cry be heard from their houses,
When You bring a troop suddenly upon them;
For they have dug a pit to take me,
And hidden snares for my feet.
23 Yet, Lord, You know all their counsel
Which is against me, to slay me.
Provide no atonement for their iniquity,
Nor blot out their sin from Your sight;
But let them be overthrown before You.
Deal thus with them
In the time of Your anger. NKJV

The Gospel is not optional; it’s mandatory.  This brief post is not sufficient to exhaustively discuss this matter, but all who refuse Christ are in rebellion against God.  He came to His own and His own received Him not, but the Holy Spirit told me, “He will not come back to His own.”  They must come to Him like everybody else.  Herein lies the answer to the question, Does Jesus love the Jews.

30 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, 31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” Acts 17 NKJV

Much has been made lately of the concept of being “left behind”.  But as I have regrettably experienced myself, being left behind is merely a failure to keep up.  Numbers 15 defines two types of sin, sins of ignorance and sins of presumption.  Sins of presumption, such as deliberately picking up sticks on the Sabbath, cannot be atoned for.  But, even as Paul described his sins against the church as sins of ignorance*, Peter told the Jews that their crucifixion of Christ was done in ignorance**.  Praise God, the door is still open.  For the time being.

Yes, sinners can be saints, and all saints are sinners saved by God’s grace.

Footnotes

* 13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.  (1 Timothy 1 NKJV)

** 17 “Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers. (Acts 3 NKJV)

personal note: HCSB psalm 90

 

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