I raised my hand too. It's not uncommon to nod our head in agreement, shake our heads at our failings, and then raise our heads to thank God for His grace. I don't think there is anything wrong with that. It's good. It's humbling. Keeps it real. However, does anything strike you odd or out of the ordinary about that statement?
I began to look at it and I even asked God, "Do you prefer to hear 'I'm a sinner saved by grace,' or 'I'm a Child of God'? I think he just let me mull over it awhile. I came to a conclusion.
If I say and think "I'm a sinner saved by grace," then my definition of myself is "sinner." Yep, that's me. That may be true, but is that to be my identity to myself, even to others, or to God?
I believe that to continually put "sinner" on my I.D. card concerning who I am says more about what I think about myself than what I think about God.
Not that I can't recognize that I sin, but Sinner cannot, must not, be my proper name. I say this because the Bible calls the sin nature the "old man" or that which is dead in us. We were crucified with Christ, not that we live but that Christ lives in us. (Galatians 2:20) And if Christ lives in us now, how then can we make our main I.D. "sinner"? That is dead in us, it doesn't rule us and Christ went to hell and back to make sure we didn't let it define us.
If sin is so dominant, but forgiveness can trump it, the power of the Holy Spirit can overcome it, the cross shamed it, and God seated Christ at his right hand over every authority, then why give it such prominence in our description of who we are? Don't we all know we are sinners? Then why keep telling each other this?
Why not say, "I am forgiven - saved by grace."? Why ever call myself by such a name He came and died to set me free from? Jesus never referred to us as sinners saved by grace. He said sinners needed him. He said it is by grace through faith we are saved.
Ephesians 2:8 says "For it is by grace you have been saved..." and is followed up directly with "For you are God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus.." not, "You are now a sinner saved by grace created in Christ Jesus..." Even in the very passage we get our phrase "sinner saved by grace," our God doesn't even say it! He calls us his workmanship. He gives us new hearts, minds, titles, positions and proper names.
Why not say, "I'm Natalie, a Child of God, forgiven, saved by grace, and oh yeah, I can struggle with such-n-such if you really want to know."
What if a dear Follower of Christ who was an alcoholic said, "I'm so-n-so, saved by Jesus who is breaking the bondage of alcoholism in me." Wouldn't that inspire more strength, more fortitude, more hope than introducing yourself as that which holds you so tightly?
And why do we only do that to those who struggle with alcoholism? Why not all of us? "I'm so-n-so. I'm a soap opera addict." I'm so-n-so I'm afraid of rejection." "...I'm plagued by bitterness." Why the proper names of addiction, sin, fear, worry?
I only wonder what would happen to us if we changed the way we define ourselves, whether we say it our loud or not. I believe those addictions are real and true, but what if we moved the statement around and stuck the truth of who we are in Christ first?
Would it disarm much?
Would we think differently?
Would we gain a greater respect for ourselves and a higher regard for the power of Christ in us?
I think I'll try this one for awhile:
"I'm a child of God, saved by grace, seated at the right hand of God, anointed by the Spirit, ready for the fight, and created to do what he called me to do when he set me free from the power of sin!"
Yeah, I like that one better. How about you?
In Him, Natalie