Tag Archives: Saint

Who I Am and What it Means

I am a brand new person; not a forgiven sinner (as seen on bumper stickers) but a heavenly saint.

  1. Naturally (which a Christian is not – Romans 8:9) a person is self-ish (which is the basic human problem and the root of all sin).  And since no one is satisfied with himself the way he is naturally (physically, etc.) we all tend to have a poor self-image.  The only answer is not psyching oneself up (“I’m OK, you’re OK”), nor even making changes in what we are or aren’t, but becoming a brand new person, somebody different.
  2. In order to effect this, all that we are “by nature” has to die, be buried, and forgotten. (Matthew 10:38, 16:24)  The Bible says that happened to us when Christ died on the cross (Romans 6, Col. 3).  Christ was not simply our substitute, who died for us; we died with Him.  It is up to us to believe that and practice it. (Romans 6:11, Col 2:20)  He that would “save” his life will lose it….etc.  He cannot be two persons, one old and one new.  The Christian is only one person; he does not have two natures, like a Jekyll and Hyde.
  3. In place of our “old man” (like a kernel of corn that dies, or a graft on a stump, even baby in a womb) a new self is born.  (John 3, Matt. 18:3)  It began – just as we all “began” physically in Adam – when Christ came out of the tomb, a new man, Second Adam.  It starts – is born – individually when we become Christians.  It is Christ himself in us, the very Spirit that animated Him.  We are Christ-ians!  (Col. 1:27, Romans 8:10)
  4. This new person, the new”you”, is perfect (can Christ be anything else?).  (I John 3)  That is why Christians are called “saints” in the Bible; it is what they are, now.  The new “you” is immortal; eternal life does not begin when we die, but at re-generation. (John 3:36, I John 3 :14)
  5. How then do we explain the “dualism” in a Christian, his sin?  A Christian consists of three “parts” (like the Old Testament temple, even the triune God).  In this way he is a true human being, a real reflection of God; an unbeliever is just body-soul, a refined animal, whose “spirit” is empty like the Holy of Holies in Herod’s temple.  (Matt. 7:23, I Peter 2:10, II Peter 2:12)  The Christian’s spirit is God’s very Spirit (Ezekiel 36:27), the Spirit of Christ; his soul (mind, will, emotions) is “sanctified” gradually by that perfect Spirit (Gal. 5:16–); his body also is bettered because of its controlling Spirit, but is made up of corruptible elements in order to fit its earthly environment, and perfect Spirit.  (I Cor. 15)  A Christian is satisfied with his present body – insofar as it cannot be improved – , knowing it is perfect for its present purposes.
  6. The “struggle” that a Christian has, then, is not a war with himself (the worst kind there is), but what the Bible calls the “flesh” (including soul as well as body).  These “motions of the flesh” are like the “knee-jerks” of a corpse, or coasting of a “dead” auto.  They are not “you” (Romans 7:17).  Romans 7 is not a description of normal Christian life, but the struggles of a moral unbeliever, or carnal Christian trying to improve in his own strength.

What are the results of all this?

  1.  I am a new person NOW (not in some uncertain future).  Cannan in the Bible is not a picture of heaven (and Jordan of death) but a condition of rest and possession that we ought to enjoy right now.
  2. Total forgiveness; sins of future as well as past (don’t have to ask for forgiveness; thank God for it).  God even says he forgets all our sins. (Isaiah 38:17, 43:25, Jer. 31:33, Hebrews 8:12, 10:17)  We must too.  (Hebrews 9:14; 10:2, 22; I John 3:20; Phil. 3:13)  Satan cannot rob us of our salvation, but he can and does rob us of our assurance, which is almost as bad.
  3. We do not have to fear a future judgment.  (Romans 5:1; 8:1,33,34)  If we already died with Christ, we have been judged and all sin paid for.  (John 5:24; 3:18; I John 2:28, 4:17; Hebrew 9:28) Our old sinful self, dead and gone, will not even appear at the Judgment; just the new perfect “you”.  Matthew 25 and John 3:21 indicate that final “judgment” for the Christian is an awards-assembly! (Also see Psalms 26, 43)
  4. We do not even have to fear death!  The old “us” died with Christ already, once and for all.  Eternal life began at conversion.  What we call death is a painless doorway out of an evil world.  True, our bodies die, but that is only an exchange for a new one; good riddance.  (John 11:25; 5:24; 8:51;  I Cor. 5:14;  I John 3:14;  Romans 8:23;  II Cor. 5:1-8; 4:16)
  5. We have the power and ability not to sin; it is a cop-out to say we have to.  (I Cor. 10:11;  Hebrews 2:14;  I John 2:13, 3:8, 4:4, 5:4;  II Cor. 2:14;  Romans 8:37)
  6. We have the ability to live perfect lives.  (I This 5:23;  Hebrews 13:21;  Eph 3:20;  I Cor 1:30;  Eph 2:10;  Phil 1:6, 2:13)  What God commands, He expects and enables. (Matt 5:48;  II Peter 1:3,9;  1:15,16;  I This 4:3;  I John 2:1)  Paul made self an example!  (I Cor. 4:16, 11:1;  Phil. 3:17; II Thes 3:7)

The Means of Realizing this Security

  1. One must want it.  Unbelievably, there are many Christians who do not want it; they prefer selfness (false humility, etc.).  We must be willing.  Eph 3:20.  This requires open-ness, readiness to change.
  2. We must simply ask; God wants nothing more than to give it.  (Luke 11:13, Matt 7:11)
  3. Abandon all self-effort.  We are especially weak here, thinking that once we are Christians, we must “work out our own salvation”, forgetting Phil. 2:13.  Christian life is not one of gratitude, but Christ’s life in us.  So: we are not to ask that God give us love, etc., but that He be our love, wisdom, joy, truth.  Sanctification is not we growing in grace, but more of Christ in us.  (Phil 3:10, 14)
  4. Have the very mind of Christ, so as to know the will of God and God Himself.  (Phil 2:5;  I Cor 2:16;  Romans 12:2)  The way to achieve this is by saturating oneself with Scripture, which is God’s mind on paper; think like God!
  5. Rejoice always!  God operates via the praises of his people (Psalm 22:3.  Note context.)  Jesus did; Paul did.  (Eph 5:20;  Phil 4:4, 6;  Col. 3:15;  I Thes. 5:16,18;  Phil 1:18;  Col 1:24;  II Cor 6:10; 12:9,10.)

Sin and the New You

Christianity is not a “head trip”.  Satan knows more about God and the Bible than any living creature.  The Christian faith is a way of life.  A person can be very religious and not be saved.  Worship is an important part of our faith, but only a part.  And our best worship is in love and service of others; it is easy to sing and  pray, “God, I love you”, etc.

We know these things from the Bible.  If we did not have the Bible we would not know right from wrong, truth from error.  For example, even Abraham had more than one wife.

Doctrine (theology, catechism) is a summary or digest of the Bible, to help understand and apply, practice what the Bible says.  But doctrines are not inspired; they don’t all agree (such as, who should be baptized, and how?) and have to be improved, added to, as the Holy Spirit (invisible Jesus) keeps on teaching us; the Holy Spirit is the one who inspired the Bible.  For example, in the part of Catechism we are studying, the word “we” is used sometimes to describe us as human beings (who all descended form Adam and Eve) and then again, as Christians, who are new people, changed, day-and-night different from non-Christians, unbelievers.

That is why many people have the impression – and say so- that every human being is a sinner.  That is simply not so. I may be able to sing, but that does not mean I am a “singer”; to fix little things on my car, but not call myself a “mechanic”.  The Bible tells us – though nobody has to be told; we all have a conscience – that everybody sins; some much, some little,  But the Bible nowhere calls a Christian a “sinner’, even a “forgiven sinner”, such as you find on bumper stickers, many hymns, etc.  We are saints. Because Christ lives in our hearts (think of the song, “I serve a risen Savior….”) we are new people, perfect people.  (Can Christ be half-perfect?) We have been born twice, a second time.

And that doesn’t mean that we are Siamese twins, schizophrenics, Jekyl-Hydes.  Our natural self, our “old” nature, the person that we were before we were born again, was replaced, substituted, actually died when we became a Christian.  (When a sub goes into a game, one of the former players has to come out, stop playing.)

That new “you”, which is Christ-in-you, does not have to sin.  Some people think we just have to sin constantly, that we can’t help it.  That is a cop-out.  The Bible says we do not have to. (I Cor. 10:13  Also many verses in I John.)  That new you will never die;  Hebrews says that Christ died just once, and can never die again.  It will never face a judgement; if he or she is perfect, as the new you is, what can it be judged for?

But what about the times we do sin? (And “sin” includes mistakes we make in school as well as failing to do good things that we ought to.  A person sins if he stays in bed all day, without doing a single “bad” thing, because he OUGHT to be doing this or that for good.)  Well, when a chicken has its head off, it can still do a lot of “damage”; an auto that is going down the highway may run out of gas and the motor be “dead”, but it keeps on going a while, even able to kill somebody.  And after we become a Christian, (a new person; somebody been been buried), it can “coast” or keep on kicking for the rest of our life (tho’ less and less), in habits that we do without thinking, etc.  But that is not “you”; they are like knee-jerks on a doctor’s table.  (Romans 7:17,20)

And where did we get those old habits?  We inherited them from our parents, just as we got our skin-color, specific sex, musical ability or math skill from our folks or grand-parents, and they, of course, got theirs from previous ancestors.  And it all, of course, started with Adam.  That is what we mean by “original” sin – how it started, originated.

But there is a simple way to repudiate all that.  Conscientious objectors to fighting in Vietnam, just because the President “declares war” on a country, can escape killing (and being killed), by going to another country.  And we can reject Adam, refuse to have anything to do with him, by uniting with Jesus, the Second Adam, who started a new race, a new humanity, of perfect people.  Faith is an acrostic for:  Forsaking Adam, I Take Him (Jesus).  Then you an say with Paul, Who cares what Adam did? Look at what Christ did!  For me, and in me.

That’s what Romans 5 is all about (and Paul keeps on explaining until he says in Romans 8:1 – Now, therefore, there is NO condemnation – for Adam’s sin or any of our own – for those who are IN Christ Jesus).  The only reason the Bible explains how we and Adam are connected is to give us a poor picture of how much better and closer we are connected to Christ.  Who wants to keep looking at a poor picture of a person when you have the “real thing” right beside you?