I heard a story recently about a minister coming into a room and saying, "Good morning saints!" The room full of people felt funny and would not say good morning because they knew they were full of sin. Next the minister said, "good morning, sinners!" This time everyone responded with good morning. I don't know about you but I do not consider myself a saint. At least not until I heard that sermon and did some studying!
My pastor shared the story of a wrecker. Someone from another country said they call it a recovery truck because it helps people instead of reminding them that they wrecked. They carry people, they help them out of the ditch, etc. They make things better so we can move on. God is the same way. Even through I have messed up and continue to sin, He knows my heart, so He continues to help me. He even brings good from bad. Romans 8: 28, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." When we know we are forgiven, we are to move on. Isaiah 43: 18-20, "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!" From the moment we are saved by Jesus, we are a new creation.
I heard it like this, once you are saved you are no longer a sinner saved by grace but now you are a saint who sometimes sins. The difference is how God looks at us. Colossians 1: 1-2, "Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To God’s holy people in Colossae, the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ: "Grace and peace to you from God our Father." Holy is the same word used for "saint". Our identity is no longer a sinner.
When we accepted the gift of salvation, we stopped being identified as a sinner and started being identified as a saint. We are now God's children! John 1: 12-13, "Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God."
Seeing ourselves as a sinner or a saint can make a huge difference in our life. We know God has given His children a new identity. We know we are a new creation. But because we know we are full of sin, it is hard to think of ourselves as saints. Now, we are saints that sin. We still mess up but we know God can give us the strength to recognize this and try to be more like Him. As saints, we want to please Him! Christ lives inside of us. That alone, should make us understand that we are saints. It does not mean we will not sin, it means we are God's children. Galatians 2: 20, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."
There are several scripture verses that helped me think of myself as a saint. Ephesians 2:19,
"Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household..." Romans 8: 16-17, "The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory." I am a child of God!
Being a saint does not mean I am without sin! Being a saint does not mean you are without sin! Being a saint means we have Jesus! Salvation gave us a new identity. Our new life is not not dependent on us but on the righteousness of the Savior. He transformed us into new creatures with new hearts. All through the New Testament, believers are called; saints, beloved children, holy ones but never sinners. Romans 1: 7, "To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints." 1 Corinthians 1: 2, "To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours..." Ephesians 1: 1, "To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus."
Believing that we are identified as saints, rather than sinners, changes how we approach our relationships, our work, our rest—our entire lives. It changes everything.