Monday, April 20, 2009

simultaneously saints and sinners

Martin Luther is well known for his saying, "We are simultaneously saints and sinners." A blogger friend has a post on this, and I thought I'd add a few more thoughts here.

I think Martin Luther is essentially right. Yes, in Jesus we're both declared and made righteous by faith. I accept imputed as well as imparted righteousness, both. We share in the righteousness of Christ by faith. So that Christ's righteousness is imputed to us for our standing in forgiveness, as well as imparted to us by the Spirit for the transformation of our lives.

At the same time we still sin, and can and do struggle over sin at times. Scripture makes it clear that we can and therefore should have victory over sin in our lives. I'm not talking about sinless perfection, but about saying, "No," to sin and learning to put off the old "in Adam" and put on the new "in Christ." This is both a decisive change at salvation, as well as ongoing. Yet we can also fall into sin, and actually we won't be completely transformed into the image of Jesus, until we see him as he is.
There also are sins hidden which we may be unaware of, sins of commission and sins of ommission. God will bring them to light as he works in us his children to conform us to the image of his Son.

I love the changed life in Jesus, but I also find that I can harbor sin in my life. But when we do so it's like holding on to death. We must make a clean, decisive break from sin, and this must be ongoing in our lives, in Jesus.

Any thoughts you'd like to share on this?


simon said...

hidden sins- yes there are plenty.. of which we seem programmed to do/ be involved in

donsands said...

Fighting sin can be blood, sweat and tears at times. But, it's never simply us fighting ourself. We, our flesh, wars against the Spirit, and so we can't do the things we want. However, sin has not the grip it once had on us, when we were not new creations in Christ.
We become slaves of righteousness now, whereas we were slaves of sin before.

The way to holiness, and righteous living is first by faith alone, not works. It's through the power of the Holy Spirit. And one must be living and walking out his faith within the Body of Christ. We are all memebers of the same Body, with different functions, and Jesus is of course the Head.
I may be a big toe, but I'm still in need of the rest of the Body.

God bless Ted. Good thoughts.

Anonymous said...

i like to think of it as an ongoing embacing of the change that is being made. that also involves faith to let go of the fear of this change.

Ted M. Gossard said...


Yes, it does come natural to so sin. Though that is not what is natural at least not in the ultimate intent of humanity in God's eyes, and God's plan in Jesus. Though one choosing to walk a different "way", say a Mother Teresa, would seem rather confounding to at least many.

The Eastern Orthodox notion of "the fall" from early times would go along with the belief that humanity was not necessarily sinless and certainly not perfect at the beginning, but had the built-in potential for something more, an evolution into something greater. And of course we believe that is fulfilled in Christ.

Now Scripture tells us that we all are under sin's power. But that Christ through his salvation can break that power, beginning in this life. But even Christians, like the psalmist of old will find hidden sins brought to light in the light of God's Presence.

Good to hear from you again!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks, and good thoughts.

In my case I share the belief from a number of evangelical scholars that Romans 7 applies to humankind. Romans 6 and 8 make it clear that we are no longer under the law, but under grace, and that we are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, in Jesus. So though we most certainly do struggle with sin, and we can never say we have no sin- in this life, yet we can refuse sin's reign in our lives, and by the Spirit fulfill the requirements of God's law. Quite a contrast to Romans 7!

Great thoughts, though Don, and blessings to you.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Great and powerful point! I need to meditate on that. Thanks.