The Scripture I have been working through is found in the book of 2 Corinthians and goes as follows “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2Cor. 5:17)
A second that follows the same theme can be found in Galatians “I have been crucified with Christ. It is not longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20)
Both of these scriptures allude to the fact that we are changed or transformed when we accept salvation through Christ. We are changed from someone that was enslaved to sin and evil to a person clean in God’s sight and liberated from the chains of sin that once held us.
Pretty plain and simple correct?…
Well the part I wrestle with is why do we continue to refer back to our rebellion once we are saved.
For example, I often hear Christians that have undergone this transformation and are currently walking with God, brush off their sins because they are still “a sinner saved by grace.” Almost as if sin is no big deal or as if they cannot do any better.
It makes me wonder if we have indoctrinated our fellow Christians into thinking that they have to sin and when they do it is no big deal because they are still sinners.
This is difficult for me to swallow because that is not what Paul says in the earlier passages. He says that we have been made new, that we now have Christ in us.
So what are we now if not sinners?…
Peter explains this in the book of 1 Peter as he is teaching the dispersed Christians in Asia Minor. Peter tells them that they are a “chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the Excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1Peter 2:9)
We are chosen by God to be His people, His royal priesthood.
So how does this differ than a sinner saved by grace?
One word…… Obedience
Obedience to what though? The Lord’s commands
We can see this in New Testament passages like
John 8:31 “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 14:15 ” If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
John 14:21 “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my father and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
Also this was one of the major issues from the Old Testament
Deut. 27:9-10 “Then Moses and the Levitical priests said to all Israel, “Keep silence and hear, O Israel: this day you have become the people of the LORD your God. 10You shall therefore obey the voice of the LORD your God, keeping his commandments and his statutes, which I command you today.”
Josh 1:16-19 ” 16And they answered Joshua, “All that you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. 17Just as we obeyed Moses in all things, so we will obey you. Only may the LORD your God be with you, as he was with Moses! 18Whoever rebels against your commandment and disobeys your words, whatever you command him, shall be put to death. Only be strong and courageous.”
1 Sam 12:14-15 “14If you will fear the LORD and serve him and obey his voice and not rebel against the commandment of the LORD, and if both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the LORD your God, it will be well. 15But if you will not obey the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then the hand of the LORD will be against you and your king.”
Isaiah 1:11-20 – The Lord does not delight in sacrifices but the obedience of His people.
I am not saying that we are not going to be tempted by sin in our daily life.
I am saying that through Christ, we have the freedom to make a choice to sin or not sin. And as the royal priesthood and royal ambassadors of Christ, we must be diligent in avoiding sin.
Therefore, we should be the past sinner now saved by grace in order to be the saint that is currently tempted by sin and is able to overcome to live a life proclaiming the excellencies of Him.