IDENTITY: SINNER TRYING TO BE A SAINT?
OR SAINT WHO SOMETIMES SINS?
I met a man yesterday on my way to work who identified himself as a Christian. So I decided to give him a pocket Bible as a gift that he could read during his travels. He accepted. I also informed him of this months study in Proverbs. Excitedly he flipped over to that page and began reading as he walked away.
A few minutes later he came back and handed me the Bible and said, “sorry, this is for righteous people, not me”….
Sadly, I think this is the same sentiment that many people hold who only read Proverbs and Psalms their whole life and never get to the New Testament epistles to understand the Gospel and their salvation and acceptance in Christ.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, *not counting people’s sins against them*. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5:17-19
The Word of God is only ever understood through the lens of the Gospel, because only then is the veil removed from our eyes so we begin to see the only true life found in Jesus Christ our Savior.
When we only view God’s Word as a rule book, it’s very easy to see how we all fall short of His standard, because that is the intention of the law – but for the expressed purposes of pointing us to our need for a Savior, and showing us how Jesus Christ IS that Savior!
Contrastly, Proverbs contains wisdom for daily living out our new life in Christ.
In 1 Corinthians, Paul writes a letter to one of the most morally corrupt churches in the New Testament. In his letter, he addresses the believers in Christ as “Saints” – and such we are!
Saints aren’t people who have it all perfectly together. Our right standing is on account of what Jesus Christ alone has done. We are the children of God simply enjoying the benefit of that blessing now bestowed, and the fellowship of knowing our Creator.
The proof is our new inborn Holy affections and desire for righteousness by the new birth in the Spirit.
We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:20-21
So if the Word of God brings conviction to your heart in recognition of your sin as you read through this study, don’t let that cause you to shy away; but instead, remember:
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves such as are of a contrite spirit.
You have access to the power that changes from within!
God bless us with a deeper understanding of our identity in Christ, and with wisdom to direct our every step of this life here right into eternity.
but accurate weights find favor with him.
When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom.
The integrity of the upright guides them,
but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.
Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath,
but righteousness delivers from death.
The righteousness of the blameless makes their paths straight,
but the wicked are brought down by their own wickedness.
The righteousness of the upright delivers them,
but the unfaithful are trapped by evil desires.
Hopes placed in mortals die with them;
all the promise of their power comes to nothing.
The righteous person is rescued from trouble,
and it falls on the wicked instead.
With their mouths the godless destroy their neighbors,
but through knowledge the righteous escape.
When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices;
when the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy.
Through the blessing of the upright a city is exalted,
but by the mouth of the wicked it is destroyed.
Whoever derides their neighbor has no sense,
but the one who has understanding holds their tongue.
A gossip betrays a confidence,
but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.
For lack of guidance a nation falls,
but victory is won through many advisers.
Whoever puts up security for a stranger will surely suffer,
but whoever refuses to shake hands in pledge is safe.
A kind hearted woman gains honor,
but ruthless men gain only wealth.
Those who are kind benefit themselves,
but the cruel bring ruin on themselves.
A wicked person earns deceptive wages,
but the one who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward.
Truly the righteous attain life,
but whoever pursues evil finds death.
The Lord detests those whose hearts are perverse,
but he delights in those whose ways are blameless.
Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished,
but those who are righteous will go free.
Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout
is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.
The desire of the righteous ends only in good,
but the hope of the wicked only in wrath.
One person gives freely, yet gains even more;
another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.
A generous person will prosper;
whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.
People curse the one who hoards grain,
but they pray God’s blessing on the one who is willing to sell.
Whoever seeks good finds favor,
but evil comes to one who searches for it.
Those who trust in their riches will fall,
but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.
Whoever brings ruin on their family will inherit only wind,
and the fool will be servant to the wise.
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,
and the one who is wise saves lives.
If the righteous receive their due on earth,
how much more the ungodly and the sinner!