I was scrolling through social media (really not a constructive use of time) and ran across a testimony. In short the person said:
I have always heard I was a sinner saved by grace and that I sin everyday. I realized that was not true. God sees me through love. I am His child and I have not sinned today. My Father has taken care of my sin.
Now this is not a direct quote but shows the gist of statement. Now it seems a large swath of Christianity doe feel this way. We are currently in a sermon series in I John and the first and second chapter deals with this issue. Are we rank sinners, or are we God’s children that are blameless?
- Actually both. Luther famously said “simul justus et peccator”, meaning simultaneously just and a sinner. I believe that John teaches that we do still sin. We are not made perfect and sins of omission, commission, and ignorance still occur. I feel that John strongly disagrees with sinless perfection using very clear, forceful language in saying we make God a liar if we say we have no sin. So Luther rightly observes our sinfulness. Yet, he also observes the saint’s position in Christ as just. We are just before God on the basis of Christ and are His children, greatly beloved of God.
- A healthy understanding of both concepts is essential to the believer. Move too far in each direction presents an unhealthy theology resulting in unhealthy praxeology. The obvious danger is an eschewed view of man’s depraved nature and God’s holiness. The other ditch of danger is to minimize the glorious work of Christ in paying for sin and keeping the sinner from falling.
- Look at it this way, we have a seed of righteousness in us by the new birth. That seed grows until it produces much fruit of the Spirit i.e. righteousness. This is the exact metaphor used by Christ and the apostles over and over in scripture. The truth is we have, through the Holy Spirit, a progressive holiness and a complete justification.
- It works out like this: constant confession of sin and constant forgiveness of God in Christ and constant grace for inclination to holiness.
In conclusion, a balanced approach is most Biblical. We are surely loved and our sins covered by our Father in Christ. However, we remain in fallen flesh and are not what we shall be. Our sin is real and horrible. We must “confess our sin and He is faithful and just to forgive us of all our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”