Just An Old Sinner (ATP)
So though this was not specifically a question, it was in a question and I felt led to use it as a teachable moment: “we are all sinners”.
One of my jobs as a pastor is to correct false doctrine. In doing so, I am not attacking an individual but simply looking at things that are unscriptural and making them right. Religion has put so many bad things in people and it is quite a job getting that out. I still find myself saying or doing something and the Spirit will correct me and say, “I never said that!” Wow!
Our words are very important, the Bible teaches us this. Our words spoken from a place of belief are very effective, both good and bad. For example, I am always bothered when a person talks about a sickness they have and places ownership on it. “My allergies are acting up” or “my arthritis is bothering me.” We need to speak good faith words and those sicknesses and diseases are not yours! I’m not saying to ignore them, I’m saying don’t claim them! The first step to cure is using your authority to rebuke and reject what is ailing you!
So yes, the idea that we are just sinners. Technically speaking, all humans have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Technically. However, our focus according to scripture should NOT be this fact. Look at Psalms 107:2, “Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy.” The word redeemed means to buy back. Specifically in the oriental tradition of what’s called kinsmen redemption. It is an ancient law where when a person loses something, the next of kin has the right to go purchase it back for them. This is what happened with us. Though we were sold under sin, Jesus came to redeem or buy us back, freeing us from that original purchase. If we have been freed from that, no one has right to put that back on us. Even us!
It is easy for us, being acquainted with our own weaknesses, to feel that we are not redeemed. Many days I do not even remotely “feel” saved. Thank God I do not have to live by how I feel. If I did, I’d be just as hopeless as before and never make it to Heaven. Shoot, I wouldn’t ever make it to the pulpit! Thank God Jesus changed all that!
Often when counseling someone who is dealing with hopelessness, I encourage them to meditate on Philippians 4:8. “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” This scripture does not tell us to pretend there is nothing bad in the world. It doesn’t say you won’t see anymore trial if you think you won’t. It simply instructs us where we are to put our thoughts.
And not just your thoughts! In the Old Testament the word meditate also means to mutter or speak. Here it also means to reason. The idea is that our focus in what we think about and talk about has got to be on good things. Again, not that you ignore it, just don’t make it your focus. You can recognize trial without meditating on it. “I see this or this is happening, however, my God is for me and has never forsaken me. So this time, just like in the past, He will rescue me!” Stating this truth in adversity is where your joy and peace will begin to take shape. Staying with it will ensure that it grows!
So what about being a sinner? If you focus on being a sinner, it will be easier for you to act as such. If however you focus on being redeemed, blood bought, set free, and endued with Holy Spirit power (the same power that raised Jesus from the dead), imagine how your outlook will be! Imagine going through life thinking about yourself that way! You can’t be depressed when you’re convinced that His power to live is in you! You can’t accept defeat when you’re convinced that beyond your own ability, you can’t lose!
Some people embrace being a sinner. As one who has been redeemed I look at it past tense. After all, how I lived yesterday doesn’t matter if I live better today. I may have been a sinner but now I am redeemed. I may still make a mistake but it will be as a redeemed one who missed it, not as a sinner who embraces it!