Sinner Or Saint?
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1Peter 4:7-11
My good friend Dr. Joe likes to ask the question, “Are you a sinner saved by grace or a saint that sins occasionally?” He always asks this question when he is teaching about being a son and a daughter in the house of God. At first it’s a thought provoking question, it makes you also wonder if it’s a trick question. In reality it’s talking about an attitude that we should have. It’s so easy to fall prey to mediocrity when you first become a saint. There is bad teaching out there that says once we say a prayer we are saved and that’s it. There is so much more to the Christian life than just saying a prayer. There is so much more to salvation than saying a prayer and still living to please yourself. The question of sainthood speaks to the idea that is Jesus Christ Lord of your life, or is He just savior?
The above scripture verses perfectly describe what sainthood really means. By the way, God does not see us as sinners any longer, He sees us as saints. The first thing Peter brings up here is loving each other deeply. It covers a multitude of sins. It’s interesting, the Word says to confess our sins not only to God, but to each other. Yet we hide our sins from each other being shameful of them and thinking that if we open our lives to our brothers and sisters that we would be judged by them. Possibly that could happen, but if we are to love each other deeply like Peter is talking about; that shouldn’t happen. It takes finding the right people to share these things with. It also takes a certain amount of risk and stepping out of our comfort zone, but I so believe in the power of numbers and how God uses people to heal people.
The next thing Peter talks about is serving one another without complaining. In other words love each other. What a better way to show love than to do it serving our brothers and sisters. When we don’t have a good attitude about serving, then we miss the joy of serving. It becomes a dry routine when we don’t have the love involved in it.
How we serve is by using our God given talents; whatever they,or it may be. Sometimes we may have to serve for a season that may not be our gifting. Granted there is more joy if we are using our God given talents to serve people. God may want to stretch you by putting you somewhere to learn to rely on Him more and less on yourself. Peter goes on to say that when we are serving we have to do it with the power God provides. That’s exactly what I am talking about. What is the power Peter is talking about that God provides? It’s love, pure and simple. Love is an action, not a feeling. Love is a choice, not a thing that just happens. Love is a saint attitude, knowing you are God’s son or daughter. What’s your attitude towards God’s house? Our language at the Life Church is once you become a member it’s no longer their church or his church, but your church. That’s what Dr. Joe is meaning with his awesome question. Are you still a sinner or a saint. A sinner keeps the attitude that I cannot change or get any better. They don’t look at themselves as God looks at them. They are limited by their own clouded view of what salvation really means.
On the other hand a saint lives their life making the right choices and doing what God wants them to do for others. They don’t focus on themselves, but they focus on others and how they can help people. Saint’s are not perfect, they are striving toward perfection, but won’t reach it until we are out of this fleshly body. So, let’s ask Dr. Joe’s question again, are you just a sinner saved by grace, or are you a saint that sins occasionally? Don’t allow mediocrity to hold you down, fly with godly choices and steps toward a dynamic life. When you do this, the wind beneath your wings will be God’s Agape love and you will sore and be free as a bird and you will no doubt inspire someone along the way.