I’m not a sinner and I am not ashamed to admit that I am not a sinner either. However, I’ve noticed there is a tendency to see this phrase, “I’m not a sinner” in a negative light and is often interpreted as, “I’ve never sinned.” My statement, however, says nothing about my past but rather is focused on my identity.
Scripture tells us that “All have sinned…” (Romans 3:23). Since this Scripture uses the term, ALL, I am included in this. I completely agree with that as well! Yes, I have no issue telling anyone that I have sinned. In fact, sin is my contribution to God’s plan in saving me.
Scripture further tells us that, “If we say we are without sin, we make God a liar. (1 John 1:8) Again, I agree with the Scriptures on this issue and I do not suggest I am without sin. Again, I will say that it is my own sin that I contributed to the plan of salvation. Without my sin, I would have no need for the sacrifice of Jesus.
Well, if I have sinned and fallen short and I admit that I have sin in me, doesn’t that make me a sinner? No, it does not make me a sinner. The difference that changes everything is this…
In Christ, I am not a sinner.
2 Corinthians 5:17 “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; the new life has begun.”
My identity is secured in the person and the completed work of Christ Jesus alone. My old nature, my old self (being a sinner) is now gone. Being released from the sinful nature in me means I must becoming something or someone though.
2 Corinthians 5:21, “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.”
I was a sinner, prior to being saved by grace through faith. I became the very righteousness of God through the work of Christ. What I was and who I am are radically changed by Christ.
Romans 5:6, 8:
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. . . But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners Christ died for us.”
First please note that Christ died for the ungodly (vs. 6) and then Christ died for sinners (vs. 8). Paul equates the ungodly with sinners. Christians are never characterized as ungodly. Next, note that the past tense is used while we were still sinners. That clearly implies a change of status.
As believers, we should strive to live out who we are and not who we once were.
When I say I am not a sinner, I do not suggest that I have never sinned, for I have. However, Christ has given me a new identity and that new identity is not me being a sinner. If I maintain my old nature, then I am not a new person in Christ but rather a refurbished product. That insinuates Christ gives us a second chance when the Word clearly says he makes us new.
When I say I am not a sinner I am not saying I don’t currently sin. The truth is I still struggle with sin. Paul understood the struggle with sin and outlined that struggle in many of his letters. The victory over sin is not won in trying harder to overcome the sin but by the transformation that comes through the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2) and taking captive every thought to the obedience of Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:10)
When I say I am not a sinner, I am saying that I chose to place my identity in Christ and as I continue to walk in fellowship with him, sin loses its power over me. Christ in me is the hope of glory. Christ in me is the difference maker. Christ in me changes everything.
“…as He is so also are we in this world.” (1 John 4:17, ESV)