Are you a forgiven sinner or a saint?
This is an important question to ask yourself. Are you merely a sinner saved by grace? Or are you a saint? What does the Bible say about you as a child of God? If you see yourself as a dirty old sinner who's just been forgiven, it's going to hinder you from coming into all that God's given you as His child! If Prince Charles thought he was a street bum, he could be living off the street and sleeping in the park, when he's actually entitled to live in a castle! That's how important it is for us to know who we are, as children of God!! The Bible didn't even call the church at Corinth forgiven sinners, but Paul referred to them as saints, and that was the most sinful church in the early church... they gloated over a man having incest with his mother! Yet they were still known as saints according to God's Word! God's Word is clear that our old sinful man has died (Romans 6:11) and was buried with Christ (Romans 6:2, 4), and we are new creatures in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17).
The word 'sinner'
If you look up the word sinner in the NT Greek, you'll find the Greek word hamartolos, which means:
This means that a forgiven sinner is a person who has been forgiven, but is STILL in bondage to sin! Are we in bondage to sin? In John 8:31-36 Jesus speaks of believers who were in bondage to sin due to ignorance, but we don't have to be! In verse 36, Jesus tells us that, "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." We are legally freed from the power of sin, but we can remain in bondage to sin due to our own ignorance of the truth!
What a 'forgiven sinner' actually is
As I said before, if you look up the word "sinners" in the NT Greek, it gives us this interpretation:
1) devoted to sin, a sinner
Would you consider yourself a "Forgiven person who is devoted to sin"?
a) not free from sin
Would you consider yourself somebody who is forgiven, but not freed from sin? (Romans 6:18, "Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.")
b) pre-eminently sinful, especially wicked
Would you consider yourself somebody who is forgiven but especially wicked?
1) all wicked men
Would you consider yourself a forgiven wicked person?
2a) tax collectors, heathen
Would you consider yourself a forgiven heathen?
Basically, a forgiven sinner is somebody who has been forgiven, but they are not freed from the power of sin.
Jesus didn't just die to forgive us of our sins, but also to deliver us from the power of sin! If He only came to forgive us, then we could use the term 'forgiven sinner'.
I don't know about you, but the old 'sinner' in me died (Romans 6:11), and was buried with Christ (Romans 6:2, 4), and I am a new creation in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17)!
What is the difference?
As you know, a forgiven sinner would be somebody who was forgiven, but is still in bondage to sin. God's Word makes it clear that we not only have had our sins forgiven, but we have also been set free from the power of sin. A saint is a person who is holy, and we are given the righteousness of God through the work Jesus did on the cross:
2 Corinthians 5:21, "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
Unlike forgiven sinners, we have not only been forgiven our sins, but also set free from the bondage of sin:
Romans 6:18, "Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness."
John 8:36, "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."
You are a saint!
A saint is somebody who is holy, and we have been made holy with the righteousness of God through the blood shed by Christ Jesus! 2 Corinthians 5:21, "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
1 Corinthians 1:2, "Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:" This passage tells us that the letters Paul wrote to Corinth, were geared towards all who call upon the name of the Lord, and later on He refers to the believers reading these letters as saints in 1 Corinthians 6:2.
Just after Paul got done chewing out the saints at Corinth for rejoicing over the man who was having incest with his mother, Paul turns right around and refers to them as saints in 1 Corinthians 6:2, "Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?"
If Paul still referred to them as saints, then I think it becomes clear that a saint is not somebody who is perfect by the things they did, but somebody who's been made perfect through the blood of Jesus!
We are not to dwell on our past sins
Hebrews 10:17, "And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more."
If God Himself chooses not to remember our sins, then who are we to remember something that God Himself has chosen to forget?
Philippians 3:13, "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,"
Breaking the power of sin
One of the biggest reasons why we may remain in bondage to sin, even though we have been 'legally' set free, is because of ignorance of the truth. Jesus speaks of this in John 8:31-36: "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."
One time I was tempted to sin, but the Lord brought me to this one picture of a cute baby bird in somebody's hands, and somebody wrote a Bible verse on the picture about the goodness of God. I realized that I didn't even THINK of sinning after thinking about what a good and loving God we serve!! My point? The more we become aware of the goodness and the love of God, the more we will love Him, and the more we will develop a bitter hatred for sin, because as we become more like Him, the more we love the things He loves and hate the things He hates. After all, it's the goodness of God that leadeth us to repentance: Romans 2:4, "Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?"
Once you begin to grasp the goodness of God, your love for Him will grow because of the love that He has for you (1 John 4:19), and out of your love for Him, you will begin to naturally keep Jesus' commandments as Jesus said in John 14:23, "...If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." As we grow in love for God, we also grow in love for one another (1 John 5:1), and out of our love for one another, we will naturally fulfill the law by loving one another (Romans 13:8, "...love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.").
Meditating on God's Word and learning of the goodness of God is very powerful in the tearing down of strongholds (incorrect thinking patterns based on lies and deception). I believe one of the reasons King David developed a very intimate relationship with God is because he spent a lot of time alone out in the field with Him.
Did you know that knowing (realizing) the love of Christ allows us to to filled with the fullness of God? Ephesians 3:19, "And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God."