Sunday, January 18, 2009

Christian, what do you consider yourself to be?

I've got a question to ask Christians. It's intentionally closed. It's a one answer or another thing. Each carries baggage, and there will be "more to the story" than what your basic answer will convey.

Being aware of all that, Christian do you consider yourself to be either;

a. A sinner saved by Grace

b. A saint being conformed to the image of Christ

You can comment here or you can consider it on your own, but I hope some will comment. If you do comment please answer first. It's OK to explain your answer but commit to one or the other. Note to those who don't like either or questions - this is not a trap.

18 comments:

Kevl said...

I choose B.

I know that I am a sinner saved by Grace, but right now I see myself more as a Saint being conformed to the image of Christ. That's where I'm living right now.

How about you?

Kev

Stephen said...

Hmm, my gut reaction is A but B is compelling.

A draws attention to my sinfulness
B draws attention to my ongoing daily walk.

A is where I was at the moment of salvation.
B is where I've been, positionally, ever since then.

Both are true, but the predominant reality is B.

B Regis, final answer.

Missy said...

Kevin,

I see myself most often as B.

Your answer seems to indicate that you, like I, see both statements as true, though. Hopefully the rest of the story will explain? :)

I appreciate your straightforwardness in the way it is worded and the assurance it is not a trap.

Jan said...

Boy. That's a tough one. My initial answer is just "yes." But since I have to choose one....

Hmmm.

Oh dear. I can't choose. Alas, I am both!

I am terrible at choice questions. True or False questions on tests were sheer torture. Multiple choice only slightly better.

Essays. I need essays.

JanH

Lou Martuneac said...

Well, Jan beat me to it, nevertheless my answer is "Yes."


Lou

Kevl said...

Ah common' guys. It's not about what is true, for if you are saved then both are. But what do you identify with "most."

Either is a perfectly valid answer.


Your answer isn't for me anyway, but it's important for you. How we see ourselves in Christ determines the limit of our ministry in Him.

Which is a REALLY short way of expressing what my Pastor spoke about at small group this week.

Kev

Kevl said...

I think many of us have been so conditioned to make sure that people, including ourselves, are aware that A is true that we don't allow ourselves the freedom and fruitfulness of living in B.

Thanks for your like-minded struggled answers Stephen and Missy.

Thoughts?

Kev

Missy said...

I agree, Kevin.

I do keep in mind, though, that there are many days I need to live in the humility of A before I can get back to B. :)

(my word verification says "yesones"!)

Stanley Wong said...

Hi Kev,

I WAS a sinner saved by grace but now I AM a saint being conformed to the image of Christ.
---> I was a sinner because of Adam's disobedience. After I have been saved by grace through faith in Christ, I am made perfect and a saint being conformed to the image of Christ (Rom 5:17, Heb 10:14).

Rom 5:17
For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

Heb 10:14
For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy.

Rom 1:7
To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Eph 1:1
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:

Phi 1:1
Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:

Stephen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephen said...

Kev, Stanley, Missy, my thoughts are very similar and I think this passage says it well.

Philippians 3:13a-16:
"Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, with this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let those of us who are “perfect” embrace this point of view. If you think otherwise, God will reveal to you the error of your ways. Nevertheless, let us live up to the standard that we have already attained.

Kevl said...

Stephen, do you think we can/should have the attitude of B even when our walk makes us look more like A?

Kev

Stephen said...

I read your comment early this morning and I've been thinking about it of-and-on all day.

Referring back to Phil 3:13b - 16 which I quoted above, yes, I think we should have the attitude of B even when our walk looks like A. In this context, A might lead me to be humbled when I ought be, but B is a call to actually do something about that sin which humbled me so. I think of the mirror in James 1:24-25. A is like looking in the mirror and is the catalyst for change, B is how I respond to what I saw.

Jan said...

Having pondered this for a bit here are my updated thoughts.

Maybe how I see myself depends on how I am living at the moment. If I am in sin (or being convicted) I will see myself as A. But when I am in fellowship with the Lord I can see myself as B more clearly.

Also, I think that if I abide in the B state, it will be less likely that I will demonstrate A.

Thankfully, the Lord has made provision for both states.

JanH

Kevl said...

Hi Jan,

Your thoughts are those that led me to ask Stephen about when we should be seeing ourselves as B.

I tend to do the same as you. When my walk is straighter I think I'm B, but when I stumble I immediately jump back into looking at myself as only A.

I don't think abiding in B should ever make us forget that we are A, but I think it gives us the freedom to expect bigger and better things and to trust God fully - knowing He's taking us not just to B, but all the way to the actual image of Christ.

Kev

Stanley Wong said...

Hi Kev,

You said,"I don't think abiding in B should ever make us forget that we are A ..."

I respectfully disagree with your statement that we are A i.e. a sinner.

We were A, we are not A. We were sinners not because of our sinful deeds but because of Adam's sin.

We are B, not because of our own good deeds but because of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross.

Romans 5:19 (NLT)
Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.

Even when we sin now, we are not sinners. Our sins cannot undo Jesus' finished work on the cross which has made us righteous in God's eyes.

We were born as sinners through Adam but we are born again as saints through Christ.

It is all about position. That is why when Paul wrote his epistles to the churches, he addressed the disciples as saints even though he proceeded to admonish them later for their sinful deeds.

For example,Prince Harry of Great Britain was photographed by the press attending a costume party in a Nazi uniform. This is not how a prince should behave but this stupid act by Prince Harry does not undo the fact that he is a prince.

We are saints being conformed to the image of Christ. Yes, we do sin now and then because we still have the flesh with us but that does not affect our status as saints.

Paul describes this struggle with the flesh in Romans 7. In vv18-20, Paul says:
18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

Kevl said...

Hi Stanley, sorry for this being short. It's "Date Night" with my wife and I'm really looking forward to it.

I totally agree that we are not positionally sinners any more. That title is not fitting a saint in Christ because in the eyes of the one and only Judge we are spotless.

I guess I'm asking how people view themselves, not what they actually are.

Do you view yourself in the fullness of a Saint, or are you still just living in the fact that God saved you in His Grace (which is incredible do not hear what I'm not saying).

the difference is how we live, how we expect God to work in, through and for us. It sets the ceiling on our expectations.

I don't think any Christian should ever call themselves a sinner.

Kev

Kevl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.