simultaneously saint and sinner

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by MojoTurbo, Feb 10, 2011.

  1. MojoTurbo

    MojoTurbo
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2011
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    0
    Do you ever think that God doesn’t want to use you or bless you because of your sin? Like, maybe you have to get your act together first… read your bible more, pray more, sit in meditation while chanting “My God is so big” before He takes you seriously? I get those thoughts sometimes, especially now while I feel my life has been put on hold.

    “God isn’t going to use you until you clean up your act.”

    “God doesn’t need people like you.”

    “You’re not good enough.”

    I carried this self-deprecating idea into the book of Romans and it got me thinking about Paul. In Romans, Paul says a lot to the idea of sin and the idea that we don’t “measure up” in God’s eyes. But first, remember in 2 Corinthians 12:7, Paul writes…

    “So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.”

    There is a lot of speculation as to what this “thorn” can be. Some scholars believe it was a physical ailment like blindness or stuttering. Other ideas suspect the “thorn” was an outside persecution from a specific person and the fact that he says this persecution is linked to “a messenger from Satan,” there are those that think Paul’s thorn was a temptation of weakness in the flesh. Either way… Paul never tells his reader.

    Do we get that? Paul has an “issue” and we can guess to heck and gone what it “might be,” but we don’t know. He never confesses that sin to us. It’s a secret. He confesses it enough to let his reader know it’s there and that he struggles with it. He even says in the next verse…

    v.8 “Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.”

    So we know it is a part of his prayer life, but it isn’t a prayer that ever gets answered from God. No matter what “it” is, God never takes this trial away from him.

    v9 “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

    This takes me back to Romans 7, take what we know of Paul’s “thorn” and read the following passage.

    v.15-20 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

    Granted that’s a lot to take in, but the message is pretty clear. Paul is “doing something” that he is struggling with. He doesn’t want to do it, he has prayed that God would remove that temptation from him, but we have no evidence that it was ever taken away from him. Paul knows what the “right” thing to do is, and it is killing him that he doesn’t always hit that mark. In fact Paul even writes..

    1 Timothy 1:15 “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.”

    The word that Paul uses for “foremost” is the word “protos.” The King James translates this word as “chief” and the word means “principal” or “first in rank.” The word even carries with it a sense of influence – a chief is in charge of others. First in rank like a captain or general. Basically, Paul is saying, “out of all of the sinners in this world, I’m number one. I’m the boss.”

    Paul says his sin is a temptation and a weakness. It’s something that he is doing, and he can’t stop. He has asked God to remove it from him to no avail. And it grieves him so much, that he calls himself the biggest sinner who has ever lived.

    Do you think it’s easier to think that Paul struggled with a stutter or blindness, because it makes Paul out to still be a Christian legend in our eyes, but Paul certainly doesn’t think of himself that way.

    What if Paul struggled with adultery?

    Would it change your opinion of him? Would it change your opinion of scripture? Paul was a member of the Sanhedrin and there is some evidence that shows that these men were required to be married. What if Paul’s temptation was temple prostitutes?

    First let me say I don’t see any evidence that points to this, but I decided to “jump” to possibly the worst thing I could think of. Adultery certainly “fits” with the things I talked about above, and we know it’s a struggle that we see in the modern church. A 2000 Christianity Today survey found that 37 percent of pastors said pornography is a “current struggle” of theirs; and a study of pastors sponsored by Christianity Today found that 23% of 300 pastors admitted some form of sexually inappropriate behavior with someone other than their wives while in the ministry.

    And when we hear about pastors who cheat on their spouse, fraud the church treasury, or steal their church elder’s identity… (yea, it just happened this past month)….we shake our heads and say…

    “If you can’t trust your pastor, who can you trust?”

    Well the answer to that is… nobody. But it’s shouldn’t be a surprise to you, the bible said it…

    Romans 3: 10-12

    None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”

    And guess what? That includes pastors. That inner voice in me that tells me that I am no good – it’s there in all of us – convincing us that our inner darkness will keep us from serving God. But the truth of the matter is, God can’t use perfect people – because there are no perfect people.

    Paul says in 1 Timothy 1:16

    I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.

    So even though he is the “chief sinner,” Christ works in him as a minister, as a pastor, as a mentor, as a leader to assist others to come to the faith.

    No matter what Paul’s thorn actually was, Paul says that it is used to keep him “humble” and God uses him as a church leader in spite of it.

    Paul writes about this struggle further in Romans 7

    v.22-25 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

    Paul says his mind and flesh are in conflict with two separate Torahs. Remember we are all new creations in Christ. There is no longer an “old self” that struggles with the temptations of this world. We were “circumcised with Christ” (Colossians 2) and we are no longer judged by the law. So Paul is not talking about a struggle of old self and new – he says quite plainly that this is a struggle between the law of God and the law of sin. In fact he says very clearly that the law of sin is not “his own actions.”

    v.20 “If I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.”

    And at first read that sounds a bit like a justification or a cop-out. “Hey, it’s not me that’s stealing, it’s the sin that lives in me.” But how does that fit with what we know of forgiveness and grace? When Christ died on the cross, he forgave all of your sins and the truth is, at that moment in time – you had not been born, at that moment in time – you had committed no sin at all.

    If your fiancée died before your wedding date – would you still go through with the marriage? Of course not, you can’t marry a dead person. But Paul says the same thing about us in Romans 6.

    v. 2-4 How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

    Our old sinful self is dead. Christ didn’t marry a dead person, he takes on a new relationship, a new covenant with the new person of spirit that we are today. Christ doesn’t see us as sinful, as wretched, as dirty or even as the “chief among sinners.” Don’t listen to those voices that say you’re not good enough.

    Let me say that again, because I need to hear it as well….

    Don’t listen to the voices that say you’re not good enough.

    God uses us all – he ministers through betrayers, speaks through thieves, moves mountains through braggarts, and rules nations through adulterers (don’t believe me? Read your scriptures).

    One last thing from Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:27-31

    God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

    Id love to see your comments here: http://www.dckenney.com/?p=2600
     
  2. Amy.G

    Amy.G
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2006
    Messages:
    13,103
    Likes Received:
    0
    I personally (IMO) think Paul's thorn was an evil spirit (messenger from Satan) constantly reminding him of his persecution of the church. Paul called himself the "chief of sinners" because of his part in the murder and persecution of the saints.

    God did answer Paul's prayer but not the way Paul had hoped. God told him His grace was sufficient.

    I think God allowed Paul's thorn to keep him humble. Paul himself said that he had every reason to boast because he was a Benjamite, a Pharisee of Pharisees, he had the best rabbinical training available from Gamaliel and yet with all of his intelligence and training, he missed the coming of the Messiah and persecuted the church. God had to literally knock him off his high horse to get his attention.

    This is all my opinion, so it's worth about 2 cents including the price of inflation. :)
     
  3. MojoTurbo

    MojoTurbo
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2011
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    0
    Oh I have no doubt that Paul struggled with his past - after all he was a murderer. But scripture still indicates that he struggled with something that he was currently doing....

    v.15-20 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
     
  4. Amy.G

    Amy.G
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2006
    Messages:
    13,103
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think what Paul was describing was what we all, as sinners have to deal with. That is the war between the flesh and the spirit. As Christians who love our Lord, we do not want to sin, yet we still do.
    I don't think he was referring to any particular sin of his own.
     
  5. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Messages:
    13,379
    Likes Received:
    728
    Sometimes God is dealing with us,sometimes it is spiritual warfare.
    From Thomas Boston:

    here is the whole link;
    http://www.gracegems.org/Brooks/precious_remedies_against_satan5.htm
     
    #5 Iconoclast, Feb 10, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 10, 2011
  6. convicted1

    convicted1
    Expand Collapse
    Retired Staff

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2007
    Messages:
    9,011
    Likes Received:
    3
    Bro. MoJo,

    I have heard people say that they are "sinners saved by grace", using sinner in "present tense". I completely disagree with this statement. I used to be a sinner, but now I am a CHRISTian saved by the blood of the Lamb!!

    My "inner man" has been cleansed by the blood, and it receieved a drink of "living water" that is in me a well springing up into everlasting life! Praise His sweet name!!

    The warfare we have now is between our flesh(which has not been delivered from the curse of sin) and our soul(which has been set free by His blood)!!

    2 Cor. 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:

    4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; )

    5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

    6And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

    1 Tim. 6:11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

    12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

    Through these spiritual battles, we get battle-tested, and we get strength from these, knwong that it was God all along who fought these battles for us!!

    i am I AM's!!

    Willis



    :
     
    #6 convicted1, Feb 10, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 11, 2011
  7. convicted1

    convicted1
    Expand Collapse
    Retired Staff

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2007
    Messages:
    9,011
    Likes Received:
    3
    Brother, I think(this is my opinion anyway) that what Paul was getting at was that in the flesh dwelleth no good thing. This meaning that the natural body hasn't been cleaned up yet, whereas the inner man(soul) has. The struggle he had was with his flesh getting in the way of pleasing God. Our flesh wants to please itself, whereas our soul wants to please Him. This is what I think Apostle Paul was referring to....but like I said, it is my opinion.

    i am I AM's!!

    Willis
     
  8. Crabtownboy

    Crabtownboy
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2008
    Messages:
    16,629
    Likes Received:
    158
    Remember ... every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.

    Paul had a past.
    Paul also had a future.
     
    #8 Crabtownboy, Feb 11, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 11, 2011
  9. freeatlast

    freeatlast
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2004
    Messages:
    10,295
    Likes Received:
    0
    To give the saved the title as sinner is not biblical. That is a designation for the lost, not the saved. There is absolutely no reason to believe that Paul's thorn in the flesh was some sin in his life except to seek to justify our own. Paul said this about himself while he was under the law;
    Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, [of] the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
    Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

    If he was blameless while under the law he did not suddenly start sinning after he was saved by grace.
    Also Paul said this after his conversion;
    But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.
    For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.

    In other words Paul knew of no on going sin in his life.
    So like I said the only reason to hold that Paul had some secret sin in his life is because someone wants to justify their own.

    The idea that someone can serve God when they are in sin is totally different then what the bible teaches. This statement is nothing sort of false doctrine;
    "God uses us all – he ministers through betrayers, speaks through thieves, moves mountains through braggarts, and rules nations through adulterers (don’t believe me? Read your scriptures)."
    By the way I agree don't believe you because this is false!
    While it is true that God will use even the lost to do His bidding he does not call anyone into service with their sin. If there is on going sin in the life the person they first need to get rid of it before they take on His work. This is not sinless perfection. It is coming to the place where there is nothing that anyone including self can point to that is ongoing and dishonors the Lord.
    It is those who once were those things that He uses not those who are engaged in them.This idea that is being suggested that we can serve while in sin is why the church is in the trouble it is in today and it is false and needs to be repented of.
     
    #9 freeatlast, Feb 11, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 11, 2011
  10. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Messages:
    13,379
    Likes Received:
    728
    1Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

    Saints are still able to sin....while living here on earth in this body.
    That is why we are told to mortify sin. We are no longer bound by it,we are free to serve God now.
     
  11. webdog

    webdog
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Messages:
    24,691
    Likes Received:
    0
    Interesting take on the thorn. I've heard vision problems which would make sense by being blinded and not writing his own letters, even homosexuality (which I think is way out there). I'll have to chew on that one...

    Your above bolded got my attention. I swear I have heard that before...maybe that is why some refer to Paul as a calvinist able to grasp and speak about such deep theological issues :D
     
  12. mets65

    mets65
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2011
    Messages:
    392
    Likes Received:
    0
    So some people think that because we are saved we are no longer sinners? I don't care what you call it, we still sin.
     
  13. freeatlast

    freeatlast
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2004
    Messages:
    10,295
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well it is too bad that you do not care because God has already spoken on the issue. Saved people are not designated as sinners. That term is a term of being in rebellion and those who have been saved are not in rebellion. We are called saints, not sinners. Yes from time to time we do sin, but that is out of character for the saint while sin is the character of the sinner.
     
  14. sag38

    sag38
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Messages:
    4,394
    Likes Received:
    1
    Yes, I do sin. Like Peter, I need my feet washed (figuratively speaking-I'm not a foot washing Baptist). However, I am not a "sinner" in the classical sense of the term. I am a Christian, bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ, cleansed by His blood now and forever more, and His child.
     
  15. Alive in Christ

    Alive in Christ
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2008
    Messages:
    3,822
    Likes Received:
    0
    Convicted...

    That is 100% correct, but we can even take it further. Not only are we christians who sin....we are SAINTS who sin.

    The word saint has nothing at all to do with some *supposedly* super duper *holy* person who lives in an igloo out in the desert somewhere.

    "Saint" is a synonem for "christian" :wavey:

    We are saints of God who dont want to sin...but we still do.

    And Glory to God the scriptures inform us that God is no longer holding our sins against us.

    We are justified through faith in Christ. God says he will "remember our sins and lawless deeds" no more."

    "Blessed is the man to whom God will not impute sin"

    Praise God, I better stop....this baptist is about to SHOUT~! :laugh:


    Aic
     
  16. Amy.G

    Amy.G
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2006
    Messages:
    13,103
    Likes Received:
    0
    WOOOOOT! There. I shouted for ya!


    Baptist raising hands ------------------> [​IMG] oh my :eek:
     
  17. Alive in Christ

    Alive in Christ
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2008
    Messages:
    3,822
    Likes Received:
    0
    Oh no! Amy...we are baptists who are shouting and raising hands. :eek:

    We gonna be in BIIIG trouble. :laugh:












    AiC
     
  18. MojoTurbo

    MojoTurbo
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2011
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    0
    granted - I think in a room we would agree - but there is a difference with labeling yourself a sinner - and saying that we still sin.
     
  19. convicted1

    convicted1
    Expand Collapse
    Retired Staff

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2007
    Messages:
    9,011
    Likes Received:
    3
    Thanks for the input. Whenever we read His Word, we need to seperate the "inner man" from the "outer man". When salvation takes place, it cleanses our "inner man", but the "outer man" still has sin in it, because it wasn't cleaned up at the time He came in to our lives. This is why we sin, but the "inner man" is like a bit in a horse's mouth. Whenever we stray away too far, one way or the other, then our spirit, which has been born again/born from above, it has been made perfect, and will draw our flesh back from the worldly things. This is the way we crucify our flesh. By heeding to the Spirit, which guides us in the path of righteousness, we can walk the CHRISTian walk, and talk the CHRISTian talk.

    Here is a verse to chew on:

    1 John 3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

    Look at the word "seed". When Jesus made reference to the "seed", it was the Word. Jesus is the Word that was made flesh, and dwelled among us. So this verse is talking about our soul/spirit/inner man, that can't sin because God has cleaned it up. So in essence, our soul is sin free/can't sin, but our flesh, it still stumbles in sin. That is why I say I am a CHRISTian, and not a sinner. I have been set free by His blood, by His love, by His grace, and one day, I will see His face!! Praise His sweet name!!

    i am I AM's!!

    Willis
     
  20. freeatlast

    freeatlast
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2004
    Messages:
    10,295
    Likes Received:
    0
    No there is no difference. Biblically a sinner is lost. It is a term for the rebellious. No Christian should ever apply that term to themselves. Once saved we are saints who will never again return to the act of rebellion because it is impossible. 1John 3
     

Share This Page

Loading...