Some people believe more in the idea of being a “sinner” than in the fact that they do not have to be one. This lie that is promoted in church cultures has been one of the most dangerous teachings to the truth of who God is and who He wants us to be. Sure, it sounds right and even spiritual because of its popularity but we must correct the understanding in order to help people know God as He is and know themselves as they are.
It is true that many people were once “sinners” before they trusted in Jesus Christ. He is the only one who can take away sin and make people clean. It is not true that people have to be “sinners” after they have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness (the lifestyle and identity of a sinner) to the Kingdom of light (lifestyle and identity of a royal saint and or child of God in right standing with their Father). When one is “born again”, as the popular term goes, one has been made new and has in fact become a new creation. This is what Holy Spirit teaches through the Scriptures. The idea of remaining a sinner perpetuates lies that exalt themselves above the knowledge of God and basically nullifies the power of Jesus in someone’s life. This leads to a life of immaturity and constant defeat with the only hope for a person is to die in order to be set free from this bondage. (Someone once said that to believe this makes death your savior and not Jesus. I agree) This means that faith in God, in this life, is little to non-existent, which is dangerous both for our present world and for other people’s eternity.
The fact is that God makes people new. He removes the lifestyle and identity of sin in those who walk with Him. Does this mean that those walk with Him will not sin? Not necessarily. But it does mean that they do not have to. It also means that they are identified as righteous with a bent towards obeying God instead of a bent towards disobedience to Him. We should highlight the truth of God first and from that foundation we walk it out. Otherwise, we create powerless ideas that lock people into immaturity and faithlessness in God (in the name of truth!).
The true standard is that we do not have to sin. We are not sinners. And if we do sin we have an advocate in Jesus to correct our weakness. A lifestyle of humility and being teachable is a sure way to continue the process of righteousness that actually manifests what God says can be true of those who walk with Him. A lifestyle of repentance is key. In cultures where people are still sinners after they have supposedly trusted in God, repentance is usually considered to be those who only acknowledge their sin or weaknesses but do nothing to correct it. They are supposedly spiritual for being honest with their mistakes but they are actually most fleshly or non-spiritual precisely because they do nothing to correct it! They are actually just as mature in practice as someone who does not know God and lives a life of sin.
The key again is this. Jesus makes people literally brand new. People are no longer known as sinners and thus do not have to live like one. People do not have to sin. People who walk with God are bent towards doing what is right. If people who walk with God sin, they are quick to acknowledge it and change it so they do not sin again. This lifestyle sows the fruit of righteousness wherever it goes because it is both honest with the truth of what God says and it is honest with where they are at on that journey of manifesting the truth of what God says. This is true humility and it flows from the identity of who God is and who He says we are.
Living a lifestyle of repentance is living a lifestyle of walking humbly with God. It is an ever increasing life that knows and manifests God’s ways as we go from glory to glory and truth to truth without believing lies that seem spiritual but keep people deceived. The truth will set you free and if you don’t think so, then you will remain not free indeed, just the way some churches have taught you.
Be like those who shine and if you put a bucket over your light, take it off and shine all the more.