This is a tough one. There is a mindset that stubbornly hangs on with us born-again Christians. It may seem like we’re just being humble and “real.” But it is about as unbiblical as thinking we can go to heaven by our good works outweighing our bad. It may shock you. I'm talking about the idea that Christians continue on being just "poor sinners saved by grace."
As Paul would say, "God forbid!" (except he'd say it in Greek or Hebrew -- Romans 6:1-2)
I totally agree that "All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). And that "God commendeth his love towards us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). AND " (Jesus) came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" (Luke 5:31-32).
Yes, all ARE sinners . . . UNTIL THE VERY MOMENT JESUS SAVES US!
But like the leper who boldly came to the rabbi from Nazareth and said, "If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean" (Luke 5:12-13), once the Son of God "put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean," From that time forth, that man was no more leper than Dwayne Johnson or Taylor Swift.
Notice the past tense as you look at Romans 5:8 once again: "While we WERE yet sinners, Christ died for us." Kindly observe that significant past tense again in Romans 5:19; 6:17, 20, 22; 7:5; I Corinthians 6:11; Ephesians 5:8. And, please, the positive, present tense counterparts: Romans 7:17, 20; 8:9-17; I Corinthians 1:30; II Corinthians 5:17-21.
I beseech you not to see this as arrogance. I am merely affirming by faith what GOD says is true! And believe me, I'm NOT basing this on my own personal feelings or track record. No way on earth am I claiming sinless perfection for anyone, least of all ol' Ernfeld! In fact, I'm not talking about our conduct at all. I still sin. And, even without knowing you, I know you do, too.
But who we IS is not determined by what we do or do not do. It is determined by our birth.
AGREED: In him or herself, your common, everyday Christian isn't one iota better than the common, everyday terrorist or drug-dealer on the street. "BUT GOD . . . for His great love wherewith He loved us . . ." GOD has taken the terrorist who trusted His Son, and made him/her a new creature in Christ.
The God of the Book is VERY concerned about our true IDENTITY, and He fairly hammers it home that YOU AND I need to be, too!
It's a matter of our Identity, not our performance.
And yet, it's all about our performance. Because it's only when we're assured of, and start affirming our Identity in Christ that our performance will follow. THAT is the biblical way! IDENTITY comes first. Right behavior follows. Identity influences activity.
If we see ourselves as incurable "sinaholics," won't our tendency be to act like sinners, and then excuse ourselves when we do?
If we see ourselves as "saints" and "sons" (just two of the wonderful titles the N.T. gives true believers over 100 times!), won't we be more inclined to behave as such? God seems to think so (Proverbs 23:7; Ephesians 4:1; 5:1-2, 8). Which must be the reason He hammers it home so emphatically and repeatedly throughout the New Testament epistles.
And the only reason I'm making such a stink over it. That, and the fact that we always honor God more by agreeing with His inspired Word than by making up our own stuff, no matter how humble sounding. Hope you're cool with that. All you beloved, blood-bought saints who still sometimes sin.