I Am Not “A Sinner Saved by Grace”

I Am What I Am[1]

If you’ve been around for very long in Christian circles or even if you haven’t, you’ve probably heard the phrase, “I am just a sinner saved by grace,” usually uttered in false humility, true low self-esteem, or full of pride and bravado. The problem with this saying is that if you are saved, it just isn’t true!

Yes, we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us (I John 1:8, Romans 3:23). However, once we surrender to the loving Creator of the Universe, the God of Mercy and Truth, He makes us brand new!

II Corinthians 5:17 (Holman Christian Standard Bible), “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.”

Ezekiel 26:36 (NIV), “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”

We aren’t renovated, remodeled, or patched and pieced back together. We are brand new. Not made from old junk, but made of all new material. We are born of heaven now. The Kingdom of God is in us! There are no sinners in the Kingdom of God, and the Kingdom of God is not in a sinner.

Luke 17:20-21 (ASV), “And being asked by the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God cometh, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall they say, Lo, here! or, There! for lo, the kingdom of God is within you.”

Jesus who was sinless, through the finished work on the cross has made me righteous. I have been brought out of darkness into His light. I have been adopted into his family and am now a son/daughter of God. He was the firstborn of many brethren. I am one of those brethren. Not because I am something special, or because I deserved it, or earned it, just because He loves me. I could have never fixed my life, or made my heart brand new. Only He could, and He did. He said, “It is finished.”

II Corinthians 5:21 (KJB), “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.”

Ephesians 2:8-10 (NIV),” For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”

When I was born, I was born into sin, into this world and under the ruler of this world. By no choice of my own, Satan was my “father.” Thankfully, I gave my life willingly to a new and better Father. He rules with Love and Peace, not fear and hate. Once I was born again, or born from Heaven, I received as a gift, the nature of my new adopted Father. I have the nature of God, not the nature of my old father (Satan). I don’t have two natures. Just like a cat can’t have a nature of a dog. There is no place for false humility, and if you are saved you should find an abundant amount of confidence in Him. There is no place for pride, we can’t boast. Pride is sin, plain and simple. When we have the attitude that we are “sinners saved by grace” we want to boast about our sin, how horrible we were. We also want to justify any sin that we still commit. “Of course I sin, I’m just a sinner saved by grace.”

Romans 8:17 (ASB), “Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”

I am still alive, in a fallen world, and Satan is still alive and active in this world. My spirit is willing, but my flesh is still weak. So yes, I will sin until I die. However, it doesn’t happen as often, and I don’t let it keep me back. It doesn’t make me a “sinner.” (Using a butter knife to remove a screw does not make it a screw driver.) If there was nothing I could do before I was saved to make me a saint, why would anything I do after I am saved make me a sinner? Now when I mess up I repent and move on. Each day I am getting more and more like Jesus. God forgives and then doesn’t remember the sin ever again. When He looks at me, He doesn’t see my past sins, He sees his son/daughter. He sees a joint heir with Christ, a co-laborer with Him.

David questioned God about being so focused on us, just human beings. Before Jesus died for the sins of the world, before redemption and restoration, God was “mindful” of us. We were in a class just a little beneath the angels. Angels and humans alike are created beings.

Psalm 8:5 (NIV), “You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.”

Now that I am accepted in the beloved, adopted into His family, and am the body of Christ and His bride, I am in a different class. Now I am in the same class of Jesus. I am not deity, never will be, but I am still seated in Heaven with Him. Now those same angels are here to serve me. They aid and protect me, and they minister in my life according to the perfect will of God.

Hebrews 1:13-14 (NIV), “To which of the angels did God ever say, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”? Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” (Emphasis mine)

Now I am a SAINT. You don’t, or can’t earn sainthood. It’s not something that you become once you perform certain tasks and then die, hopefully to have the church recognize you later and label you “saint.” When I accepted Jesus as my personal savior I became a saint. The veil was torn, I now have free access to the Father and He calls me a saint.

Philippians 4:21 (NASB), “Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you.” (Again emphasis mine)

Greet every saint, every believer, every follower of Christ, every Son of God, every member of the body of Christ, that’s who Paul was talking about. Other versions say, “God’s people”, “God’s holy people”, and “Every one who believes in Christ.”

We need to be sure of who we are! We waste time and energy if we don’t. How can we walk in the power and authority given to us by God if we want to identify ourselves with who we were before we met Him? Does a butterfly fly around saying, “I am just a caterpillar with a fancy set of wings?”

Yes, I was a sinner, but now through the finished work of Jesus on the cross, by His grace, I am now a saint.

Who are you?

Free Devotionals on Smashwords!

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Today is the last day to get my first two devotionals free!
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/427967
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Book Review for “The Shepherd’s Song” – Christian Fiction

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I was given a copy of this book by the authors in exchange for an honest review.
I can’t say enough about how refreshing this book was! “The Shepherd’s Song” takes us through the 23 Psalm, line by line and how each one touches the lives of a different person. This isn’t a cheesy, preachy book. Just stories about characters that are real and who are flawed, messed up, desperate, or despondent that learn or remember that God is the good shepherd. Great for every age, simple short stories that all tie together. No swearing, no sexual content, good inspirational reading. I actually received a hard copy of this book and have offered it to several friends to read, it is so good. I loved it and hope to have more adult reading from these two women. (They both have written children’s books before this). Well done!
I give this book 5+ stars. I loved it!

Book Review for “Amazing Grace”- Military Christian Fiction

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I am torn about this book. I was unsure about giving it five stars. I do consider it a “Christian Book” as it has a great message and is written about a woman who turns her life around and allows God to use her. However, there is swearing. Not what I would consider the “really bad” words, but the book is about military types and there is some language involved. There is also one sex scene though not explicit, and lot’s of violence. So I wouldn’t consider it “clean” reading. I did love the story though! It may have been gritty, but it was honest. Fast paced action, good versus evil, though the good characters are definitely flawed. I will be reading more by this author. So I have to be true to my feelings, I loved it, and give it five stars. If you prefer your books with no swearing, then be forewarned. I can only recommend for ages 17 and up due to content.

Let My Life Count

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James 4:14 (KJB), “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”

From the day that Eve birthed Cain people continue to be born. Since the day that Cain murdered his brother Abel, people continue to die. Life and death, two absolutes in this life. We are born, we live our lives, and when our bodies either break down and quite on us or a sudden tragedy strikes, our lives are over. No matter our age when we die, life is short. The bible says it is “but a vapor”.
For many people their lives amount to not much of anything. They have simply taken up space. Others have contributed in some way to their families or to society while others have left their mark in this world. Few have made great scientific and medical discoveries, intellectual achievements, and invented things that still benefit us today. Then there are those whose lives have only ushered in more evil into the world.

I am not afraid to die. I never have been. Life is what was always scary to me. Now that I live for the Lord, life is good, not perfect, but good. I am not looking for fame or notoriety. I don’t want to just exist either and I certainly don’t want my legacy to be one of pain and misery on others. I want my life to count for something. Despite popular belief, we are not some accidental evolutionary occurrence. We have been designed by a great architect. We have been created for a purposely created for a purpose.

“You are not a momentary whim of a careless creator experimenting in the laboratory of life… you were made with a purpose.” ~ Og Mandino, Author of “The Greatest Salesman”

God has a plan for every person born. Not a single plan is a bad plan. He never planned for Hitler to butcher millions of people. That was never Hitler’s purpose. Who knows what wonderful plan God had for that man…

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV), “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Each one of us has a reason for being here. God handpicked us for a specific time and place, there is no “accidents” in God’s planning. We can, like Hitler, choose to make our own plans and determine our own future. Hitler chose hell.

Every person born into this world has a free will. We are free to choose to follow the path God has laid out for us or to choose to make our own path. Either way there will be hard times, for we live in a fallen world and real evil does exist. But when we determine to walk on the path that he has for us, every bad situation is turned around for our good. Even when we stumble or get off the path, He extends His hand of love and helps us back up and back on the right track. Our lives are not without purpose. We can either accept that purpose and strive to be all God has created us to be, using our gifts and talents for His glory, or we can reject His purpose.

Acts 13:36 (NIV), “Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors and his body decayed.”

Luke 7:30 (NASB), “But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God’s purpose for themselves, not having been baptized by John.”

It encourages me to think of those imperfect, messed up, people who went on before me and fulfilled their purpose. I still have to remember those like Hitler; they remind me of the evil that is always crouching at the door looking for an opening to come in. However, remembering the Mother Theresa’s, the William Wilberforce’s, and the Mildred Cable’s of this world. Then there are the countless people who quietly live their lives and are barely noticed by anyone save their families and friends who live right, serve their community, love their families and live for God. The world may never know them or recognize what they do, but God is paying close attention. He is storing up rewards for them in heaven and He is pouring out His bounty on them now.

Some will suffer for Him and others will lose their lives, but their lives will count!

Hero or Hypocrite?

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I Corinthians 1:27-29 (NLT), “Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.”

I have to admit, I am getting a little tired with people trying to throw mud on my heroes. The founding fathers got drunk, owned slaves, and bribed voters with booze. Find a hero and the world gets on the bandwagon to dig up some dirt, and the mudslinging begins. No one is sacred. Instead of “hero” they would label them as “hypocrite.”

However, I have a different opinion. Jesus said that we could recognize heroes by their fruit.

Matthew 7:16-20 (NIV), “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. “So then, you will know them by their fruits.”

Ok, he didn’t use the word “hero”, but to me anyone who accomplishes what God purposed for them is a hero.

So how do we separate the heroes from the hypocrites? Look for fruit. We can’t look at their mistakes and disqualify them. All humans sin and make mistakes; we all miss the mark at times. What is important is that they finished well, that they accomplished something for good. If you have any doubt just take a look at some of the heroes of the Bible.

Noah: The man who for 150 years built an ark and preached to those around him without a single convert. He obeyed and after doing all God asked him to do Noah plants a vineyard, makes wine and gets drunk. So drunk his son walks in on him passed out naked.
Abraham: “Father of our faith”, “who was counted as righteous”, who left his hometown to wonder wherever God told him to go, lied about his wife twice, allowing her to be taken by the Pharaoh of Egypt as a wife, and as a concubine of a foreign king, all because he was afraid for his life. (Granted it was only a partial lie, as they were half brother and sister, but not the truth!).
Isaac: Repeated his father’s “my wife is my sister” plan.
Jacob: Stole his brothers blessing by impersonating Esau when his aging father was on his deathbed.
The men who became heads of 11/12 tribes of Israel: Planned to kill their little brother, sold him into slavery instead and lied to their father, faking his death by wild animals.
Moses: In anger disobeys God and doesn’t get to go into the Promised Land.
Elijah: After defeating 400 priests of Baal, throws the biggest pity party ever and asks God to just kill him.
David: “The man after God’s own heart” committed adultery and then had the woman’s husband killed. He also wasn’t the best parent. You can read about some of the terrible things his children did.
The Apostle Paul: Paul persecuted the early church even consenting to their deaths.
Peter: Denied Christ three times.

Do I need to keep going? They all were called by God, personally chosen for a purpose. They all made mistakes, messed up, and were completely human. Just like us. And every single last one of them fulfilled the purpose that God had for them. God singled Noah out as the only person on the face of the earth living right. He had a part in saving the human race. Abraham became the father of many nations and was called “the friend of God.” Moses led God’s chosen people out of slavery. David instituted praise and invented many musical instruments. We read his praises in the Psalms and of his military exploits in several books of the bible. Paul wrote most of the New Testament and along with Peter performed many miracles.

Are you getting the picture? God uses people. Messed up, flawed people. This doesn’t make them or their accomplishments any less important or significant. We were never meant to look at them anyway. Our attention and focus is supposed to be on God who gave them the strength and power to do all of the good things they did.

I Corinthians 1:26-31 (Message Bible), “Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God.”

So, does it matter to me that George Washington bribed voters at the age of 26 by giving them booze? I don’t even know if that is true, but if it is, so what! It doesn’t change the fact that he was a hero, still is in my book. The same goes for all of the mud they have dug up on any of the early presidents. I read quotes and written bits that are supposed to prove that they weren’t really Christians and lived hypocritical lives. If you looked at my life closely you would probably say the same thing. But, you’d find some fruit too. Does their behavior make them hypocrites?…maybe, but it doesn’t make them less of a hero.

There is no perfection short of heaven. We need to stop expecting others to be perfect, including ourselves. God uses imperfect, flawed people. That’s how He gets the glory and it doesn’t lessen their good deeds in His eyes. Even Paul said that he continued to struggle with doing wrong.

Romans 7:15-25 (ESV), “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. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 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.”

Next time someone tries to tell you something bad about a leader, a founding father, or a well known pastor, either tell them you don’t want to hear it or say, “Nevertheless, God has used them mightily.” If there is fruit in their lives, if their work still stands after the fire, then they have done what God has purposed for them. End of argument. And if a brother or sister in Christ messes up, so what! Help restore them. A leader fell? Get over it and pray that they repent and find God’s forgiveness so that they can move on. We can’t dismiss anyone as not being worthy, or as not being a Christian, because they have sinned, (only if they never repent and turn their hearts back to God). If we did, our Churches would be empty.

We are at war. If we confess our sins, He is quick to forgive. We need every soldier. Instead of looking for reasons to dismiss others, or tarnish their reputations, including those who have gone on before us, let us all do what we have been called to do and get the job done.

Everything else is a waste of time, energy, and recourses.

And always remember…God uses whom He chooses.

His Good Pleasure

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Philippians 2:12-13 (NIV), “So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”

Sometimes Paul seems to contradict himself doesn’t he? I have pointed out several times that Paul wasn’t schizophrenic. We do have to work out our own salvation. Mama can’t do it for us, Gramma can’t either. Each one of us is responsible for the condition of our own souls. In the same way we can’t do it for anyone else. We would love to, but we can’t. Just working out our own sound like a tough enough job. That’s why Paul goes on to say that it is God who does the work in us. We simply hear and obey, surrendering our will to His will. He changes our hearts with His perfect love so that we want to work “for His good pleasure.”

Hebrews 13:20-21 (NIV), “Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.…”

I want to please God, don’t you? If you do a search on this you will be amazed how many scriptures there are about what pleases Him. I am only going to include a few.

Ephesians 1:5 (Jubilee Bible 2000) “Having marked out beforehand the way for us to be adopted as sons by Jesus Christ in himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,”

II Corinthians 5:8-10 (NAS), “we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

It pleased Him to adopt us and it pleases Him when we live holy and sanctified lives. It also pleased the Father to bruise His Son…

Isaiah 53:10 (KJB), “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.”

Colossians 1:19-20 (NASB), “For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.”

It was God’s pleasure to sacrifice Jesus as an offering for sin.

As a parent that just makes my head spin. How could the suffering of a child, little or full grown, ever please a parent. The only circumstance I can think of is nothing compared to Christ’s suffering. I can think of a child getting stitches, or having a broken bone set, it is painful, but for their own good. God knew the outcome of the cross, it was for our own good. Now think about taking your son or daughter in to have stitches, but instead of watching that needle go in and out of their tender skin, Jesus is sitting in that chair and taking all of the pain for them. That would please a parent. Jesus may have been His only begotten Son, but He has quite a few adopted offspring now and He was thinking of all of us. His will wasn’t forced on His Son. The bible is clear; Jesus freely laid down His life for us. He volunteered and he looked forward to the outcome. To Him it was a joy to reconcile us to the Father.

Hebrews 1:2 (NLT), “We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” (emphasis mine)

To Jesus, it was all worth it. The shame and the pain couldn’t keep Him from pleasing the Father. He faithfully endured it all.

And He did it for me, for you, for those who are living a miserable life and don’t know that there is a Father and a Friend who can change their lives forever.

Let’s do what it takes to please God.

Let’s let others know about this glorious, wonderful sacrifice and His undying love.