Not Just a Sinner Saved by Grace

Sharon Jaynes Enough, Identity in Christ 45 Comments

I’m going to mess with some of you today. You might not like it. I’ll be honest, this messed with me when I first grappled with the common saying. See…

When I was a teenager, I gave my life to Jesus. I came to know Him as my Savior and Lord and followed Him with all the knowledge I had at the time. When my more mature friends messed up horribly, they would shrug and say, “Well, I’m just a sinner saved by grace.”

Before I knew it, I was saying, “I’m just a sinner saved by grace” to justify all sorts of bad behavior. The only problem was, the words, “sinner saved by grace” weren’t in the Bible.

I knew that I was a sinner. Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (ESV).

I also knew that I had been saved by grace. Ephesians 2:8 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith” (ESV). Salvation was a gift I didn’t deserve and certainly couldn’t to earn.

The problem came when folks stuck parts of those two verses together to make a brand new one…one that wasn’t in the Bible.

Here’s what the Bible does say and hold on to your hats because it’s a game changer.

Yes, before you and I came to know Jesus as Savior, our identity was…a sinner. That’s who we were. We didn’t become sinners the first time we did something wrong, we were born that way (Romans 5:19).

After you and I became Christians, we became a new creation. Paul wrote: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV). And with that transformation came a new identity—a saint.

When Paul wrote his letters to the various churches in the New Testament, he never addressed them “to sinners at Philippi,” or “to the sinners at Ephesus.” He always addressed believers as saints. For example:

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 1:1). “To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling,” (1 Corinthians 1:2).

Saint doesn’t mean perfect, not by a long shot. Saints means set apart for holy use.

After we are born again, as Jesus calls it, God never looks at us and thinks, there goes that sinner saved by grace, bless her heart. Rather, He looks at us and calls us saints… redeemed and set apart.

If we see ourselves as just sinners saved by grace, then we’ll act like sinners saved by grace and expect very little from our transformation as a new creation in Christ. However, if we see ourselves as saints, then we’ll be more likely to see ourselves as set apart for the things of God.

If we continue to see ourselves as just sinners saved by grace, we’ll approach the Father expecting judgement and begging for crumbs, rather than as grateful grace-filled saints expecting promises fulfilled.

For all of us who know Jesus as Lord, we are not defined by our sin, but by our Savior; not by our behavior but our beliefs.

I am not saying that once we become a Christian we no longer sin. John wrote, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8 ESV). I am saying that our sin no longer defines who we are.

We were sinners, who were saved by grace. Now we are saints who will continue to struggle with sin until we leave this earth.

I know “I am a sinner saved by grace” sounds humble, but that’s not who God says you are. The truth is: You are a holy, redeemed, chosen, dearly loved child of God who is equipped by the Father, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and enveloped in Jesus Christ! And that’s through grace all around. Speak it. Believe it. Live it.

LORD, help me to see myself as You see me. Thank You for taking the sinner I was and turning me into the saint I am. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Why do you think it is easy to say “I’m just a sinner saved by grace” rather than “I am a saint who God has redeemed?”

Read the first few verses of Paul’s letters and note how he addresses the believers.

Do you believe that you are who God says you are? Or do you tend to listen to the lies of the enemy that tell you that you are not enough and never will be enough. It’s time to replace those lies with truth and

silence the lies that steal your confidence. Learn how in Sharon’s book, Enough!

Click here if you need prayer.

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Comments 45

  1. Yes true indeed we are all called to holiness …”many are called but few are chosen” because the way to holiness is not easy…but not impossible for many times GOD said nothing is impossible with Him
    (Matthew 19:26; Luke 1:37; Luke 18:27 and Mark 10:27) The way to holiness is a continuous journey that is why we need to feed on GOD’s words every single moment.

  2. I have trouble viewing myself as a saint…far from it! Humble servant is who I feel I am. I am thankful to be a sinner saved by grace and now a servant of Christ, but certainly not a saint.

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    2. Oh for us to TRUST GOD with who we are and who He says we are.
      Father, help us not listen to the lies and deception of the enemy, but to You.
      You call us saints and we can rise up and be that because of Who You are in us! Thank You LORD JESUS!

    3. Carrie,
      I understand how you feel.
      The paradox is that its actually takes more humility to call ourselves a saint especially when we feel far from it because it then opens up the way to lean on God fully to act like one as we cannot in the flesh glorify God!
      Blessings
      Miriam

    4. Carrie try reading some biography’s of saints like St Francis of Assisi and St Augustine. Their beginnings were nothing like their life after they were saved. It might help to understand that normal, sinfull people can become saints through grace. ☺️

    5. OH my. That’s exactly how I have been seeing myself. Expecting judgement and begging for crumbs. What a way to start the day. Satan is prowling constantly.
      Thanks for your column.

  3. Love! Love! Love this! Such a refreshing and challenging thought. Saints made perfect by God’s grace, set apart for His service, empowered by His strength, rewarded by His love!

  4. Thank you Sharon,
    I’ve been struggling with my identity since I was a young girl. My parents were very dysfunctional and lost in their own pain and shame which was at the core of their negative identity. I’ve spent many years in therapy and still at 63 years old I’m stuck wallowing in low self esteem with a negative identity.
    Thank you for writing this book.
    Warmest regards,
    Rebecca Heck

    1. Dear Jesus please bless and comfort this precious daughter of yours. Help her to feel you with her and leading her today.

      Rebecca, I am sorry for your pain, I will be 61 next week and I struggle with much the same pain. I will pray for you.

    1. I can relate Rebecca. At 64 I too still struggle with low self-esteem. I read Sharon’s book about a year ago but since then have discovered I have Aspergers. I am really struggling now. I feel like I need to read it again.
      Marie Swerdan

  5. Amen! Thank you for this timely word about who I am. Yes, I WAS a sinner but I am now a SAINT. It’s important to speak the truth to yourself!

  6. This is so good.If we dwell on what the enemy wants us to be rather than what God has made us how will we live the life he has for us.

  7. Wow, Sharon, you nailed it! Such a difference in just a few words! I’ll be copying the last portion so that I can post it on my wall. Thank you, Sharon, for listening to the Spirit as you wrote.

  8. Thank God for you you’re and what’s been revealed through the Holy Spirit is a gamechanger.

    Glory to God.

    This certainly has Changed my way of thinking and Life.

    Blessings Always

  9. I tend to always think I am not enough. I struggle with it daily I’m afraid to say.
    But this message from you has helped. Thank you

  10. I thank the Lord in you for recognizing and speaking this very important truth. So many times, people use the cliche to warrant their unrepentant behavior. Not to say that we don’t all make mistakes, we do. We are still in the flesh and will battle the flesh til the Lord takes us home. But praise and glory be to God that He gave us the way to be reconciled t(rough the cross and the blood of Jesus, the regenerated life with the Holy Spirit living in us. I see and hear that phrase used so often to justify wrong choices, as you said. May we all come more and more to know and understand that WE ARE SAINTS, no longer bound by sin but set free by Jesus.

  11. Thank you for this reminder of who we are in Christ. In our time when so many are confused about their identity (even among believers), this is God’s truth for us 🙂

  12. Thanks Sharon for sharing this.It reminds us of who we are.We are Saints and learning to be Holy like Jesus is Holy.

  13. Yes! I AM A SAINT. Thank you Sharon struggling with our identity as believers is really a stumbling block in our Faith. I WILL SAY IT AND WIKL CONTINUE CONFESSING UNTIL I BELIEVE IT 👐

  14. Thank you sooo much for speaking out on this ! My husband and I have preached this for years but so few Christians really believe this ! We are not “worms ” as one of the old hymns say. We are born again into a brand new life ! God sees us as clean and pure and wants us to see ourselves that way ! We are saints that still sin at times but if we still believe we are a sinner then that gives us an excuse to overlook our sin when we commit it, to say ” Well I’m just a sinner . I can’t help it”.
    Of course we can help it ! That’s why Jesus died ! To make it possible by living in us through the Holy Spirit ! When we are tempted, the Holy Spirit is there to give us strength to resist if we will just ask Him to. When we don’t ask ,we sin.
    Yes, it is a lifetime process learning to ask and we fail many times but I am not a sinner and I don’t want to act like I am ! I want to act like a child of the King who is growing up not giving up !

  15. I am a saint set apart for divine use by the Father, sanctified and justified through the Bloodshed of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior,
    Hallelujah!

  16. The Lord revealed this to me in the scripture a few years ago and I was afraid to teach it because so many of our mature and knowledgeable leaders say “I’m a sinner saved by grace”. I finally taught This same message in our church. I became to two headed woman to some. My analogy is… just because a snake causes me to run doesn’t make me a runner. The same goes with me… just because I sinned doesn’t make me a sinner.
    Thank you for the confirmation.

  17. I’m not sure this “sinner saved by grace” is not actually in the Bible.

    Grappling with this!

    If it really isn’t biblical, then my whole perspective is about to shift!!!

    @sharon, last time I checked, we still couldn’t access your books in Nairobi, Kenya. Is this still the case?

  18. “Yes, before you and I came to know Jesus as Savior, our identity was…a sinner. That’s who we were. We didn’t become sinners the first time we did something wrong, we were born that way (Romans 5:19).” Can you clarify this because it seems like you are saying babies are sinners and I know that’s not true. Thanks

    1. Lucinda-
      If you read Romans chapters 5 -7 you will see that we are born in sin. In other words that is our very nature. We are not sinners because we sin, we sin because we are sinners. Though babies are innocent of performing a sin, they each still have that sin nature. This is why our case would be hopeless…But God! ” But God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
      ( Roman’s 5:8)
      All praise to Him that He sent His Son to cover our sin and purchase us for His very own!

  19. Thank you for writing this! I just read thru it and I do realize that tho we are indeed saved bc of His grace and mercy poured out upon us, that initial moment of conversion means we are now His children- saints. Yet I know I don’t view myself as a saint, rather I struggle with sin and let it get me down at times. I must transform my thinking and align my thoughts with God’s Word !

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      You go girl! I think the problem for us that we think saint means perfect, or like people that have been dubbed saint so-and-so by man.

  20. Thank you for enlightening and encouraging message. May I always remember that I am the child of the Living God. Loved and saved by His Grace

  21. Thank you for sharing this insight. I love how the Bible is truly alive and still teaching us and stretching our thought patterns and helping us grow. I wrote notes all over my Bible from this devotional.

  22. Bless you for sharing this! One of my pet peeves is to hear that phrase. My pastor says this a lot and it bothers me. You become what you behold. And as saints we should behold Jesus….the more we yield and behold Him the more we’ll be transformed into His image. Agree with God about who He says you are.

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