Saint or Sinner

Which are you?


By Dr. Ken Matto


(All verse quotations are from the King James Bible.)


Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you.  (Philippians 4:21)


Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.  (Psalm 1:5)


There is a great confusion which is taking place in Christianity today and that is, are Christians regarded as sinners or saints?  It seems the majority of Christians love to cling to the saying, “I am just a sinner saved by grace.”  Well that sounds so noble to others who adopt the same mindset but is that a biblical saying?  Can it be proven by Scripture or is it one of those pet sayings that Christians use without ever checking to see if the Bible endorses that belief.


Let’s analyze that statement and see if the Scriptures agree with it.


I am – This puts the saying in the present tense which means those who believe it are stating they are sinners.

Just – Synonyms are “merely, purely, only, solely” which means the Christian is stating that they are nothing but sinners.

A sinner – A sinner is one who breaks the law of God as seen in 1 John 3:4.   Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.  (1 John 3:4)

Saved by grace – The method of salvation which is apart from any works which God uses to save people from eternal damnation and transfers them into the kingdom of God.


I AM – {9} Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,  {10} Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  {11} And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.  (1 Corinthians 6:9-11) 


In verses 9 & 10 Paul was giving a list of the sins which were prevalent at Corinth and then he says that some of the Corinthians were involved in those sins. He mentions this to show that there must be a difference between their present lives and the lives they lived while unsaved. He states that some “were” in those sinful lifestyles. That word “were” is in the past tense. Now they are regenerated and should be living their lives to the glory of God and farther away from those sins each day. He states they were washed and sanctified. They were cleansed of these sins and because of Calvary they were made holy. According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (Ephesians 1:4) Then Paul goes on to give another great tenet of salvation, not only are those saved people washed and sanctified, they are also justified. Justification is like that person never sinned. All their sins have been washed away and there is no sins attached to their souls. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:12) It is important for Christians to know that our sins were not covered but they were removed from us. In other words, Christ made us so pure in our spiritual being that it is like we never sinned and that is why the Christian is readied for Heaven the moment they become saved. These Corinthian Christians were not understanding the great transformation that had taken place in their lives. If they were cognizant of this, they would do everything to expunge sinful behavior from their lives and also from the congregation. God gave us the Holy Spirit to indwell us because in His wisdom, He knew that sinful flesh would be too powerful for us to overcome by ourselves, so the Holy Spirit indwells us giving us the power to avoid sin. When a Christians sins, it is normally voluntary.


JUST - Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.  (1 Peter 2:5)  {9} But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:  {10} Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.  (1 Peter 2:9-10)


1 Pet 2:5

Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.


Are built up - Are being built up

Acceptable - Pleasant, well-received, or approved

By - through


Peter continues from verse four that since the Lord Jesus Christ is called a living stone, and since like begets like, (a biblical principle) those who have become born again by the Lord Jesus Christ are also called lively stones. The words “are built up” is one word in the Greek and is in the present tense which means the Lord is continually adding more believers to the Kingdom until one day the spiritual house will be completed and then the end will come. He calls us a “holy priesthood” which is confirmed in Revelation 1:6. And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (Revelation 1:6) The body of believers fulfills the type of Aaron’s priesthood. We offer up spiritual sacrifices and not the bloody animal sacrifices which were done under the Old Testament laws.


By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. (Hebrews 13:15)


The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. (Psalm 51:17)


As spiritual priests, we offer the spiritual sacrifices of praise, prayer, contriteness. We are not only compared to a spiritual house but by calling us priests, we work within the same spiritual house as did the priests of old when they worked in the temple and tabernacle in the wilderness. It is important to note that all the spiritual sacrifices which are offered can only be acceptable unto God if they come through the Lord Jesus Christ. A person in a false, Christ denying religion can offer spiritual sacrifices like prayer but it is not approved or received by God because it does not come through the Lord Jesus Christ. For one to be approved, they must be born again in and by the Lord Jesus or it is just a dead stone offering.


1 Pet 2:9

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:


Chosen - Select or Elect

Generation - Race, offspring, or family

Royal - Kingly

Holy – Set Apart unto God

Peculiar - Possession, special, belonging exclusively

Marvellous - Wonderful


Now God goes on to contrast the true believer with those appointed to oppose the Lord Jesus Christ. God calls us a chosen generation which means we are the elect of God and the word generation means a race or family. This means those who are chosen of God to be born again are His family because we become His offspring by salvation. He then goes on to say that we are not only family but a kingly priesthood which means we are royalty in His eyes. God then states that we are a holy people in contrast to those who are still lost in their sins, namely sinners.


Then God states that we are a peculiar people which means we belong to Him exclusively as His special possession through the Lord Jesus Christ. The entire body of believers, whom God has redeemed, will now be able to bring forth the praises of God who has redeemed us from the kingdom of Satan and darkness and brought us into the wonderful light of the Gospel. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5)


1 Pet 2:10

Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.


The - the (definite article)

Obtained mercy - Having received mercy


This is one of the most overlooked verses in the New Testament which flat out state that the true, born again Christians are the people of God. If you notice how the text reads that in times past were not a people of God, but now, since we have received mercy we are “THE” people of God. Whenever the word “the” appears it is a definite article which gives no room for speculation. This verse makes it plain that when we become saved, we become a true child of God or the chosen people. Remember in verse 9, we were called “a chosen generation” when we looked at the word “generation” it carried with it the meaning of “race, family, or offspring.” This means that when we become born again, we are then joined to the family of God making us the true chosen people by regeneration. This one verse ends the argument of who the chosen people of God are. Outside of Christ there is no chosen people, inside of Christ are the chosen people. It is as simple as that but too often politics is thrown in to biblical interpretation and it muddies the waters of understanding. Keep politics out of the Bible and you will come to truth.


A SINNER - Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:  (Colossians 1:13)


Hath delivered - Saved or rescued

Power - Authority

Hath translated - Transfer, remove, or change the place of


God, through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ on Calvary, has delivered us from all the authority of the kingdom of darkness. Not only were we rescued from that kingdom but we were then translated into the Kingdom of Christ. This verse is a drastic example of what happens to the Elect of God. We are snatched out of the kingdom of darkness and placed into the Kingdom of God. No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house. (Mark 3:27) Satan was bound at the cross and could not keep anyone from becoming saved. This is the teaching of Mark 3:27 where Satan is the strong man and Christ is the one who bound him and spoils his house, that is, He plunders Satan’s kingdom and brings His Elect out of it and into His Kingdom.


SAVED BY GRACE – This is the only portion of that saying which is true.  {8} For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  {9} Not of works, lest any man should boast.  (Ephesians 2:8-9)


We see here that a person is saved by the grace of God unto salvation.  Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:  (Romans 3:24) However, it must be remembered that a person is saved by the grace of God one time and it is not an event which happens repeatedly.  Once we become saved by the grace of God, we then continue to grow in that grace which is called “progressive sanctification” whereby a Christian exchanges the old worldly desires for the purpose of becoming a stronger Christian in the Faith.  But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.  (2 Peter 3:18)  Growing in grace is a continuation of the singular event of receiving salvation.


One of the keys of understanding the Christian’s position in Christ is to stop looking at it from our point of view and begin to look at it from God’s point of view and that view is found in the Bible.  According to the Bible, the sinner is one who is unsaved and an enemy of God.  The Saint is one who is saved by the grace of God and placed into the kingdom of God through the blood of Christ’s sacrifice upon Calvary.  Please understand the following statement because it is very important.


Christ did not go to the Cross to make you a Sinner, he went to make you a Saint!


When you became saved, the Holy Spirit indwelled you and was given as the earnest or pledge of eternal life which began at the moment of salvation and the continuation of it which is to come after our home going or the return of the Lord on the last day.  Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.  (2 Corinthians 1:22)  The Holy Spirit does not indwell sinners, only saints.  Once a sinner receives the Holy Spirit, they are no longer considered a sinner but a Saint in the Kingdom of God.


When we analyzed that pet Christian saying above we also read how the Scriptures completely destroyed it.  Then we have to ask the question, what about when a Christian sins after salvation?  It is a legitimate question and needs to be broached and understood so we can stop the false humility found in that saying above.


When we became saved we became a new creature, not creation as the modern versions state.  A new creation would be the complete remaking of our bodies which will happen on the last day but for now we are a new creature.  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  (2 Corinthians 5:17)  This basically means that we are in the same body but something new had happened to us within that old body. 


That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;  (Ephesians 4:22)  And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.  (Ephesians 4:24)


In 2 Corinthians 5:17 the verse states plainly that if any man be in Christ they are a new creature, then it goes on to say that the old is passed away and all things are new.  How could this be?  Something had to take place within us to cause us to go from old to new and that something was the receiving of our resurrected souls unto eternal life.  Before a person is saved, they are dead in sins and that is why the sinner commits sins without ever thinking about the consequences of their actions.  {13} And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;  {14} Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;  (Colossians 2:13-14)  So we see plainly that a person without Christ is dead in their sins.  Dead is dead and a person can do nothing to bring themselves out of that condition. Notice in Colossians 2:13 it speaks about a person being dead and then right on the heels of that statement it states that “he quickened us together with him,” that is, God made us alive which means he brought us from the dead.  He resurrected our souls from death to eternal life.  In Revelation 20:6, this is referred to as the first resurrection.  Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.  (Revelation 20:6)  We know this to be a fact because the second death has no effect upon the believer, that is, the second death being eternal damnation but those in Christ are passed from death unto life.  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.  (John 5:24)


Now back to Colossians 2:13-14.  Those who have become saved, made alive, have had all their sins and trespasses forgiven and nailed to the cross.  That means when you became saved the efficacious sacrifice of Christ took all your sins and removed them from your soul making it sin free and ready for heaven.  They were literally blotted out and that means there is no sin which can be held against the believer.  Now let us go back to the question of what happens when a Christian sins?  Every sin that a Christian commits has already been forgiven and removed from their soul.  Then the question is what happens to my future sins?  Where were you when Christ went to the cross to pay for your sins?  You were not even born yet which means all your sins were in the future!  This means that every sin you committed, whether it be the past, present, or future has been atoned for and removed from you.  So when a Christian sins, that sin was paid for and removed.  However, this does not mean the consequences of the sin will not remain.


A great example of this is found in the life of David who sinned with Bathsheba and paid the price for his sin by his son being taken in death.  And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.  (2 Samuel 12:13)  If you notice in this verse it states that God put away his sin and this could only happen if a person is saved.  If David was not saved, then he would have to give account of that sin on Judgment Day.  Seven days after Nathan came to David, his child had died.


Let’s bring it up to today.  Let’s say a Christian is deep in debt and finds a bag of money worth $20,000 with “Brinks” written on the bag.  He knows that it fell off a Brinks armored car but does not return it to the police or to Brinks and keeps it and pays off all his bills.  Instead of destroying the bag he puts it in his car in the back seat as a souvenir and then he gets pulled over by the police for a traffic violation and the officer sees the bag in the back seat.  He calls it in and then he is told that a bag of $20,000 fell off a truck and went missing.  Now the Christian is brought to police headquarters and he finally admits that he did find it but kept the money.  He now goes before the judge and confesses to the crime and receives a year in jail and two years probation.  If he is a true Christian, his sin has already been paid for by Christ on Calvary but he had to receive the consequences of his action according to the laws of the land.


When we became saved, the removal of our sins happened in our soul existence and not our flesh.  When we allow our flesh to override our spiritual life, then we will get into trouble.  The Apostle Paul, who is revered by Christians for his ministry also had problems in the flesh.  As a human being living in a fallen world, Christians are also susceptible to temptations and many times we succumb to them.  The reason that we do not lose our salvation is because the resurrection took place in our soul and that is something that is not under our control.  Going back to Colossians 2:13-14, it states that “he” made us alive, that is, we did not initiate it nor do we sustain it.  While we are alive in this world, we are going to have trouble with the flesh because the flesh is where the sin now resides and that is why the Christian has a great war within themselves because the clean soul is warring against the filthiness of the flesh and this is what the Apostle Paul wrote about in Romans 7.


{17} Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.  {18} For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.  {19} For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.  {20} Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.  (Romans 7:17-20)


No one is going to deny the fact that the Apostle Paul was a saved man.  He wrote 13 books of the New Testament, 14 if you include Hebrews.  Would God give the assignment to write more than half the New Testament to a sinner or would he give it to a redeemed saint?  The answer is obvious because God would never give this responsibility to an unsaved person.  Here is the reality that the same Holy Spirit that indwelt Paul is the same one that indwells every single true believer who has ever lived on this earth.  Paul spoke about his troubles in the flesh and who better to broach the subject of quenching and grieving the Holy Spirit.  The scriptures which Paul penned above are the ones which showed the troubles he had in the flesh.  He wanted to do good but he couldn’t because in his flesh dwelt no good thing which is where the desire to sin resides.  Notice in verse 20 it speaks about him doing what he does not want to do and when he does those things it is really not him doing it but the sin which dwells in him.  Well here is a great truth which should be the comfort to all Christians.  Your soul was cleansed by Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary and the real you is in your soul essence.  The sinful flesh battles against the sinless soul for control of the person but Paul is stating that the real us is the sinless soul and that the sinful flesh does not represent what happened to us at Calvary when our soul was made sinless and ready for heaven.  The sin lies in our flesh and when the flesh overrides the soul, that is, when the Christians sins but it must be understood that sin does not affect our souls because they are forever cleansed by the blood of Christ and sin cannot remove Christ’s salvation nor the Holy Spirit from the believer.  In other words, the cleansed soul remains cleansed and can never be spotted by sin.


Here are some comparisons between Saint and Sinner:


The Saint can grieve the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 4:30)

The Sinner cannot grieve him because the Holy Spirit does not dwell in him.


The Saint can quench the Holy Spirit.  (1 Thessalonians 5:19)

The Sinner cannot quench him because the Holy Spirit does not dwell in him.


The Saints have been redeemed. (Revelation 5:9)

The Sinner has not been redeemed. (Revelation 20:15)


The Saints have been declared not guilty.  (Titus 3:7)

The Sinners have been declared guilty. (Romans 3:19)


The Saints are promised a home in Heaven. (1 Peter 1:3-4)

The Sinner has only a promise of eternal damnation. (Revelation 14:10-11)


The Saints are called children of God. (1 John 3:9-10)

The Sinners are the children of the devil. (1 John 3:10)


The Saints are known by the Lord Jesus Christ.  (John 10:3)

The Sinners are not known by the Lord Jesus Christ. (Matthew 7:21-23)


The Saints do good works. (Ephesians 2:10)

The Sinners do evil work. (Galatians 5:19)


The Saints are forgiven of all their sins. (1 John 2:12)

The Sinners are never forgiven for their sins. (Revelation 21:8)


The Saints are loved by God. (1 John 4:10)

The Sinners are hated by God. (Psalm 5:5)


These ten comparisons should give you ample evidence, and there is much more in Scripture, that there is a great difference between the Saint and sinner in Scripture.  When Christians call themselves sinners, they are really defaming the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ.  They are basically stating that the cross changed nothing in their life and they have remained in a state of sin except now they consider themselves “saved sinners” which is a total oxymoron.  According to the Scriptures, you cannot be a sinner and a saint at the same time, either you are one or the other.  As we have seen in this study, that the Christian received much more than just salvation but received a kingship as well.  And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.  (Revelation 1:6)  The Lord Jesus Christ made the Christian much more than saved and when we reduce that position and call ourselves sinners, we are really denying what the Lord Jesus Christ did for us.  We are kings, priests, called out assembly, God’s inheritance, Beulah, a city not forsaken, city of truth, the fold of Christ, temple of the living God, Israel of God, body of Christ, family of God, chosen, holy, royal, sons and daughters of God, bride of Christ, justified, washed, sanctified, transformed, redeemed, THE people of God, etc.


Now you must make up your mind, either believe the Bible or believe the warped teachings of man.  For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.  (Proverbs 23:7)  As Proverbs 23:7 states, whatever you think in your heart, that will define you.  If you think like a sinner, you will act like a sinner.  If you think like a Saint, you will act like a Saint.  So let me ask the question I asked at the beginning.


Saint or Sinner – Which are You?