Hi, I am a Sinner.
I wanted to make sure you knew that. I put the letters in bold, just in case you missed it. Just in case I did.
You don’t always see the way I mess up on this side of the computer screen. But let me be frank: I am a Sinner.
The King called a Banquet; someone told me it was potluck. So I looked all over the house for something to bring, but the only thing I had to bring to the table was my own sin.
And the Host said that’s all He ever required. I knocked at the door, and He let me in, with my steaming sin in a covered-casserole dish. And He took it away.
Hi, I am a Saint.
Those are harder words to write. I mean, who is holy enough to say something like that? A missionary in Uganda? The local preacher? The Pope?
Dare I call myself a saint?
But I am. Sainthood does not rely on the merits of the individual, but on the identity found in Christ. I did nothing to earn it. I only showed up at the door with fresh sin.
Hi, I am Saint and Sinner.
I am living securely on this side of the Light, saint-side. Trouble is, I tend to dip my toes on the dark side of the line, assuring my identity as sinner. My old nature rises up, and I have to battle her, every day.
What do we make of this? This internal warring of the good and bad?
“Simul iustus et peccator.” Those were the words Martin Luther wrote to identify human beings who are, at once, both saint and sinner.
Both wretched and loved.
Both ruined and re-created.
Both wrecked and received.
Broken, and bought back.
And how can I do anything but just weep the deepest gratitude toward the King? I don’t deserve to step one wretched toe in the door of the Banquet Hall, but He ushers me to a seat at the table. His banner over me is not shame, but love.
I’m like a common criminal, guilty. But how have I been sentenced? To life in grace, without parole.
There is no greater gift than this. No. Not one gift greater. Christ came to rescue sinners. He loves the whole messed-up lot of us. Stunning, isn’t it?
What do we do with a gift like that?
By Thanking the King of Kings who takes us as we are, but promises never to leave us that way.
“Here’s a word you can take to heart and depend on: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. I’m proof—Public Sinner Number One—of someone who could never have made it apart from sheer mercy.”
– 1 Timothy 1:15 (The Message)
(“Life in grace without parole” … A phrase borrowed from our wise friend, Jason Wiersma, who serves as pastor of Living Stone Prison Church)
Helpful Resources: “What Must Someone Believe in Order to be Saved?” A video by John Piper.
“Grace Always Comes as a Contradiction.” A few thoughts from Tullian Tchividjian.