I was born a Selking. That’s the family line I was born into. I didn’t have a choice in the matter; that’s just how it’s been since the beginning of my life. My life comes from my familial line. No matter what I do in life, I will always be a Selking, right up until the day I die. Only death can release me from my familial ties.
Not only was I born into the Selking familial line, I was also born into Adam’s line. As I inherited my family’s traits and name, I also inherited Adam’s curse – the curse of sin. So I was born a sinner, just as I was born a Selking. There’s really nothing I can do about it.
It is not because of my individual sins that I am a sinner. It is because I was born a sinner that I sin.
“Sinner” was my identity from birth. So why do I say that I am not a sinner.
Let’s take a look at Romans 6:6-11:
“We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Paul writes here that our “old self” was crucified with Christ. That means that on the cross, two thousand years ago, the sinful nature within us was brutally murdered with Christ, on the very same cross as our Savior. Remember how I said that my familial ties can only be changed through death? The very same truth applies to our spiritual identity before God. We were so stained, blemished, and unclean in our sinful state that God could not do anything but destroy that part of us. There was no saving it or cleaning it out. No, God removed that part from us by killing it completely and thoroughly.
And through that death, we are free. Because God didn’t stop at killing the Old Adam, He gave us a new Spirit – His Spirit. Christ died so that we might die, and he was raised again so that we would have newness of life in Him. Not our old lives, but a completely brand new life, filled with the living hope of His Spirit.
And what are we to do? “Consider [ourselves] dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” [v. 11]. Sin has no hold on us anymore. Paul continues later in the chapter, “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace” [6:14]. To consider ourselves “dead to sin,” we only have to trust in what God says. We must only believe in His promise – the promise that we are no longer under the rule of sin but under the rule of grace.
This is why I say I am not a sinner. I was. In God’s eyes, I was unrighteous. But when I put my faith in God, when I accepted the gift which He has graciously and mercifully provided for me, my status changed. My identity was transformed. No longer does God call me “sinner,” but “beloved,” “child,” “daughter,” “my chosen one.” No longer is my inheritance one of eternal suffering, but one of eternal life, love, and glory with Jesus in Heaven!
Don’t get me wrong – just because I’m not a sinner doesn’t mean I don’t sin. I do. I sin a lot. I make mistakes all the time. I run to empty wells because I still live in a world where the curse of sin is present. But my identity, who I am, is not defined by those sins. I still sin even though the Old Adam within me is dead, and I will continue to sin until the end of my life, but my identity is not “sinner.”
I am not a sinner. And if you believe that Jesus Christ, the risen Lord and Savior, died on that cross because of your sin and rose again to redeem you and remove you from its power, then you are not a sinner either. Like me, you are a child of God, a delight to the most High King. Embrace your identity. Embrace the new life that has been given to you.
“So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, than an heir through God.”