"I am a sinner saved by grace."
What a nice sentiment that statement holds; I am unworthy of what God has given me, and I acknowledge that. Is that how God sees us, though? Simply as filthy people, He had to save?
"What you think, you are."
There are hundreds of examples that prove this. People who convince themselves they are sick, and then become ill. Children who are told they are dumb and begin failing tests. What we believe about ourselves is what we become.
So why do we tell ourselves that we are sinners? I don't want to continue to be a sinner.
You see, when we begin to explain the beauty of Jesus, the Gospel, and following Him, and we start out by saying that everyone in the world is a horrible person, we start to lose the beauty, and frankly, the point.
Yes, everyone sins. Romans 3:23. But where in Jesus' ministry did you see Him look at someone and say "You are a sinner and deserve death, but I am here to save you. So if you change your ways and follow me, then you can go to Heaven when you die."?
That's what he told the woman at the well, right? Oh, no. He told her that He had Living Water. Right. As though He wanted the woman to have the best life she could possibly have.
What about Zaccheus? Jesus definitely told him that he was a sinner. Wait.. no.. Jesus wanted to eat a meal with him... Like Zaccheus was any other human that deserved love.
Or what about the parable of the prodigal son? When the son finally returned home, the father told him how horrible he had been. Shoot.. I forgot.. He actually threw his son a party because he was more concerned about his son being home than about whatever he had done in his time away.
You see, my point is not that I do not sin. We all sin. It is the disposition of our flesh. My point is that Jesus doesn't condemn me for my sin, and he doesn't label me as a sinner. He calls me loved, cherished, magnificent. I am one in whom Christ dwells and delights. If I continue to say that I am a sinner, I will continue to live out of sin. If I remind myself daily that I am indwelt by Christ and eternally loved, I will begin to live out of love.
Jesus was the wisest person to ever live. His ministry was flawless. The point He made in every encounter that is recorded in the Bible is that the Kingdom of God is a place of goodness and beauty. He was never trying to convince people to stay out of Hell or to not sin. He was explaining to people why they should choose to live out of the Kingdom.
The more we talk about how sinful we are, the harder it will be to avoid sin.
The more we talk about the goodness of the Kingdom and God's grace - the way He moves in our lives - the harder it will be to avoid those things.
So maybe it's time to erase the phrase "I am a sinner" from your vocabulary. Try replacing it with some of these:
"By the grace of God, I am a saint."
"I am an unceasing spiritual being with an eternal destiny in God's great universe."
"I am one in whom Christ dwells and delights."
Start telling yourself these things every morning, and see if it changes your perspective on yourself, God, and those around you. I think it might.