In many conversations with born-again Christians, I have heard some say “I am a sinner in need of God’s grace”. Sounds like a “normal” thing to say, doesn’t it? After all there is a song out there with the lyrics “For a saint is just a sinner who fell down, and got up”. Unfortunately, anytime this statement is made, I find myself being very uncomfortable, because many questions pop up in my mind? For instance, if we are still sinners even though we are born again, how then could we be the sons of God. Can sinners really be the sons of God? Did Jesus descend from His heavenly throne and humble himself in a form of man, to suffer a shameful grotesque death and be raised, for us to remain sinners? Then what was His point of His coming? Which begs the bigger question, are Christians still sinners after becoming born again?
The main reason why many Christians albeit being born again, would still profess that they are sinners, is because they still continue to sin. Yet, what many don’t understand is that the act of sin is not what makes one a sinner – at least that is what the Bible makes us understand. In 2 Corinthians 5:17, the Bible says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”. Who is this new creature and what are the old things that have passed away? The Bible makes us aware in John 3:6 that the process of being born again is a spiritual one and not a physical one. This means that it is the spirit man that is born again of the Spirit of God and not his body, which is the home that his spirit man dwells in. Understand that the real you is your spirit-being, you possess a soul and live in a body. Therefore when you are born again after the Spirit of God, the real you undergoes a re-birth. What is this re-birth and what does it bring about?
When Adam ate of that fruit in the Garden of Eden, the Bible makes us aware that sin entered into the world [Romans 5:18-21]. How did it enter into the world? By contaminating the spirit-being of man and making him easily disposed to doing things contrary to the nature of God. Remember man had been created in the image of likeness of God, so its nature before sin was to function and be like God, and not do things against Him. That is why the Bible said before the sin problem was dealt with by Jesus that, “for all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God” [Romans 3:23] and “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” [Isaiah 64:6]. It is as a result of this sin nature problem, which causes men to sin (and not the reverse), which propelled God to bring a solution. The law which was given to the Israelites could not change it. After all, the law dealt with the acts of sin and not the sin nature itself. The sin problem rendered us dead to God, but alive to sin and made us spiritually dead (walking zombies in the eyes of God) What the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus did was to give a new life. What was this new life that Christ came to give us?
This life was definitely not like the old life that made us sinners. In 2 Corinthians 5:17, we learn that Jesus came to give us a completely new life, one after the Spirit of God. A life that made us the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus [2 Corinthians 5:21]. It is this righteousness which as been imputed unto us, that makes it absolutely IMPOSSIBLE for us to remain sinners after being born again. The righteousness of God (not ours which are filthy rags), makes us easily disposed to pleasing God and to act in conformance with His life and nature at work in us. It is not something you can work for or boast of because it is not your own [Ephesians 2:8-9]. This is why Apostle John had the confidence to say “NOW, are we the sons of God” [1 John 3:2]. This is the problem that required the precious blood of Jesus and once you become born again, it is dealt with. That is why Apostle Paul says that when you become born again, you become “dead to sin but alive to God” [Romans 6:11]. It is this new creation that God’s Spirit has taken its abode in. The Holy Spirit cannot dwell in a nature that is sinful – absolutely not – because God is a Holy God. Jesus nailed the sin problem on the cross and dealt with it forever. Additionally, the Bible makes us aware then when you become born again, you become translated from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of God’s dear son [Colossians 1:13]. How then can a sinner be accepted into God’s kingdom if you are still “darkness”? But you may ask, why then do Christians continue to sin after being born-again?
Remember that it is your spirit man that gets born-again, and not your body or soul or mind. The mind and body still retain information from the life you had before you became born-again. It is for this reason that Apostle Paul stresses that Christians must “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” [Romans 12:1-2, KJV]. This is where many people fall short and find themselves doing that same things they used to do when they were not born-again. Until you let the Word of God have its full effect on you by studying and meditating on the Word, you and the unbeliever (the sinner) will look the same, and you will find yourself constantly confessing that you are a sinner.
Finally, understand that words are very powerful. The more you confess you are a sinner (which is contrary to who God has made you to be in Christ) the more you will find yourself involved in acts of sin. The devil loves that because He knows if you don’t function according to how you have been made in Christ, you will not exert the authority you have in Christ, over Him. God has made us aware that if we do sin, we have an advocate with the Father through Jesus [1 John 1:9]. Refuse to let the devil hold sin over you through guilt. God does not condemn but convicts us to act righteousness even when you find ourselves partaking in acts of sin.
So is the Christian still a sinner after being born again? ABSOLUTELY NOT. The Christian is the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, whether or not they sin.