We May Sin, but We are not Sinners
There I was: a shy, eighteen year-old guy standing in the Ohio State arena, with over twenty thousand people gazing down on me. I was at the 2009 Ohio High School State Wrestling Tournament. The “online experts” had not expected me to qualify for the grueling tournament; I was not even close to being in the running, according to them. As far as they were concerned, I was a nobody who didn’t deserve to be there.
Nobodies don’t win wrestling matches at the state level,
and if I had let the internet critics define me, I would have been quickly eliminated along with all of the other nobodies. My upcoming match was against a guy who was ranked fifth in the state. I was ranked 25th. Before competing in that match, which I would later win, my Dad sat me down, and went to war against the competing thoughts and lies that were in my head. He told me that I was a champion – just as good as anyone else in that room. He told me that the guy standing across the mat from me was the one who should be scared, and he reminded me that I had trained hard and well just to prepare myself for this moment. Winning that match was the highlight of my high school wrestling career, and I almost allowed the voices of some ignorant internet critics to deprive me of that experience.
Here’s a truth that every Christ-follower must continually remind themselves of: spiritual warfare is real, and heaven and hell are constantly at war with eachother as they try to tell you who you are. Satan is not only the father of lies, but also the great identity thief, and his primary mission is to make you believe lies about yourself. The enemy will say to you,
“You can’t have a healthy relationship with God until you get that right.”
“God isn’t proud of you; He’s embarassed of you.”
“You’re never going to get this right; you will always fail in this area of your life.”
“You’re a sinner.”
And just like I let the voice of those internet critics cause me to doubt myself, so the enemy causes you to doubt the power of God in you. Instead of listening to those voices, listen to the Word of God:
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation. The old is gone; the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
“So you are no longer a slave, but a child, and if a child, then also an heir through God.” Galatians 4:7
You’re blameless, righteous, loved, wanted, and uncondemned.
You might still sin, but you aren’t a sinner.
In shaming you, the enemy’s strategy is to cause you to both feel further from God and stuck in a cycle of sin. When we listen to the enemy’s lies, we avoid God, because we are afraid that He won’t want anything to do with us until we remove sin from our lives. In reality, God is the only one who can help us overcome sin! And the deceptive trap of the enemy is exposed.
God looks at you like a good father looks at his infant child. When a human father realizes that his child has had an accident, written with crayons on the wall, or broken a vase, he doesn’t particulary enjoy these discoveries, but they don’t affect his love for his child in the slightest. In the same way, God doesn’t enjoy it when we sin, but He also doesn’t hold it against us because of Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the cross. When your sins were nailed on the cross with Christ, your shared identity with Christ was solidified, and condemnation became impossible, because Jesus cannot be condemened.
Here’s the truth about your identity:
You have the courage of Christ; you overcome fear.
You have the loving heart of Christ; you mend broken hearts.
You have the boldness of Christ; you destroy spiritual strongholds.
You have the faith of Christ; you laugh in the face of doubt.
Whether you “feel” it or not, these things are all true of you, because Jesus lives within you. Listen to how the Apostle Paul puts it:
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
Whenever you feel fearful, you aren’t lacking courage (The courage of Christ is in you), but you have believed Satan’s lie that you have something to fear. Rebuke it in Jesus’ name and live in the courage He manifests within you! Whenever you feel unloving toward people, you aren’t lacking love (The love of Christ is in you), but you have believed Satan’s lie that you are unloving. Rebuke it in Jesus’ name and live in the love He manifests within you! Whenever you feel doubtful, you aren’t lacking faith (The faith of Christ is in you), but you have believed Satan’s lie that you are a doubter. Rebuke it in Jesus’ name and live in the faith of Christ.
You aren’t a sinner; don’t believe the lies in your head.
“What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.” Romans 8:31-34