Does God see us Christians as sinners?


by Shawn Brasseaux

To address this question, we must consider two points. Firstly, being a sinner positionally, and, secondly, being a sinner practically.

Romans 5:12-21 says every person in the world falls into one of two categories—lost or saved. Respectively, they are under one of two heads—Adam (natural) or Christ (Christian). We are born into Adam’s family; this is a human’s natural status. We are naturally dead in trespasses and sins, fallen short of God’s glory, alienated from God’s life, and children of wrath. Psalm 51:5 describes a person born into this world: “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Romans 3:23 amplifies: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;….”

Ephesians 4:17-19 describes the natural man: “[17] This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, [18] Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: [19] Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.”

Ephesians chapter 2 says: “[1] And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; [2] Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: [3] Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”

In Ephesians 2:1-3, though, we noticed a marked change. There are people here who were (past tense) dead in trespasses and sins. They are no longer worthy of God’s wrath. The God of the Bible has “quickened” them, given them spiritual life and energy to function as He intended. Keep reading in the chapter to learn exactly what happened to them.

“[4] But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, [5] Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved; ) [6] And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: [7] That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. [8] For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: [9] Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Ephesians chapter 1 had already said of these individuals: “[4] According as he [God the Father] hath chosen us in him [Jesus Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: [5] Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, [6] To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”

While all people are part of Adam’s family, some people are part of God’s family. The difference is the Gospel of the Grace of God, which declares: “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Through simple faith in Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for their sins, the lost sinner is given God’s life, transferred from Adam to Christ. We are justified, made righteous in God’s sight, because of Jesus’ shed blood on the cross. Again, this is all because of what the Lord Jesus Christ did at Calvary on our behalf. It has nothing whatsoever to do with our religious performance.

Let us continue in Ephesians chapter 1: “[12] That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. [13] In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, [14] Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”

Upon trusting the Gospel of Grace, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit. That is, God the Holy Spirit baptizes us, or places us, into the Church the body of Christ. First Corinthians 12:13 declares: “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” To repeat, we move from being in Adam to being in Christ. Now, we share Christ’s identity: we share the intimate relationship He has with Father God. We are justified, holy, sanctified, loved, and so on. We have all sins totally forgiven forever (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14; Colossians 2:13). We are “accepted in the beloved [Christ]” (Ephesians 1:6). Due to sin, God has a controversy with those in Adam (unsaved), and thus can have no relationship with them; however, He has no problem with those in Christ (saved) because their sins have been taken care of at Calvary. Second Corinthians 5:17 says: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” The believer’s old identity in Adam is gone, and the believer has received a new identity in Christ.

Earlier, we read 1 Corinthians 12:13 that spoke of us being baptized into Jesus Christ, or the Church the Body of Christ. Now focus on verse 12: “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.” God the Father actually calls all Christians, the Body of Christ, “Christ.” We are so much closely identified with Jesus Christ, our Head, that Father God actually calls us by His only begotten Son’s name! (By the same token, Eve was so closely identified with Adam, her head, that God called both Adam and Eve, “Adam,” according to Genesis 5:1-2.) When God sees us Christians, He sees Christ, for we are in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Christ is certainly no sinner (2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 7:26; 1 Peter 2:21-22). To answer the question then, God does not see us believers in Christ as sinners. He sees lost/unsaved/non-Christian people as sinners.

We want to be careful to note that while we are in Christ, secure forever, that does not mean that we are free from the Adamic sin nature. Our physical bodies still have Adam’s sinful blood running in them, as they have not yet been redeemed (bought back from sin’s results). Return to Ephesians chapter 1: “[12] That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. [13] In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, [14] Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” Hone in on the phrase “the redemption of the purchased possession” of verse 14.

Turning to Romans chapter 8, we make a comparison and see amplification:

“[18] For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. [19] For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. [20] For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. [22] For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. [23] And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. [24] For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? [25] But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”

While we have been redeemed soul and spirit, we are physically un-redeemed. These flesh-and-blood bodies are still subject to the effects of sin. If the Lord tarries, they will grow sick, age, break down, die, and decay. However, at the resurrection—commonly called “the Rapture”—we will receive new glorified bodies. In your own time, please review 1 Corinthians 15:51-58, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 2 Corinthians 4:16–5:8, and Philippians 3:20-21. This is “the redemption of our body” stressed in Romans 8:23. In Christ, this physical body is crucified (see Romans 6:6 below).

We are not and will never again be sinners positionally; we are permanently in Christ and will never return to being in Adam. Still, we can be sinners practically. While it really is inconsistent with reality, we can choose to let our “old man” influence us on a daily basis. This is sin. We can let our sin nature run us (flesh of man) instead of our new nature in Christ control us (Spirit of God). Watch these issues show up as we now read large passages of Scripture.

Romans chapter 6: “[1] What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? [2] God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? [3] Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? [4] Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

“[5] For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: [6] Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. [7] For he that is dead is freed from sin.

“[8] Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: [9] Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. [10] For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. [11] Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

“[12] Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. [13] Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. [14] For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. [15] What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

“[16] Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? [17] But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. [18] Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. [19] I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. 

“[20] For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. [21] What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. [22] But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. [23] For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Finally, Romans chapter 8: “[1] There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. [2] For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. [3] For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: [4] That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. [5] For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. [6] For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. [7] Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. [8] So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. [9] But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”

We could go on and on, but suffice it to say that God sees us as saints rather than sinners. Here is what we need to understand now. Upon reading these verses, do we see ourselves as saints (God’s perspective) or as sinners (man’s perspective)? If we do not allow sound Bible doctrine—grace teaching—to influence our thoughts, then the Spirit of God will not renew our minds (Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 4:23; Colossians 3:10). We will thus see ourselves as sinners, and we will have no reason to behave like anything but sinners. If we read God’s Word (such as the aforementioned passages), and adopt that perspective though, then we will say, “Sin is not who I am anymore! I am a saint, a new creature in Christ! I am dead indeed to sin, and alive unto God! I need to walk in Christian thinking, maturity, and conduct!”

Christian friend, study Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, to learn more about how the Christian functions. It is impossible to cover all that here in this “short” study. By the way, try especially Romans chapter 12, Ephesians chapter 4, and Colossians chapter 3. If you read and believe them, they will cause you to see yourself as a saint (who you really are)! That will cause you to then live like a saint (who you really are)! After all, that is whom God really sees you as! 🙂

Also see:
» How do we not live after the flesh if we live in bodies of flesh?
» Can you explain Philippians 2:14-16?
» Why do some Christians persistently behave like lost people?