SINNERS SAVED BY GRACE?
One of the paramount illusions of today is that a person may be a Christian, and at the same time be a sinner. Even the thought that “We are sinners, saved by grace” is not only misleading, but unscriptural, as we have been noting. Plainly put, salvation and sin do not mix. If people are sinners, they are not saved. To say, that we were sinners but are now saved by grace would be the truth. If we hold to the scriptures, there is no way to have both–sin and salvation. It would be just as proper to say–I am a liar, though truthful by grace; or, I am a corpse but alive by the power of God; or, I am a drunkard, but always sober–as to say, I am a sinner, saved by grace.
The fact is, the expression should not be in present tense, but in the past. This would make it clear that not only the work had been done but when it was done. Again, “I am a sinner, saved by grace” will never harmonize: If a man is a dead corpse, he is not alive; if he is a liar, he is not truthful; if he is a drunkard, he is not sober; if a woman is a prostitute, she is not a virgin… Got it? The scriptures do not mix things. They place things where they belong, so if the inner man is a sinner, he is not saved; but if that inner man is dead to sin, he is surely saved. It may be clear that there is sin in the lives of Christians; but this does not declare them to be sinners saved by grace. For instance, Preston Eby wrote in his study, FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE, Part 12:
“Dead men don’t keep on doing evil things and then excuse it by saying that they just didn’t know they were dead; it was just such a habit that they have to remind themselves that they are dead so they can learn to act like dead men! What drivel! Yet, I have heard great preachers proclaiming such foolishness, in an effort to rationalize why Christians have fleshly, ungodly emotions and desires, and do bad things, when their old man is dead! It should be clear to any spiritual mind that either the old man isn’t dead or we have misidentified the old man!
I think it is the latter. God isn’t playing games with us! Do saints still struggle with the carnal mind and the works of the flesh? Do saints still sin? ‘If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’ (I John. 1:8-9).
“Ah, precious friend of mine, ‘sin in our members’ and the ‘old man’ are not the same! Every scripture throughout the whole Bible bears witness to this fact. Let me give it to you in the simplest of terms. There are many, many scriptures, but two will suffice to point the way. ‘For I delight in the law of God after the inward man’ (Rom. 7:22). Notice what the inward man does. He delights in the law of God — righteousness! But even though the inward man, the new man, delights in righteousness, the awful power of sin lies in our members. Now let us look at the old man. ‘Strip yourselves of your former nature (the old man) — put off and discard your old unrenewed self — which characterized your previous manner of life and becomes corrupt through lusts and desires that spring from delusion’ (Eph. 4:22, Amplified).
These two passages tell us this: The new man is a nature that delights in righteousness; the old man is a nature that desires or delights in that which is corrupt. The old man, therefore, is our old unregenerated spiritual state in which we desired and delighted in the flesh! Please notice that it is the nature that desires and delights in sin — it is not the ‘body of sin’ (the flesh) itself! It is so important that we see and clearly understand the distinction Paul draws in his writings between ‘sin in our members’ which is ‘the flesh’ — and the ‘old man.’ These are not interchangeable terms!
Sin was the power and principle of evil rooted in our members, in our flesh, in our body! The old man, on the other hand, is our old unregenerated spiritual state in which we delighted in the sin in our members! And the new man is our quickened, regenerated spiritual existence by which we now delight in righteousness. ‘For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my (inward man) mind’ (Rom. 7:22-23). How much plainer can it be!