Have you ever called yourself a sinner saved by grace (assuming you're a Christian), or called yourself a sinner, period? I'm sure you've certainly heard Christian call themselves sinners. It seems humble, a proper attitude of humility to have before the Lord. Yet, is it accurate for a Christian to call himself (or herself) a sinner?
When one looks at the New Testament, I believe that in no single place can you find a Christian called a 'sinner.' I may be wrong, but I doubt it. The most often used term for Christians in the New Testament, based on impression rather than statistics, is 'saint.' We often shy away from that word because of Catholic connotations and due to the tendency toward self-righteousness that persists among too many of us. To call oneself a saint seems a self-promotion, calling attention to how good a person one is. Many of us like to avoid that, at least on the surface, preferring to focus on the thought that we're 'sinners' who've done nothing to deserve salvation.
Yet, the Bible, the very Word of God, does not refer to Christians as sinners. Sure, it expounds greatly on how lost we were prior to salvation and that we did nothing to earn salvation, but that it comes as a gift from God. God loves the ungrateful and wicked, the Bible says, and we certainly were among that lot.
Now, though, after believing in the name of Jesus Christ and in His blood shed as an atoning sacrifice for our sins, how does God see us? No longer are we called sinners, but saints, and sons and daughters of the living God. We sin, as discussed in 1 John 1, but clearly we are not sinners in His eyes, but have been washed clean by the blood of the Lamb. Sin does not define us anymore, nor does it have any necessary control over us. Some of us may fall into a pattern of sin that makes us appear no different than a non-believer, yet sin and Satan do not have to rule over us because of our position in Christ. We can allow sin to reign over our mortal bodies, but that need not be the case.
Sinner is not a term that applies to us, anymore. Is it by our own merit that we've received this new classification as 'saint'? No, but that makes it all the more imperative that we embrace our true position in Christ. To call oneself a sinner continuously is to make a mockery of the gift God bestowed on us. For you guys out there, imagine you meet a girl whom you deem beautiful and you call her that repeatedly, yet every time you do so she claims ugliness. No matter how you see her nore how often you tell her, she continues to see herself as ugly. Would you not grow frustrated with her, upset that she will not accept how you see her, how she, in fact, is in your eyes? Would it not be better if she smiled, believing you when you spoke, and through the joy she felt at your word confirm the very beauty you see in her instead of insisting on her ugliness and your kindness in saying that's she beautiful? You're great for thinking so, she might say, but I'm still ugly and not worthy of your words.
Too often, that's how we act toward God and His Word. Should we ignore our sins and the fact that we can, all too often, act in an ugly, repulsive manner? Of course not. Nor should we lord it over others or see some sort of merit in ourselves for being 'saints.' Yet, to ignore that God sees us through the lens of His Son, Jesus Christ, as beloved children and not as wretched sinners, spits in the face of one who accepts us and loves us and wants to shower us with every spiritual blessing in Jesus Christ. Yes, we're not worthy of it, but let's not make the mistake of Moses and spurn the Word of the Lord in a spat of false humility, but rather accept His Word as good, perfect, and true; and his word tells us that while once we were sinners saved by grace, now we're saints and children of God.