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Non-Boring Theology Talk

DO “WRETCHES” OR “SINNERS SAVED BY GRACE” REALLY GO TO HEAVEN?

Steve Harmon

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Could it be that many Christians have misunderstood what Paul said in Romans 7 as though he was speaking about himself in the past, even though the 'tense' is translated in the present? He says, "Oh wretched man that I am". He never alludes to that type of identity anywhere else in his letters. In fact, Paul is the one who states several times that the believer has a new identity that is not associated with "wretchedness", or "filth" when they are "in Christ". This is a perfect case in which we have to interpret scripture with scripture. Paul never refers to believers as wretches or sinners who are saved. Jesus, Paul, John and Peter say that the believer is 'in Christ'..  Here is what the rest of scripture says..

I am a new creation - 2 Cor 5:17
I am reconciled to God - 2 Cor 5:18
I'm a child of God - He is my Father - 1 Jn 3:1,2
I am a saint - Eph 1:1; 1 Cor 1:2; Phil 1:1
I am Christ's friend - Jn 15:15
I am a fellow citizen in God's kingdom - Eph 2:19
I am born of God - 1 Jn 4:7
I have been brought near to Christ - Eph 2:13
I have been adopted by God - Rom 8:15
I have direct access to God - Eph 2:18
I am a citizen of heaven - Phil 3:20
I am an heir of God - Rom 8:17
I've been rescued from Satan's domain - Col 1:13
I am a joint heir with Christ - Rom 8:17; Gal 4:7
I am hidden with Christ in God - Col 3:3
I am blessed with every spiritual blessing - Eph 1:3
I am chosen of God - holy, beloved - Col 3:12
I am a child of promise - Rom 9:8; Gal 3:14
I am a child of light, not darkness - 1 Thess 5:5
I've been given great promises - 2 Pet 1:4
I am a partaker of Christ - Heb 3:14
I'm one of God's living stones - 1 Pet 2:5
I'm a member of a royal priesthood - 1 Pet 2:9
I'm redeemed and forgiven - Eph 1:6-8
I've been justified - made righteous - Rom 5:1
I died w/Christ to the power of sin - Rom 6:1-6
I am free from condemnation - Rom 8:1
I have received the Spirit of God -1 Cor 2:12
I am to be light in the world - Mt 5:14
I have been given the mind of Christ - 1 Cor 2:16
I'm chosen and appointed to bear fruit - Jn 15:16
I have been crucified with Christ - Gal 2:20
I am called to do the works of Christ - Jn 14:12
I have been made alive with Christ - Eph 2:5
I have been given spiritual authority - Lk 10:19
I am God's workmanship - Eph 2:10
Signs should accompany my work - Mk 16:17-20
I have received fullness in Christ - Col 2:10
I am a minister of a new covenant - 2 Cor 3:6
I am a minister of reconciliation - 2 Cor 5:18,19
I am to be an expression of life in Christ - Col 3:4
I am connected to the true vine - Jn 15:1,5
I am a partaker of a heavenly calling - Heb 3:1
I am a temple of God - 1 Cor 3:16; 6:19
I am one spirit with the Lord - 1 Cor 6:17
I am a member of Christ's body - 1 Cor 12:27

How in the world can I, as a believer, be a wretch or a 'sinner saved by grace' and still be all of these at the same time?? The reality is, if I'm a wretch, or a sinner then I need to get saved because wretches and sinners don't go to heaven, but righteous and redeemed people do.. When I used to call myself a 'sinner saved by grace' I later realized that I was doing it in the form of false humility. I believed that I was thinking of myself as being really humble by beating up my identity. I would say foolish stuff like this.. "Oh Jesus, your everything, and I am garbage". I'd feel so proud of myself later for saying it and believed that God was looking down on me with eyes that were proud of His 'wretched' and humble son. But of course, that was my old view on it. The bible says different, which means God says different and I was actually in disobedience to God, by choosing not to believe His word.. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 1 Cor 5:17

We have theologies that are in complete contradiction and we don’t even realize it. True humility is focusing on God and other more than yourself, not the old mindset of focusing on God and others more than our self and focusing on how awful and how much we’ve fallen short. The thing is that you have to love yourself if you are going to love others.. Jesus commands it. “Love your neighbor as you would yourself”. He’s saying love people more than you would love yourself. We make this all too complicated.. “Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved someone like me”, is a better way of saying it.. God gets no pleasure in you are talking down about yourself..