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“Saints” or “Sinners”?

Bill Donahue from DrBillDonahue.com (http://drbilldonahue.com/2011/02/the-gospel-according-to-rembrandt/) replied to my first post, and I thought what he said deserved attention. He said:

Interesting name. Is that what we really are? I read the gospel and we are referred to as saints in every letter to the churches. Never are we addressed as “justified sinners” — I think you are stuck there. Romans 5:1 is for us today. Freedom. We are justified saints, and we sin, we are not justified sinners. We are saints who sin, justified by faith.

Here’s what I have to say in response:

Hi Bill,

Thanks for the comment.

It is true that the New Testament calls believers “saints.” The Greek word used is αγιος, which is a substantive adjective meaning “holy ones.” So the question is: How is it that we are holy? If it is an inherent or infused holiness, then you are right and I should change the name of the blog. But if it is Christ’s righteousness which has been legally imputed to our accounts that explains why we are called “saints,” then there is a difference between our still-sinful condition (which produces sinful actions) and our legal status before God. This is what Paul is getting at in Romans 4:5 – “But to the one who does not work, but trust God who justifies the wicked, his faith is imputed as righteousness.” Notice that God does not justify saints. He justifies wicked people.

That is not to deny the reality of sanctification – the process whereby God conforms us more and more to the image of Christ. But sanctification will never be complete in this life.

There is also the testimony of John in his first letter: “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” and “If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” So if by “saints” you understand us to be inherently righteous or holy, then there is an obvious problem with what John is saying here. But if you mean that our legal status is that of “saints” because Christ’s righteousness has been imputed to us – even though our sinful actions come from our still-sinful hearts – then what John says makes perfect sense.

I hope that helps. And if you’d like to continue the dialogue, please let me know.

Chris Caughey


What does Jesus’ resurrection mean?

The guys on the White Horse Inn have talked about the resurrection for the last two weeks. I thought I would look at it from a slightly different angle: What does the fact of Jesus’ resurrection have to do with the meaning of it? I hope you enjoy this episode. Please comment on the blog or e-mail me.

Download original file here.

Social Justice or Common Grace?

The discussion on the March 28th edition of the White Horse Inn got me thinking about the evangelical buzz term “social justice.” In this episode, I suggest a better way for thinking about helping those in need.


Discussion of the January 31st White Horse Inn

Breaking down terms and ideas used in the January 31st episode of the White Horse Inn:



Genesis 3:15
Genesis 12
Genesis 15
Genesis 17
Exodus 24
Romans 5:14

The WHOLE Bible is about Christ


John 5:39
Luke 24:44

Welcome to Justified Sinners

Thanks for stopping by! This is a new podcast site devoted to bringing the gospel recovered by the Protestant Reformation to the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas.

This is a work in progress — which means that there will be changes and improvements — yet admittedly, the site is not flashy. But then again, neither is the gospel. The good news is really quite simple: God sent his Son in the flesh to die in our place to take the punishment for our sins upon himself, and to fulfill the righteous requirements of the Law so that God can both declare us to be righteous and be righteous himself. Faith alone as a gift of God’s grace alone because of the person and work of Christ alone is the good news I want to talk about in the Justified Sinners podcast.

Part of the goal here is to partner with the White Horse Inn, a nationally syndicated radio show that deals with the same themes. Until I figure this site out a bit more, here the White Horse Inn website