Admitting you're a sinner is not a popular thing to say these days. It can effect one's self-esteem, we are told. But truth often hurts, and the fact remains that we are a sinful people.
Those who have been born again recognized their sinfulness prior to their conversion. Throughout scripture reference is made to the sinfulness of humanity. And the actions of people in the Bible certainly confirm their tendency toward evil.
Consider the evil that is so prevalently displayed in the very first book of the Bible. Mankind is so wicked and corrupt that God regrets creating man, and wipes out the earth with a flood:
"The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.”
Noah was spared the wrath of the flood and through him mankind replenished the earth once again. But soon thereafter, evil resumed - and it has not slowed down since.
The truth is, we are born sinners. It is not something that we gradually become. Our very nature is evil, and this is the reason our propensity toward wrongdoing is so strong.
In the New Testament, this truth is also confirmed. The Apostle Paul states in Romans 3... “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive. The venom of asps is under their lips. Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
This is a description of you and me; not just some foreigners we've never met, or some pagan tribe in the deep, dark jungles of Africa. Nope - this is modern day Americans like you and I (and the rest of the world).
Consider the sordid details of this passage, its in-depth description of our nature: our throat is an open grave and the poison of snakes is in our tongue. That's disturbing.
This is why we gossip and slander, and sleep with another man's wife. It is your nature to do so. No one had to teach you: it came quite naturally. Ducks quack because it's their nature to do so: you sin because it's your nature to do so.
But for those of you who have entered into a relationship with Jesus, our story is not over. There is more to us. We are also, as the column in the right explains, "saved."
The word "saved" is used often in the Bible to describe the condition of believers in Jesus. And I could write a hundred articles on its various meanings. But in this particular article I want to focus on a couple of truths about what it means to be "saved."
One sure thing about salvation has to do with being RESCUED! If you have been saved, you have been rescued.
One who needs to be rescued is one who is in trouble. Perhaps he is drowning, or has his foot caught on the railroad track. Such a one desperately needs rescuing - saving.
Once we come to grips with our sinfulness, as described in the column to the left, we realize that we are "drowning," or "caught." We needed someone to rescue us, to save us. And that is precisely what Jesus did.
I like the old hymn Love Lifted Me:
I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore. Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more. But the Master of the sea heard my despairing cry, and from the waters lifted me, now safe am I."
Jesus rescued you. And now you are "safe." He came and got you. He interrupted your life and set you on another path. You were going in one direction: Jesus turned you around and set you in another direction.
And not only were you rescued, another act also took place in your heart: you were given the Holy Spirit, and He, in turn, placed a new heart within you.
THE TRUTH IS YOU ARE NOT THE PERSON YOU USED TO BE!
You are still sinful, yes, and always will be. But the fact that you're a sinner is only part of who you are. A change has taken place. The "updated" you is a saved person who is indwelt by the Spirit of God and who possesses a new heart.
And as a saved person, indwelt by the Spirit, and the proud owner of a new heart, the potential for incredible good resides inside of you.
This is because you are, in the words of the Apostle Paul, a "new creature." You are not the same kind of person you were prior to your salvation. Yes, you still sin because of your flesh, but it is equally true that there is potential for a whole new life because of the new nature you have been given. The new you is the REAL YOU.
This new you likes the same "stuff" that God likes. For instance, just as the "old you" enjoyed gossip and slandering others, the "new you" likes to bless and encourage others. The old you was only concerned with satisfying self: the new you wants to live for others.This is because a "new life" is inside you. Think about this: the new life inside of you is the same kind of life that GOD HIMSELF IS!
...by Dwight Edwards, is a great book that can assist you in better understanding what happened to you at your "salvation." You can get it at amazon.com.