Thursday, August 13, 2009

'Sinner' or Not?

A thought came to mind recently: many Christians are fond of saying they are sinners saved by God’s grace. The word ‘sinner’ in this context is used with the common English sense in which the –er morpheme indicates someone who repeatedly performs an action, namely one who sins.

I don’t know if this modern use of the term squares with New Testament usage. At least in Luke 5:32 you see a sharp dichotomy between the righteous and sinners: “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” Christians are declared righteous by God—justification—which naturally sets them apart from the category of sinners Jesus spoke of in Luke 5:32. Clearly the NT use of ‘sinner’ here differs from the modern English use of ‘sinner’.

(To be fair to the issue, I must confess that I have not researched the Old Testament to see if there is congruence. Sometimes OT and NT concepts differ.)

Anyone have any thoughts to share? Please correct me if I am wrong.