A local minister likes to call the church “A company of sinners”. I don’t believe this is scriptural, especially considering the misconception over Romans chapter 7 where similar views promote the idea that Paul in Romans 7 was speaking as a Christian, that this absolutely negative and defeated experience is that of the Christian, which is completely wrong.
The woman caught in adultery was told by Jesus that she was not condemned, but to “go and sin no more”. The whole biblical stance is wrapped up around the notion of sin, and so there also is the notion of NOT sinning. After all, to have faith in Jesus is to bring a person to the end result where they leave their former lives of sin, to become those with new lives where sin becomes something more remote from their present experience compared to their prior experience.
Now certainly we know that the basis of it all is that “natural man” is said to be DEAD “in sin”, whereas the new man is said to be ALIVE in Christ, in the Spirit. Otherwise what would be the point of pitting the “works of the flesh” against “The fruit of the Spirit”?
Under the old covenant the clarity of it was that if you broke the law, you had “sinned”, and needed to go to the priest every so often to ‘confess the sin’ and to obtain forgiveness by means of sacrificing a dove or a sheep or a bull. These sacrifices were to absolve oneself from this sin and the guilt of it.
Romans 6:12 “Do not let sin reign…” 6:14 “sin shall not be master over you…” 16 You are a slave to either sin or obedience. 18 Having been FREED from sin. 20 WHEN you were slaves to sin. 22 But now having been freed from sin and ENSLAVED to righteousness, the result is sanctification resulting in eternal life.
8:14 “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God”. 8:13 “…for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
IF THE RIGHTEOUS ARE SCARCELY SAVED, WHERE WILL THE SINNER STAND?
If there is no visible difference between the saint and the sinner, why bother at all? To identify with sinners on the basis of being one yourself is surely a strange way to go about the process of introducing others to the “benefits” of being a Christian. Why then have a list of things which are “sins” at all?
And all of this seems to be to justify this wrong view of Romans 7 that Christians are simply those who continue to be weak in the flesh as depicted by the error of misunderstanding Paul’s apparent behaviour, which though being the result of one being under the law, they claim to be that of one regenerated in Christ.
The benefit of the Christian life is based on the overturning of a legalistic apprehension of the “law”, and an apprehension of the new life based on the fact that the law of the Spirit of life has set you free from the law of sin and death. Having been set free from death (sin), you now freely serve LIFE.
SIN AND DEATH resulted from being under the law, righteousness and life come from being in Christ. To call Christians, to call the church, “a company of sinners”, is to use language that only the enemy might use. It is false and certainly unbiblical, something you should not expect from a Christian minister.