The Christian As Simultaneously Saint And Sinner

A person is conceived and born sinful and is under the power of the devil until Christ claims the person as His own in baptism.[1] At baptism a new sacramental reality occurs, the ‘new man’ is created as the person is given the Holy Spirit, as well as forgiveness, life, and salvation. Furthermore, with the creation of the new man, the Christian experiences a paradoxical state of being simultaneously saint and sinner (i.e., the Christian lives in a time where the two aeons – pictured below – overlap). That is to say, the Christian is joined externally to Jesus in baptism (e.g., the Christians is entirely a saint); however, the person simultaneously remains a weak creature where sin still dwells internally (e.g., the Christian is entirely a sinner). As it is to be expected, this creates a civil war with the Christian because sin – even though it is conquered in Christ’s death and resurrection – still mounts within, resulting in the Christian being driven daily, in ever greater degrees, to flee outside ‘himself’ to Christ. By faith, the Christian flees outwardly to an external reality of the new person he is in Christ.[2] Indeed, every moment, every thought, every word, and every deed becomes the combat zone of this epic war with the Christian. Even though this civil war begins at baptism as a result of the overlapping aeons, the good news is that the civil war ends at the death of the Christian. That is to say; the end of the civil war between the ‘old Adam’ and the ‘new man in Christ’ ends when the Christian dies. At death, the Christian no longer lives in both aeons but only one, the Kingdom of the Son of God. At death, the reign of sin, death, and the old Adam are terminated as the Christian- in Christ – awaits the resurrection of the body and everlasting life.[3]


1) The Rite of Holy Baptism, Lutheran Service Book (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2006), 268.
2) Martin Luther states, ““This is the reason why our theology is certain, it snatches us away from ourselves and places us outside ourselves, so that we do not depend on our own strength, conscience, experience, person, or works but depend on that which is outside ourselves, that is, on the promise and truth of God, which cannot deceive.” (LW 26:387)
3) Jonathan Grothe, The Justification of the Ungodly: An Interpretation of Romans (St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada: 2012), 254-266.

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