We Are Sinners
OK, so what's the big deal? EVERYONE says they're sinners, right? Sure. But Lutherans really mean it!
We take God at His Word that we are all born sinful and in need of God's Salvation. If God does not rescue us in Christ Jesus, we can't be saved.
Read Psalm 51:5. We are conceived and born sinful.
If Psalm 51 doesn't convince you, consider Romans 6:23. The wages of sin is death, right? And everybody dies; even little babies! All you need to do is pinch yourself to see if you're still capable of feeling pain, of getting old, sick, and finally, laying down your head one final time to wait until somebody puts you in the ground. No matter what your age, if you're still breathing, that will stop one day. What does that tell you? You're a sinner. We all are.
Lutherans aren't afraid of this diagnosis. We don't hide from it - although we don't like it or believe it any better than others. Scripture clearly says that we "were made sinners" by Adam's act of disobedience (Romans 5:19). We Lutherans readily confess that.
Most people will admit that they're not perfect, but even many Christians don't like to admit that our chief sin is that we break God's First Commandment. Simply put, we do not fear, love and trust in Him above ALL things - not as we should.
Some Christians say they are sinners, but then claim they have the strength of will to DO what sinners need to do in order to be saved. They say they aren't SUCH sinners that they don't still have the will, the capacity - with God's help, of course - to accept Jesus. In fact, they say that sinners HAVE to do that in order to be saved.
We Lutherans are on a different page completely! We don't think we're only partly sinners. We believe - on the basis of God's Word - that we are, by nature, just what the Scriptures say. We are . . .
By nature dead in our tresspasses and sins and objects of God's wrath. (Ephesians 2:1-3)
The Church Fathers have also spoken this way . . .
“But when the Lord Jesus came, He forgave all men that sin which none could escape, and blotted out the handwriting against us by the shedding of His own Blood. This then is the Apostle's meaning; sin abounded by the Law, but grace abounded by Jesus; for after that the whole world became guilty, He took away the sin of the whole world, as John bore witness, saying: Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. Wherefore let no man glory in works, for by his works no man shall be justified, for he that is just hath a free gift, for he is justified by the Bath. It is faith then which delivers by the blood of Christ, for Blessed is the man to whom sin is remitted, and, pardon granted.” (Ambrose, Letter 73, to Irenaeus, a layman)
"Look how it is. All human nature was taken in the foulest evils. 'All have sinned,' says Paul. They were locked, as it were, in a prison by the curse of their transgression of the Law. The sentence of the judge was going to be passed against them. A letter from the King came down from heaven. Rather, the King himself came. Without examination, without exacting an account, he set all men free from the chains of their sins." (Chrysostom - Discourses Against Judaizing Christians. Discourse I:6-II:1)
“The psalmist does not suppose that he is living this life, for he had said, See, I was conceived in iniquities and my mother bore me in sins. He knows that he was born from a sinful origin and under the law of sin.” - St. Hilary (Commentary on Psalm 118, 22)
"We then say, that in many things we all of us offend, and that no man is pure from uncleanness, even though his life upon earth be but one day. Let us ask then of God mercy; which if we do, Christ will justify us; by Whom and with Whom, to God the Father, be praise and dominion, with the Holy Spirit, unto ages of ages. Amen." - Homily 120 on Luke 18 - St. Cyril of Alexandria
"For the whole nature of man became guilty in the person of him who was first formed; but now it is wholly justified again in Christ." -- St. Cyril of Alexandria, Homily 42 on St. Luke
Discouraged by the bad news that we are truly sinners? Don't be! God diagnoses what HE can heal! And He provides that healing for us in Christ Jesus. No one needs the Medicine of Immortality that God provides us in His Son unless he is sick. No one needs a Savior unless he's really a sinner in real danger of God's wrath! To hear that we ALL are sinners is to hear that Christ has provided the Cure for us ALL!
Want the comfort God provides for all sinners? Give Pastor Sawyer a call at (601) 992-4752, or email him. He's got some good news for you!