It has been said in churches time and time again. Songsters have repeated the refrain as though there were a tremendous truth behind the words that sound so good but have absolutely no truth behind them. The words suggest that saints and sinners are the same are not only insulting but also demean the entire reason for salvation. Even more, if saints and sinners were the same then there would have been no reason for Christ to die on the cross because His death would have made no impact on the lost.
Now, let’s get to the heart of the matter by first understanding what a sinner is. You see a sinner is one who practices sin as a lifestyle. A sinner totally disregards the Word of God and displeases God by his very actions. This is to say that a sinner is the antithesis of godliness. Sinners seek self pleasure rather than pleasing God. The sin nature is made clear in II Timothy 3:1-5 with the words, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
Saints do not fall under this category. Saints love God and live according to His standard. The term “saint” is linked to the Greek hagios presenting the idea of holiness. Holiness is the intentional separation from those things that pull from God. As such saints are not merely good people that do good things rather they are people that seek after God’s very heart with the idea of pleasing Him. They abstain from sin and have lifestyles worthy of righteousness. Saints pray for those that despitefully use them (Matthew 5:44) and keep themselves “unspotted from the world” (James 1:27).
No, saints and sinners are not the same. Any suggestion to the contrary is merely an excuse for those that love to live in sin. The fact of the matter is that once a person turns his life over to Christ he is no longer the same. He has forsaken a life of sin in exchange for a life of holiness. Moreover Paul makes abundantly clear that saints and sinners are distinct and different in every level. Consider the words of Romans 6:1-3, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?”
Paul goes on to show the likeness of sin and death in that sin separates man from God while death, or separation, from sin is indeed freedom. As such it safe to say that sin binds while holiness frees. Sinners, therefore, are bound by their own lusts while saints are free to celebrate because of the Pauline advise not to let sin “reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof” ( Romans 6:12). Saints take this very idea to heart and seek to separate themselves from sin. Sin is the enemy of saints who work diligently not to be part of what pulls from godliness. Sinners have no regard for holiness but seek only to please themselves. Saints and sinners truly have nothing in common.
Saints enjoy salvation provided by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. This salvation is the deliverance of the faithful from the power and influence of sin. Herein is the difference between saints and sinners. Saints walk in the authority of salvation which leads to holiness while sinners walk contrary to anything that comes close to godliness. No, saints and sinners are not the same and any suggestion otherwise pulls from the very idea of salvation.