Q&A: I Am Not a Sinner?

I Am Not a Sinner?

Question

I know I am not a sinner. I do not lie or cheat, etc. So, why do I need Christ?

Answer

You are exhibiting doubt in your assertion, "I know I am not a sinner," by merely asking the question. If you had no doubt, then you would not be concerned about the answer. The fact that you are concerned shows you have doubts as to whether or not you have sinned. Your doubt indicates your guilt.

We are all sinners. I am a sinner. You are a sinner. All men (save Christ) have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23; 1 John 1:8). But let us say that you have never stolen, lied, etc. And let us say you have never once dishonored your parents or committed adultery (Luke 18:11; cf. Prov. 30:12; Matt. 5:20). You are still a sinner.

Why do I say that you are still a sinner? Though you may claim to have obeyed the commandments above 100%, you did not do this for the glory of God alone (1 Cor. 1:31), the one you have already openly admitted that you do not even know when you asked, "So, why do I need Christ?" So, you have failed to do what is right! You have failed to do that which is holy, just, and good. This would also be calling God a liar because he says that all men have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23; 1 John 1:8). You have sinned because you have dishonored God; you have come short of his glory. So, you are a sinner. And you do need Christ.

Repentance of sin is a gift of God (2 Tim. 2:24-26). Ask God to give you repentance. Acknowledge the truth both about yourself (you are a sinner) and about Christ (he is the only Savior (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). Salvation, too, is a free gift of God (Rom. 6:23; Eph. 2:8-10; 2 Tim. 1:9; Tit. 3:5). Jesus bore our sin in his body (1 Pet. 2:24) and paid the penalty for breaking the law of God including both his elect's acts of commission and omission. Ask God to save you (John 3:1-8).

The simple teaching of Scripture is "He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life" (1 John 5:12). The Bible simply teaches that we are justified by grace alone, through faith alone, because of Christ alone. The meaning of this has been clarified by many throughout church history. The "The Cambridge Declaration" (Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, 1996) summarizes this basic truth. It says:

Justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. This is the article by which the church stands or falls... There is no gospel except that of Christ's substitution in our place whereby God imputed to him our sin and imputed to us his righteousness. Because he bore our judgment, we now walk in his grace as those who are forever pardoned, accepted and adopted as God's children. There is no basis for our acceptance before God except in Christ's saving work, not in our patriotism, churchly devotion or moral decency. The gospel declares what God has done for us in Christ. It is not about what we can do to reach him. We reaffirm that justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. In justification Christ's righteousness is imputed to us as the only possible satisfaction of God's perfect justice. We deny that justification rests on any merit to be found in us, or upon the grounds of an infusion of Christ's righteousness in us, or that an institution claiming to be a church that denies or condemns sola fide can be recognized as a legitimate church.

The amazing thing concerning true salvation is that it is all grace. It is the work of God, not of man. It is the story of a loving Savior who redeems his people, and he does so fully and completely. It is about a loving sovereign God, a perfect incarnate Savior, and an accomplished redemption.

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).