ANOTHER term for “Christian” is “justified sinner.” This term imputes so much!
Before we go any further, this article is about the heart of the Christian’s identity — what might as well be inscribed on their soul — as they’re proscribed from a litany of identity that ever competes for the human psyche. So if you’re not after such an analysis, point your browsing into another direction now.
Simul Justus et Peccator…
Simul Justus et Peccator is a theological formula that Martin Luther authored and used. Many say it summarises in just a few words all of what the Reformation was about. I want to explore this term as a thesis for the basis of our Christian identities as justified sinners.
Simul Justus et Peccator means, literally, “Simultaneously justified and a sinner.”
We’re not justified to sin, but, due to a sinless Saviour, we’re justified in God’s eyes whilst we’re still sinners.
God has crossed over. He, who has no sin, has taken on my sin. And He, who has all righteousness, has given it to me.
Now that we are justified, even though we still sin, we have a special problem as we remain in this world. Every justified sinner is in the midst of a war they hardly know anything about. The devil wants us, even more now — even to shift us into the shadows, and to taint our God-given gifts by bringing our vices to bear over our virtues to push our gifts into the shadows. But it doesn’t matter.
With an inconceivable eternality, the Lord has sought us, bought us, and wrought us — from eternity’s longing of the Triune Creator, at the cross, the resurrection and the ascension, and finally, at our acceptance that Jesus Christ is indeed our Saviour.
Sought from eternity, bought by the broken body and blood of a sinless Saviour, and wrought to the point of belief. A trinity of Creation’s design, a trinity of Divinity’s intent, a trinity of Redemptive action — coming on the Spirit’s power out of heaven — has ensured we’re justified… even as we remain… sinners.
Simul Justus et Peccator… one and the same, at the same time, rightly justified, AND a sinner. Serenity and Identity.
We have serenity because of our identity. We have no need of perfection — we are healthiest to remain on a path of expectation that considers we’re indelibly fallen no matter how much we grow. This is a massive blessing compelling peace to visit permanently with us.
Our enemy has no sound basis for attack.
Our faith has every sound basis for defence.
Being a Christian doesn’t make me perfect. It means Christ is perfect in my place.
Being Christian is acknowledged imperfection; to know of anyone deserving judgment, it’s me!
Simul Justus et Peccator… and to God be the glory! To God be the glory when a justified sinner occasionally rises to the effect of their calling.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.