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The Issues with Christians Referring to Themselves as Sinners

The Issue With Christians Referring To

Themselves as Sinners



David wrote in Psalm 1:1: “nor stands in the path of sinners…” That word “sinners” carries a different meaning in the Hebrew and in the Greek. For this reason, even though there are occasions when a Christian might sin, according to definition of the word and how the word is used in the Bible, we cannot be classified as “sinners” once we are saved. Before we go further into this lesson, I want to look at this word in the Hebrew and in the Greek so we understand Biblically why it does not refer to Christians.


Old Testament


There is only one Hebrew word for sinners in the Hebrew and it is the Hebrew word “chatta” (#2400 on pg. 84 in Hebrew dictionary) and it is used 19 times in the Old Testament. The word means “criminal, one accounted as guilty, offender.” The root of the word is “chata” which is the word “sinner” in the singular form. This word means, “to forfeit; lead astray, condemn; sin-guilt; sin by missing the mark.” All of these definitions applied to us before we were saved. This word refers only to those who will spend eternity separated from God. Here are a few examples of where this word is used besides Psalm 1:1:


#2400 (Chatta – Sinners)


Genesis 13:13: “But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.”


Proverbs 1:10:  “My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.”


Isaiah 1:28: “The destruction of transgressors and of sinners shall be together, And those who forsake the LORD shall be consumed.”



#2398 (Chata – Sinner)


Proverbs 11:31: “If the righteous will be recompensed on the earth, How much more the ungodly and the sinner.”


Ecclesiastes 2:26: “For God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight; but to the sinner He gives the work of gathering and collecting, that he may give to him who is good before God. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind.”







New Testament


While there are two words for sinner(s) in the Greek, there is really only one primary word and it is the Greek word “hamartolos” (#268 on pg. 16 in Greek dictionary.) It is used in 30 verses in the New Testament while the other word is used just once. The word means, “sinner, from the root word #264 hamartano which means sinned.” This word literally means to miss the mark and it is used to signify sinning against God by mankind. The present tense of the word does not means a single act of sin, but a continuous practice of sin leading to death. The term literally means a “sinful” man – again, because it habitual and continuous, it cannot be a termed for a child of God who has been empowered to resist sin and commanded to stop doing it.


Luke 15:7: “I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.”


James 5:20: “Let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.”


First Peter 4:17-18:  “(17) For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? (18) Now ‘IF THE RIGHTEOUS ONE IS SCARCELY SAVED, WHERE WILL THE UNGODLY AND THE SINNER APPEAR?’”


Mark 2:17: “When Jesus heard it, He said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”


Romans 5:8: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”


Romans 5:19:  “For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous.”


First Timothy 1:9:  “Knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers.”


First John 3:5-10:  “(5) And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. (6) Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. (7) Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. (8) He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. (9) Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. (10) In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.”

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“Til all the ransomed church of God is saved to sin no more"

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