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Living with the Wrong Identity

We’ve been looking at strongholds. We’ve defined a stronghold as a satanic lie, a generational mindset or a human wounding that you have listened to long enough, believed strongly enough, and owned deeply enough that it becomes part of your identity. It has fortified itself in you and dictates your thoughts, beliefs, actions and reactions. It is an unholy filter through which all thoughts pass.

This post examines a stronghold that I’m calling Sinner’s Identity. It says to Believers in Jesus Christ, “You’re a sinner.” Unfortunately they listen to it long enough and they believe the lie and what develops from this lie are feelings of guilt, shame and condemnation.

Sinner’s Identity is probably the most detrimental mindset that a Christian can have. When people live under it’s control, their understanding of so many other spiritual things is negatively affected. That’s exactly why we need to understand this incorrect identity and pull down this damaging stronghold.

Here’s what we must understand—not once in the New Testament is a believing Christian referred to as a sinner. We, unfortunately, call ourselves sinners, but God’s Word never does. If the entire New Testament doesn’t use this phrase why do we? It’s unbiblical. It doesn’t align with God’s view of Believers.

John MacArthur wrote that sinner is, “A term used for unbelievers.”[1]

Secondly, Believers are referred to as Saints. Sixty times, from the book of Acts through the book of Revelation, Christian Believers are referred to as “saints.” This means, “Holy and pure.” That’s our true identity! When we come to faith in Jesus Christ we’re transformed. Our identity in Christ isn’t a sinner; it’s a saint.

Why is our identity so important? Because we do what we believe we are. Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” If we’re walking around with the wrong identity that doesn’t reflect who we are in Christ, our behavior, our attitude and our conscious will be given over to sinful behavior. It’s a trap of the enemy. You are not a sinner, but a saint who has been saved by grace.

Where does this stronghold come from? It comes from not knowing (ignorance) who we are in Christ and all that Jesus came to do for us. It also comes from a false humility which is a sense of “poor me, I’m powerless and hopeless to stop this.” Both of these wrong perceptions need to go today.

There is an eternal difference between a saint who occasionally sins and a sinner. These are two completely different identities. The sinful identity is dead while the saint’s identity is alive in Jesus Christ.

Please, my friends, if you are a Believer in Jesus Christ, don’t see yourselves as a sinner. It’s the wrong identity. It’s a stronghold that needs to be pulled down and crushed. God doesn’t want you to see yourself as a sinner who sometimes “saints.” He wants you to clearly understand that you are a saint who sometimes sins.



[1] John MacArthur, The MacArthur Bible Commentary, (Nashville, Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2005), E-book edition

One response to “Living with the Wrong Identity”

  1. […] Guilt, Shame and Condemnation TweetWithout question, a sinner’s identity is a before-Christ or before-conversion identity. Our new identity, after our conversion is that of […]