Only A Sinner

If you are a child of God today, that is, a born-again, washed in His blood, believer in the Lord Jesus Christ solely for salvation, then you can truly say, “I’m only a sinner, saved by grace.”

That’s right. We wholeheartedly agree with the Apostle Paul, writing under the Holy Spirit’s superintendence in the inspired Word, that “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works lest any man should boast.” (Eph.2:8,9)

What have we to boast of then? Salvation was planned and purposed in the wise counsels of the Godhead. God bought us, He sought us, He caught us and He’s got us, all by His matchless and marvelous grace. Boasting excluded!  “I’m only a sinner saved by grace.” An unknown (to me) preacher said wisely “He who sings his own praise is usually off key,” and never was that truer than when the subject is salvation which is “the gift of God…eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

Then, too, what else are we tempted to boast about?  Whatever you have has been given to you. Are you in fair or good health? Your next breath will be drawn at the mercies of God. Do you live in a comfortable house, with a beautiful family, enjoying a productive and profitable career, worshipping with a spiritually robust community of believers who are pastored by a man of God committed to teaching the whole counsel of God? Then, count your blessings and name them one by one, because all of the above and anything good that you could possibly add to the list are from God as gifts of His grace. He is keeping His promise beyond measure: “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Phil.4:19) I know Paul was writing to a generous local church when he penned those wonderful words to the believers in Philippi, but churches are made up of individual members of the body and I am confident that members of that Philippian assembly could recite personally how that even through their sacrificial living and giving God had supplied all of their needs.  I can testify that from my childhood I claimed this verse as a “guidepost” for my journey with Him, and for the past 70 plus years I have never had to fret or stew about needs being met. As my pastor at Fourth Baptist Church in Minneapolis, when I was in seminary there, Dr. R.V. Clearwaters, said to his congregation many times, “Nothing over, nothing lacking.”  Pastors in independent Baptist Churches have never been known to be “well-heeled,” but I have never asked a pulpit committee what kind of salary or benefits I might expect when assuming the position of pastor; and, through the years (not boasting on anyone but God who promised me as a lad that He would supply all my needs according to His riches in glory) I have turned down many offers at budget review time for a raise in salary. He never fails and the present economic landscape looms with threatening clouds but His promises still stand.  So, what have we to boast of for all of these blessings? I am still “Only a sinner, saved by grace!”

Theodore Roosevelt delivered a speech to Trinity College in Hartford, CT in 1918, and what he said about boasting in general, not about our salvation or God’s goodness, might deserve our consideration: “I wish it were possible to censor all boasting, and devote ourselves to achievement; not to improper exaggeration of what we have done, and above all, not to grandiloquent statements of what we are going to do. Remember that every great speech that has come down through history has obtained and kept its place only because it represented either achievement in the past, or a resolute purpose for achievement in the future.”  Yes, and we who are His can say, past, present or future achievements are to His glory and our mantra ever remains, “I’m only a sinner, saved by grace.”

Paul wanted every person to know that even the powerful preaching of the cross that demonstrably transformed lives was not anything he dared boast about: “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” (Gal.6:14) He also said to the Corinthian Christians: “But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness…Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men…But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise…and the base things of the world, and the things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and the things that are naught, to bring to pass the things are: that no flesh should glory in his presence.” (I Cor. 1:23-29) We marvel then at the wonders of His grace and glory and humbly confess once again, “I’m only a sinner saved by grace!”

One John Bangs wrote: “I love to watch the Rooster crow; he’s like so many men I know who brag and bluster, rant and shout and beat their manly breasts about the first blame thing to crow about.” But when it comes to our position and privileges before almighty God, we have nothing to “crow about.” It is all of grace and for His glory.

On Monday, Sept. 26, 2022, Queen Elizabeth was lowered to her final resting place in Windsor Castle’s King George VI Memorial Chapel in the Royal Vault, having reigned over England’s empire for 70 years.  She was universally acclaimed as a good person, a good Queen; and some believe that she was a woman of faith and had a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Only God knows where she is spending eternity, but an interesting story was told the days leading up to her burial. Someone close to the Queen overheard her saying to another person, “I hope the Lord comes back in my lifetime,” upon which the other conversant asked, “And why is that, your majesty?” She replied, “So I can cast my crown at His feet.” That story, if true, resonates in the hearts of all Christians, worldwide.  We look forward to that day when we by His grace will join the multitude before His throne and where we will join the “four and twenty elders (and) fall down before Him that sat on the throne, and worship Him that lived for ever and ever, and cast (our) crowns before the throne….” (Rev.4:10) And, we shall do so knowing full well that we are “Only a sinner, saved by grace!”

Naught have I gotten but what I’ve received; grace hath bestowed it since I have believed; Boasting excluded, pride I abase, I’m only a sinner saved by grace!” (James Gray, 1851-1935)

One thought on “Only A Sinner

  1. Yes “only a sinner saved by grace” Thank God for His amazing grace

    How are you doing? Seems like your sharper then ever. Enjoy your blogs so much.


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