Just? a Sinner Saved by Grace

sinner saved by graceHave you ever heard the expression which suggests the fact that believers are “just a sinner saved by grace”?  Well, if you have been around churchianity for any extended period of time, regardless of which brand you select, chances are you have heard it a time or two in some form or fashion.


I lived most of my life with that thought rattling around in my head and serving as the impetus for my religious performance and actions toward God. With all of the rattling going on and the constant striving to carry out and accomplish what I thought God wanted from me, I did not realize that, over time, the thought ultimately settled into my heart and became the seedbed from which my identity sprang. The roots of that “JASSBG” mentality went deep. The fruit was plentiful but proved to be temporal and never eternal. Over the years, frustration and dissatisfaction surfaced in my faith journey as I knew there had to be more.

The “JASSBG” stronghold has a nasty streak to it. It dictates that you are, and always will be, no more than  “just a sinner saved by grace.”  This teaching is put forward as extremely doctrinally proficient and it attempts to make a believer feel grateful for such an incredible salvation received. That is as it should be.  However, (here comes the nastiness) its primary motivation is a sense of guilt that so much was given to you and there is a constant reminder that you can never offer enough, serve enough or ever do enough to answer to what is actually required of you.

Such a mentality makes a believer to always be a debtor and hinders the believer from maturing and learning to enter into the fullness of God’s Grace. Despite what the “JASSBG” philosophy propagates, God’s goodness doesn’t end at the point where a sinner was saved and, now, since hell will be missed and heaven will be gained, all that is left is for a believer to DO what is required in order to prove their love and gratitude for God.  Such nonsense makes the regenerated believer a slave/orphan and distorts the true representation of God presented through the genuine Gospel message.

The “JASSBG” mentality causes you to think like a slave. Thoughts such as, “What does God want from me?” or “Am I doing what makes God happy?” produce a haze of trepidation.  As orphans, those who yield to the “JASSBG” stronghold believe that God’s provision and protection are directly related to their ability to DO whatever it takes to please Him.  The “JASSBG” not-so- merry-go-round is a dastardly, vicious ride.  It is not the existence Father has intended for his children!

In the parable of The Misunderstood Father, (most people know it by the inaccurate title of the parable of The Prodigal Son) the father is the central figure; not the prodigal son. In Luke 15:11 it says, “There was once a man who had two sons.”

In that opening sentence of the parable, what is the dominant subject?  A man.

A certain man was in possession of or had two sons.  I know over the years this has been taught with emphasis on the prodigal son returning because, after all, we are self-centered orphans and we appreciate the redemptive nature of that angle. But, if you really read the parable with the father as the central figure, you will realize that neither the younger son, nor the elder son KNEW their father.  That is the point of the parable! This is Eternal Life, Jesus said, to KNOW God and the Christ He has sent. (John 17:3)

So, in not knowing his father properly, the younger son takes his inheritance and squanders it. Ultimately, he comes to himself in the pig pen and decides that even his father’s servants get their needs met. Through an orphan mentality, he rationalized and came up with a strategy to get his father to take him back so that HIS NEEDS WOULD BE MET! He planned to go back to his father, confess his sin and then declare his UNWORTHINESS TO BE CALLED HIS SON!

If his father would just take him back as a slave, he would be happy. Again, what is being portrayed is the “JASSBG” mentality that is religious and originates from our fallen nature.  Such an approach is light years away from Father’s intentions!

As the son returns to the father, the father sees him afar off. The father brings forward an abundance of provision and blessing prepared for the son. Here’s the account found in The Message: (emphasis added)

“When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him. The son started his speech: ‘Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son ever again.

But the father wasn’t listening. He was calling to the servants, ‘Quick. Bring a clean set of clothes and dress him. Put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then get a grain-fed heifer and roast it. We’re going to feast! We’re going to have a wonderful time! My son is here—given up for dead and now alive! Given up for lost and now found!’ And they began to have a wonderful time.

Do you see the difference in perspectives and mentalities? Even though the son was prepared and willing to submit to it, the father did not employ the “just a sinner saved by grace” philosophy and cause the son to live as a slave/orphan for the rest of his days. NO! The father willingly showered the blessings of sonship upon the prodigal based solely upon his confession of sin; not based upon the son proving his allegiance or love for the father by any action.  From that day forward, the father revealed himself to the son as a loving, gracious father having annihilated the “JASSBG” stronghold.

It was a glorious day for me personally, when in the process of pulling down the “JASSBG” mentality, the following scripture was illuminated to me by the Holy Spirit. In order to smash such a warped philosophy, may I present to you these words from Peter.  I think he knew a little something about always attempting to please through performance, then failing God and feeling condemned. Listen when he says:

Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God.  (2 Peter 1:3; The Message)

As you destroy the “JASSBG” mentality and you begin to understand the true Gospel, what was accomplished by Christ in his completed work and what God is actually looking to accomplish in your life, your identity will shift away from that of a debtor/orphan and you will begin to understand your identity as a son of God.

God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun. (Romans 8:29; The Message)

Understanding God as your Father and having your identity as his son will revolutionize your relationship with God and you will begin to experience the true purpose for your existence.

Keep your peace!

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11 thoughts on “Just? a Sinner Saved by Grace

      • Bryon, it was a progressive event in my life. I was raised as a Baptist, ordained as a Baptist, and got the left foot of fellowship from the Baptist. In my hunger for God–to know the Father that I use to call Dad when I was a child, I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. II Cor. 1:10 says, ” Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us”.

        I had received Christ when I was twelve years old, but I lived most of my life under the power of sin, because of this man-made doctrine, “just a sinner saved by grace”. It was a false humility but very crippling. I see that most people who are still living under that mentality are still trapped to a life of sin. Romans 6:14 says that “sin shall not have dominion over you” is clouded under the coined acronym “JASSBG”.

        As the Father through Christ has revealed Himself, I progressively have seen my Father’s love. “The goodness of the Lord leads us to repentance”. The greater the love (the revelations of that love)–the greater the deliverance. Bryon, there is no greater factor in relationships than one knowing that he is loved (without a shadow of doubt) by another brother or sister. I just sent a brother a book about Christ revealing Himself in dreams and visions to the Muslim world. He reveals Himself as Jesus, the prophet, out of the Koran. The greatest factor that ministers to them in these experiences is this overwhelming love that they experience being in the presence of Jesus.

        Part of this growth has come in the immediate past, when I have been able to receive the different graces that I see in brothers and sisters, This sometimes comes in the form of teachings, exhortations, and the love that is shown in their lives. In summation of a one-liner I would say, “When my focus is no longer sin but Christ and Father’s love, I can see the importance of what Paul said, (to complete the verse in the 1st paragraph) II Cor. 1:9 ‘But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead’.”

      • Amazing story, Jerry. Thanks for sharing! I’m so grateful for seasoned brothers like you that have blazed a trail for us to follow. You’re a blessing!

  1. Thanks Bryon for your insights into this issue. I believe this is a stronghold over almost all of Protestantism(and Catholicism for that matter). I was also set free from this mentality when God showed me so many scriptures about our true identity in Christ. Almost all the scriptures that talk about how bad we are(worm theology) are taken out of the old testament – i.e. “The heart is deceitful above all things” “I was sinful from my mother’s womb”, etc. I love that the new covenant establishes us into a totally new identity and we have a new nature. We are no longer known by our old nature “Sinner”, we are known by our new nature, “Saint” and “Son”. I wrote a post about this a while back as well since this is an issue that is so very near to my heart. I am passionate about this one …

    http://www.bigkiddfamily.blogspot.com/2012/04/sinner-or-saint.html

    Blessings Bro.

    • Astute and truthful observation, my brother! Have you written anything on ‘ministry flowing from identity’? If so, I’d love to post it here. If not, write it and then I’d love to post it here! 😃

  2. The orphan spirit is subtle….I totally agree with the above testimony conclusion….but it was much more subtle…..since for 30 years I thought my focus was on Christ, the church I fellowshipped in was charismatic, was an organism – not organization, no hierarchy, pastor asked for no money, body ministry was practiced, gifts of the spirit observed, outwardly all sounded correct even by today’s “revelation”. With every ounce of my being I thought my focus was on Christ, I was running for first place Rom 12:1-2…..not second….but I lost my first love also. How?

    Deut 28 led me to conclusions about who God is, the Misunderstood Father led me to conclusions, the sermon on the mount led me to conclusions….and when Job like trial entered my life….because my conclusions did not add up to my observed circumstance…..I concluded I must be missing it….and the worst pain you can ever imagine entered my life….the orphan spirit. I assumed I needed to do something…and this was torment.

    Prov 25:2 “it is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search it out.” I therefore caution about how we seek God, for in my zeal to obey Mt 5:48 “be ye perfect…” I lost my first love. Why, though I am not smart enough to understand all, though I never claimed to understand it all did this orphan spirit gain access? I lacked the wisdom to understand how easy it is to put God in a box….to place limits on how his love is expressed to me by falsely placing emphasis on some scripture more than others. The orphan spirit works via the natural understanding.

    An orphan spirit is a strong spirit. Only a stronger spirit can remove it. Enter Fathers love. Do not doubt Fathers love by having eyes on your circumstance….you are not smart enough to figure it out so do not go there. Ex 20:25 The second we lift our “tools” to the alter we pollute it. God is a simple God….just receive it for what he is….and God is love.

    I think this link explains this well. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfPeprQ7oGc . There is another link to this same experiment that shows when the camera was in place and turned off, the pattern went back to normal. Just totally boggling the natural understanding of man. This experiment parallels life in the spirit. Stop trying to figure out Fathers love, his plan, and rather yield to his love. God is Spirit….and like the wind, we cannot figure out where it starts and ends.

    Enter this last days move of the spirit….of body ministry….where no one person will have the answer, but will only find answers by community. This is the way Father will safeguard his glory. The natural gives insight to the spiritual. God has shown us in physics that our minds and observation are not going to make sense of the life in Spirit.

    I walked a deeper life message by my conscious man…. the Orphan Spirit engaged me via my mind….via spiritual zeal. Deliverance is by living life in the holy spirit…..a spirit of love….not confusion and condemnation…..and though living in spirit is talked about….little practical understanding of this is provided. Neville Johnson has tremendous insight to practical understanding of how to live in the spirit with many tapes available on Youtube. And know that I am aware an issue in his past is not perfect, I am not casting any stones, this brother is being used by Father….test it. Living by the spirit is the key…..and none of this contradicts the written word.

  3. The JASSBG mindset is nothing more than subtle ploy by the enemy, that sounds humble at penitent at first blush, to keep us focused on sin/self rather than Father. Rather than walking in newness of life, we stay busy trying to resurrect the old man that we are to reckon as dead. Keep your mind on sin and you have set yourself up to sin. That is not the mind of Christ that is to be in us. The phrase JASSBG is not in scripture, while the term saints is used 61 times in the NT. The mindset of a saint is to walk in the new and abundant life Christ died to give us. It is to stand amazed and grateful for his sacrifice rather than wallowing in guilt and shame.

  4. Pingback: When the Light Comes On! | Forerunner Perspective

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