I was following, right up to the emboldened part.
We are no longer "sinners" we have a new nature the old one has died? We are adopted Ephesians 1:5, grafted in Romans 11, sealed with the Spirit Ephesians 4:30 and we are joint heirs with Christ Romans 8:17
The only part that i have probllems with is that you identified us as "the wicked" when we sin. I think it means the wicked as in permanently, consistently wicked. We are identified as righteous, because of Christ. If it is the case that we are wicked when we sin and righteous when we don't, then how is our status based on what Christ did on the cross? Surely then our standing before God is down to what we do or don't do and i can't accept that.
Is it any wonder if we are wicked when we sin, that we are not permanently identified as wicked because from the moment we wake up it's hard not to have thoughts that are sinful. I'm guessing that you believe we can reach a state of perfection if we try hard enough?
To add to witega’s response, in the Orthodox Church we do not have the Protestant idea of “imputed righteousness” such as you seem to be referring to. We are called to be holy, called to be blameless, called to be without sin, but whether or not we stand before God as righteous or as sinners depends upon our deeds. Christ died for the sins of the entire world, but the entire world does not therefore stand sinless before God without baptism and repentance. Through baptism we are washed clean, but we are in fact sinners if we continue in sin after baptism and do not repent. After baptism we must continue to confess our sins and repent in order to stand blamelessly before God. You mentioned, among other verses, Romans 8:17 to the effect that we are “joint heirs with Christ” yet this text is conditional, saying that we are “joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”
Similarly we read, “For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight-- if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard
, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister (Col 1:19-24).” Romans 4 speaks of the righteousness “imputed” to Abraham “by faith”, not apart from works but apart from the works of the law
, namely circumcision. This is a major point of difference between the patristic Orthodox understanding of “works” and the misunderstanding of Martin Luther and his followers. The latter misinterpreted St. Paul’s words regarding the insufficiency of the works of the law
as though works in general were being referred to, in contrast to the words of St. James where he says that “faith without works is dead (James 2:20 and 26).” St. James also asks, “Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect (James 2:22)?” For Abraham, while his righteousness was apart from the law & circumcision (as St. Paul was saying in his letter to the Romans), this righteousness was not on account of mere
faith, as in belief that is separate from works, but rather on account of his “faith working together with works (James 2:22).” For, in the letter to the Hebrews it is stated that, “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going (Hebrews 11: 8 )” and, “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called,’ concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense (Hebrews 11:17-19).” So, we are made righteous by faith, but true faith expresses itself in works, not the works of the law, but the works of obedience to Christ’s commandments. As it also says, “He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him (1 John 2:4).”
If it is indeed wrong to assert that Christians who “believe” and are baptized can still be referred to as sinners, or that after their baptism (or perhaps you would say after their “born again experience”?) God sees them already as holy and righteous regardless of their deeds afterwards committed, why would it be said in the letter to the Hebrews that we should “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:13).”? How can we pursue holiness if we already have holiness? Why also would St. John say that “everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure (1 John 3:3).”? If we are already pure before God on account of what Christ did on the cross, how can anyone speak of purifying himself? It is true that we receive the remission of sins through baptism, but most of us continue to sin after baptism. In the Church we say that confession and repentance constitutes a “second baptism” which renews the first. For, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us
(1 John 1:8-10).”
Those among the departed who the Orthodox Church refers to as “saints”, are precisely those who were faithful to the end, who did the will of God, who followed Christ’s commandments, who purified themselves “as He is pure”, who pursued holiness, and whose prayers were very powerful on account of their righteousness. Since no one here on earth can say that they are holy and without sin, even the righteous here on earth ask for the prayers of the saints who are before the Lord, feeling a special kinship with them. But, again, no Orthodox Christian ever ceases to pray to God directly as well, which can be seen from the prayers found in the prayer books used by all Orthodox Christians, the prayers said in the divine services by all, and the prayer “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me” which all Orthodox Christians should strive to say ceaselessly with their lips and in their hearts.